- The NISA Provisional Board has approved the NISA Business Model and Organizational Structure. The Business Model is available on the NISA web site: https://nisa.webhosting.cals.wisc.edu. The Business Model focuses on three key efforts for NISA: educate, validate and harmonize. We have made significant progress in the past month in all three areas. The Organizational Structure takes a lean approach that is not duplicative of existing efforts and allows the bulk of investment to be made at the regional and commodity level, where advancements in sustainability happen.
- We are soliciting founding producer association members for the NISA Producer Board. The existing Provisional Board will transition into a formal Producer Board that will oversee implementation of the Business Model and Organizational Structure and play a key role in the validation efforts.
- We recently secured funding for the NISA education efforts, and are in the process of creating a novel sustainability assessment professional development school. Participating producer organizations and their members will have access to a webinar-based distance education course on creating, implementing and communicating advancements in regional- and commodity-specific sustainability assessment programs at the producer level. Additionally, undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Wisconsin enrolled in the course for credit will be available to assist (with appropriate expert leadership) producer associations in addressing their sustainability assessment needs as part of an experiential learning lab.
- We have multi-million dollar funding in the works from a number of sources to test-drive the NISA concepts at the farm level for a variety of commodities and regions. While this will not fund the lean NISA Organizational Structure, it puts resources on the ground to immediately start addressing region- and commodity-specific sustainability needs. More details to come after we have reached final agreements with funders.
In addition, we are currently working on efforts that will be shared in more detail in the next NISA update:
- The Provisional Board is working on a NISA Criteria for US Farm Sustainability document that will work to harmonize sustainability expectations among producers and the remainder of the supply chain. This document will serve as an important device to communicate what might be reasonably expected from agriculture to address sustainability behind the farm gate.
- We are working on finalizing and testing the Frontiers of Sustainability analysis that will provide statistical rigor to quantifying sustainability assessments and will provide an opportunity to communicate advancements in sustainability in a credible manner.