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Guest: What is sustainability?

The definition of “sustainability” has become one of the most widely discussed topics in agriculture — and with consumers, too — during the past several years.

Many definitions exist for sustainability; some are very good and some have created much confusion for consumers.

The National Corn Growers Association understands the importance of agricultural sustainability for today’s consumers and wants to help everyone understand its real meaning.

Our corn farmers have always worked hard to be good stewards of the land and environment. New technologies and farming practices have made them even better stewards of the land, creating more sustainability for all of us to enjoy and allowing them to produce more corn on less farm land.

We have an underlying policy at NCGA that officially adopts the definition that was included in the 1990 farm bill:

“The term sustainable agriculture means an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will, over the long term, satisfy human food and fiber needs; enhance environmental quality and the natural resource base upon which the agricultural economy depends; make the most efficient use of nonrenewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; and sustain the economic viability of farm operations to enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”

Through NCGA’s work on the steering committee of the Field to Market Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, we have adopted its definition of agricultural sustainability, presented in January, which states that agricultural sustainability is meeting the needs of the present while improving:

• the ability to feed future generations by increasing ag productivity while decreasing environmental impact;

• human health through access to safe, nutritious food; and,

• social and economic well-being of rural communities.

Field to Market participants include environmental organizations, academia and research organizations, grower interests, retail companies, and companies throughout the agricultural supply chain.

Our corn farmers are leading the world to a more sustainable future by providing more than enough corn to go around for all needs, including feed, food, fuel, and fiber. And they’re doing this in the most inexpensive, innovative, and environmentally friendly way that exist today.

Working together with the same understanding of sustainability, we can all make our world a better place to live, work, and play for generations to come.

National Corn Growers Association

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