New network focuses on sustainability, connecting farmers and food chain

New network focuses on sustainability, connecting farmers and food chain

Michigan Agribusiness Association is one of 10 founding members of FieldRise Network

State, national and international agriculture associations that created a farmer-proven program to measure sustainability practices have followed University of Wisconsin faculty as founding members of a new private partnership called FieldRise. The company brings farmers and the food chain together through a novel, peer-reviewed approach to sustainability practice data collection that speeds continuous outcome progress.

New network focuses on sustainability, connecting farmers and food chain

The first groups to transition to FieldRise Network founding membership include (with several more pending)
•American Soybean Association
•The Cranberry Institute
•Illinois Soybean Association
•Michigan Agribusiness Association
•Midwest Food Processors Association
•Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin
•Wisconsin Pork Producers Association
•Wisconsin Potato and Vegetable Growers Association
•Wisconsin Soybean Association
•Wisconsin State Cranberry Growers Association

FieldRise expands the farmer-founded mission of the National Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture into several new services to support farm success: Getting farmers recognized as sustainability leaders based on a peer-reviewed measurement and statistical process; Connecting sustainability to farm economics; and Marketplace outreach to build understanding of the field-level realities of production agriculture. The FieldRise Frontier measurement system was developed with farmer and food chain input and it keeps personal farmer information confidential.

 "FieldRise gives farm groups and the food chain a proven new way to collect production practice data and advance success starting where farm sustainability begins, from the ground up," says Ron Moore, Director of The American Soybean Association and Roseville, Ill., crop and livestock farmer.  "NISA proved farmers are willing to help the food chain and influencers define sustainability and support shared success from field to family."

Wisconsin Pork Producers representative and Plain, Wisc., farmer Mike Wehler says U.S. pork producers have a long track record of stewardship success that help family farms remain healthy businesses and also meet customer needs.  "All of us in mainstream agriculture want everyone to have the accurate information they deserve about how we get tasty pork onto BBQ grills and diner tables," Wehler says.  "People deserve to hear the whole story.  We joined FieldRise because it gives farm families new ways to measure how we protect resources, keep improving, produce food at a fair return, and answer questions from our city neighbors."

FieldRise is new but its methods are field-proven.  NISA collected more than 1,200 farm practice assessments that covered 1.2 million acres and represented 11 commodity and direct-consumed crops across 20 states and provinces.  The UW team recently wrapped up an irrigation study through NISA, and nine vegetable crop and livestock assessments are nearing completion.

FieldRise founding partners include University of Wisconsin agriculture professors Dr. Jed Colquhoun, Dr. Shawn Conley, Dr. Paul Mitchell, and agriculture marketing and sustainability strategist John Osthus.

"No other system comes close in ease of use, field-proven farmer acceptance, and practice advancement strategies that will help the food chain shift the sustainability conversation into action" Moore concludes.  "FieldRise also is an efficient way to recruit farmers to participate in outcome assessments."

For FieldRise Network membership or FieldRise Frontier measurement information contact John Osthus at 314-369-5015.

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