Sustainable agriculture certainly is not new; in fact those of us still in the business of producing food consider ourselves sustainable by nature. However, the interest in assessing sustainability from consumers and those in the value chain beyond the farm gate is relatively new and has proven resilient despite tough economic times.Increasing food production, security and resiliency are critical to our planet’s future. NISA efforts are inclusive of all production, regardless of scale, region or system. This holistic, non-competitive approach is needed to address global food demands.
We have two choices, we can let those outside agriculture determine what farm sustainability looks like, or we, as stewards of the land and rural America, can determine our fate.
Producers need a voice in the sustainability discussion that ensures a reasonable way forward and gains credit for previous advancements. These efforts can’t be cumbersome or redundant and need to respect the economic solvency of the producer. The producer-led NISA is working toward these goals:
- NISA is producer-driven and adaptable to changing times.
- NISA is complementary to other sustainability programs, such as Field to Market and the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, and not redundant or overly cumbersome.
- NISA efforts will streamline sustainability efforts with customer expectations.
- NISA will result in a communications conduit to customers and the general public that has been significantly missing for agricultural producers.
- NISA will address the entire farm, and not require multiple assessments for the diversity of crops produced within the farm gate.