Over the last four years, the National Corn Growers Association has homed in on sustainability initiatives completing a full assessment of its checkoff-funded organizational efforts and initiatives, NCGA CEO Jon Doggett told attendees of Field to Market’s Fall Plenary & General Assembly Meeting in his Keynote Address.
The productive effort looked at what is happening on the ground at the state and national level, and what our customers along the value chain were doing on sustainability. The investigation asked what goals the industry is setting, what was driving those decisions and delved into corn growers evolving role in meeting these goals.
“For decades, corn farmers have been making advancements in how they grow their crops, but they never referred to it as sustainability. To them, it was just the right thing to do, so they were good stewards of their land,” Doggett said. “But now we are bringing our customers together to evaluate and explore the options and opportunities to address climate in a manner that adds value for corn producers and enhances productivity and sustainability.”
The key to this effort was the formation of a Climate Task Force that invested two years working with industry partners to develop recommendations. Doggett says many of those recommendations are being implemented, but a big development was forming a Corn Sustainability Advisory Group to carry on their work.
At a surface level, Doggett said, the group affirms NCGA’s commitment to collaborate with partners to build out the sustainability story for export markets, ethanol markets, feed industry and livestock partners, and the corn processing sector.
Two concrete actions have also resulted, including the NCGA Corn Board approving a U.S. Corn Commitment Statement towards continuous improvement that can be found on our website. To show our commitment towards continuous improvement, NCGA will be releasing a Corn Sustainability Report and Environmental Sustainability Goals early in 2021.
“Corn growers are committed to creating a more environmentally and economically sustainable world for future generations with transparency and through continued advances and efficiencies in land, water and energy use,” Doggett said. “By doing this, we can address the challenge of a changing climate that we are all experiencing.”
NCGA is taking a series of actions to do our part to help contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and the economic fallout it is creating for corn farmers and our customers. Short term, this means instituting policies to protect the health and safety of our stakeholders and the broader communities we serve. Long term, we’re focused on creating solutions to help corn farmers and our customers recover from the financial impacts of this crisis.
CommonGround is a group of farmers connecting with consumers through conversations about science and research and personal stories about food and misinformation surrounding farming. Supported by the NCGA and state corn organizations.
The Soil Health Partnership (SHP) is a farmer-led initiative that fosters transformation in agriculture through improved soil health. Administered by NCGA the partnership has more than 220 working farms enrolled in 16 states. SHP’s mission is to utilize science and data to partner with farmers who are adopting conservation agricultural practices that improve the economic and environmental sustainability of the farm.