In support of the National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) mission to create and increase opportunities for corn growers and the vision to sustainably feed and fuel a growing world, NCGA leaders established five U.S. Corn Sustainability Goals for 2030. While the goals are achievable, it will take a unified and concerted effort to support farmers in moving the conservation needle.
The “Getting to Goal” sustainability webinar series for state and national staff is designed to offer relevant resources and create relationship-building opportunities in order to support on-the-ground efforts for continuous environmental improvements. The series kicked off with two sessions in the fall of 2021 and has reemerged this spring:
“The Economics of Sustainability” – October 26, 2021
Dr. Michelle Perez of American Farmland Trust shared summaries of nine soil health economics case studies (conducted through an NRCS CIG) and highlighted the downloadable Retrospective Soil Health Economic Calculator (R-SHEC) as well as the Predictive Soil Health Economic Calculator (P-SHEC).
Dr. Wayne Honeycutt of the Soil Health Institute presented the results of a project to assess the economics of soil health practice adoption on 100 farms. Through farmer interviews and economic analysis, SHI found that growers who have adopted soil health management systems decreased production costs and increased income, with 85% of corn farmers showing a net income increase.
“Putting NRCS to Work for U.S. Corn Farmers” – November 9, 2021
Noller Herbert (Central Region), James Tillman (Southeast Region), Terrell Erickson (Northeast Region), and Astor Boozer (West Region) discussed the locally-led conservation process—including both local working groups and state technical committees—and provided an overview of conservation programs and upcoming opportunities. In addition, all four NRCS Regional Conservationists shared ideas for strengthening relationships between NRCS and corn state affiliates.
“How do We Measure Progress Towards the Goals?” – April 7, 2022
Kelly Murray Young of Field to Market presented an overview of the latest National Indicators Report that Field to Market released in December 2021. She focused on the corn data and the progress made in the five metrics over the last four decades.
Dr. Gary Schnitkey of iFAR LLP presented the results of a report NCGA commissioned to translate the 2021 National Indicators Report data into the benchmarks for measuring of progress toward NCGA’s environmental sustainability goals. He also covered what it would take to reach the 2030 goals.
“Working with Conservation Foundations and Funders” – April 21, 2022
State and national association staff may still register for this next webinar in the series, which will feature a presentation by:
- David Gagner, senior director of Government Affairs and External Relations of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and
- Paul Wolfe, program officer of the Walton Family Foundation for the Environment Program.