Expectations for the Family Farm are Growing

The family farm is an essential part of the American fabric and a legacy of tradition handed down from generation to generation. To date, agriculture has focused on producing a high quality, nutritious and bountiful crop to meet the world’s growing demand. 

However, times are changing. Today, a new generation of consumer is asking more of their food supply chain. This generation wants to know more about where products come from, how they are produced, and whether the corporate brands care about the environment and social/worker conditions. This is driven by greater awareness to our growing population, the demand to grow more food, and to protect the environment. 

This poses some key challenges for not only U.S. agriculture but global agriculture. How do we manage our limited natural resources (air, water, biodiversity, land, and energy), reduce our waste, curb urban sprawl, and more effectively manage our standard of living to meet the growing demand? 

There is simply not enough arable land and water to continue to sustain the population at the pace our global society is growing. Our population will begin outpacing the available food supply and available natural resources unless we take a hard look in the mirror.

These reasons, along with sourcing security, are key motivators for consumer product companies to respond to action. The supply chain is reacting by demonstrating to the U.S. consumer that their products and ingredients sourced are “Responsibly Grown”. So what does this mean for the family farm?

Growers are being asked to characterize their production operation at a field-by-field level. To growers, this may easily feel like another request to manage on top of everything else in the business. However, it’s important to communicate the facts of agricultural production through quantifiable metrics, as consumer perception can easily become reality.  
 
Consumer product retailers have responded and are relying on collaborations with organizations like Field to Market® to develop standards, tools, and metrics to characterize the environmental performance of crops produced across the U.S. 

Through the integration of Ag Industry sustainability metrics in Morning Farm Report™, growers can now track their environmental performance and field production field by field. Basically creating an environmental pedigree for your farm, field-by-field for each crop year. 

Beyond characterizing your farm’s environmental footprint, Morning Farm Report™ is helping growers make real-time decisions on their farm based on weather conditions for logistics planning, nutrient management, as well as tracking yield forecasts. We are helping growers maximize productivity, profitability, and improve environmental performance.
 
As we look further into the 21st century, meeting these unprecedented challenges for agriculture will require embracing innovation and technological advancement, uncovering novel management approaches to achieve sustainable intensification, and a strong commitment and collaboration across the food supply chain to transform the Industry.   
 
If you would like more information about sustainability and Morning Farm Report™, contact an Agrible™ representative or stay tuned for more information through this blog.  
 
We greatly appreciate your dialogue and feedback.
 
Learn more about how Agrible is helping growers tell their Sustainability stories