March 31, 2022

US soy checkoff releases 2021 Sustainability Overview report


The soy checkoff of the United States released its inaugural US Soy Sustainability Overview which outlines key environmental achievements made by US soybean farmers.


Their ongoing commitments will help optimise their efforts to continue providing the most sustainably produced soy to domestic and international customers, the United Soybean Board (USB) said.


The US Soy Sustainability Overview, developed by the checkoff on behalf of US soybean farmers, details the modern practices and advanced technologies deployed by farmers in recent years to conserve land, water, energy and other natural resources.


With the US soybean industry progressing toward its 2025 sustainability goals to reduce land use, soil erosion and greenhouse gas emissions while increasing energy efficiency, significant progress has also been made in the past four decades. Between 1980 and 2020, conservation efforts by US soybean farmers have improved:


    - Land use efficiency by 48% per bushel;


    - Irrigation water use efficiency by 60% per bushel;


    - Energy use efficiency by 46% per bushel;


    - Greenhouse gas emissions efficiency by 43% per bushel;


    - Soil conservation by 34% per acre;


    - Soy production by 130%, using roughly the same amount of land.


"With the world demanding sustainably sourced food, feed, fuel and thousands of other non-food products, we know that US soy plays an outsized role in delivering solutions in the US and around the globe," said USB chief executive officer Polly Ruhland. "Continuously improving is at the heart of our work in optimising sustainability throughout the value chain. Our soybean farmers are committed to sharing the progress we have made and how we're looking ahead to contribute in solving some of society's biggest challenges, such as food security and sustainable energy."


US farmers realise these gains by employing a range of sustainability best practices, including cover crops, crop rotation and conservation tillage, to maximise yields while also capturing carbon from the atmosphere and conserving soil, water and other precious natural resources.


Advances in technology, such as precision farming equipment and drones, also support more sustainable farming.


These efforts advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which provide a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for the planet, now and into the future. US soy initiatives directly support SDG Goal 2, "Zero Hunger", and intersect with other goals such as "Clean Water and Sanitation", "Responsible Consumption and Production", "Climate Action", "Life on Land" and "Partnership", USB noted.


The US Soy Sustainability Overview highlights climate-smart farming practices stimulating results, shares the stories of US farmers who have driven dramatic improvements simultaneously in sustainability and productivity, and establishes a benchmark for US soy, setting the foundation for broader measurement and reporting in the years ahead.

- United Soybean Board

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