Forecasting Agricultural Sustainability: Takeaways from the Sustainable Agriculture Summit
Leigh Ann Johnston, Director of Sustainable Food Strategy
We must invest in our future.
Family farms are implementing long-term strategies that include not only how the farm will be run but WHO will run the farm. There’s a decline in the number of children that want to stay involved with the family farm because maintaining a successful and profitable farm operation is no small task. The children don’t mind the work but financial commitments and uncertainty in market prices and regulatory oversight cause them stress. Farmers must create a vision and plan for their farm to ensure their operations are socially, environmentally, and economically viable and can support future generations.
Monitoring and measuring drives economies of scale.
There was a time when farmers talked about their farms in large tracks. Today, farmers talk about a specific acre and how they are managing that acre to be more sustainable. When farmers measure and monitor data related to key indicators such as water usage, fertilizer application, soil health, and yield, they realize efficiency gains and improvement opportunities that can bring economies of scale to their operations.
Technology is critical to advancing agricultural practices.
Farmers depend on technology to advance their farm operations. Technologies such as weather tracking, soil and water sensors, satellite imaging, and radio frequency identification accelerate precision agriculture and give farmers the information they need to make decisions that improve efficiency, increase yield, and enhance environmental stewardship. And much like Tyson Foods, farmers involved in the raising of poultry and livestock are keenly interested in robotics and other technologies that limit human-animal interaction.
The U.S. agricultural system is one of the most efficient in the world and is ready to feed the world’s growing population. We must do this in a transparent way that consumers feel good about. While our food supply chain is complex, it was clear during the Summit that those involved in food and agriculture are committed to identifying solutions that ensure safe, great-tasting, sustainably produced food is accessible for all. And this commitment directly aligns with our purpose of raising the world’s expectations for how much good food can do!
Learn more about Tyson Foods' sustainability strategy.
Published November 28, 2018.
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