ST. LOUIS — A program to assure international customers that
U.S. growers are operating in a sustainable manner has been announced by the
United Soybean Board.
The U.S. Soybean Sustainability Protocol provides buyers
with a certification of the sustainable practices of those in the soybean
production industry. In essence, the protocol puts onto paper practices farmers
already have been putting into practice, according to Jared Hagert, a North
Dakota farmer and member of the board’s executive committee.
“Basically, it encompasses what we do already through (Farm
Service Agency) offices,” Hagert said. “(The U.S. Department of Agriculture) has
oversight of farm program. This protocol really leverages reporting what soybean
farmers do already.
“This allows us to utilize the aggregate approach instead of
farm by farm. It allows for a wider cross-section of the soybean industry to
The program spells out ways in which soybean farmers produce
more with fewer inputs, practice environmentally sound production and promote
economic growth through use of new technology and cultural practices
It also is backed by the American Soybean Association and
the U.S. Soybean Export Council. The protocol is audited by third
Implementation was put into place in response to requests
from international customers, according to Hagert.
“It was in response to what our end-users have been asking
for and continue to ask for,” he said. “It’s our response to our customers’
Increasing competition in the global soybean market has made
adoption of such documentation essential, Hagert said.
“The protocol will be a certificate that will allow an
end-user to be assured that the product is sustainable,” he said. “There are
many customers who are sourcing sustainable products. They see the protocol and
that it has been adopted.
“We’re making sure that our customers understand the rules
and regulations that we already follow, whether it’s (Environmental Protection
Agency) regulations, wage and worker requirements, or whatever. All of that
factors into it.”
He pointed to a number of practices that USB will
“Sustainable practices would include the conservation
tillage that is done on U.S. farms, no-till, documentation of those things,”
Hagert said. “Also, it’s increased use of technology, the fact that you can do
more with less.”
USB will provide educational materials to growers later this
summer. Information will be available on the organization’s website,