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I’M AN AMERICAN SOYBEAN FARMER.

This Is My Sustainability Story.

Sustainability

It’s not just a word. To us, it’s a lifestyle. As American farmers, we live the sustainability lifestyle day in and day out because it’s good for our families and ultimately, it’s good for business. Look no further than U.S. soybean farmers for sustainable products and performance. To meet customer demands, the U.S. Soy industry developed the U.S. Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) including independent third party audit and international certification.

Biodiversity

Practicing crop rotation replenishes nitrogen in the soil and protects against pests and disease.

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  • Farmers use cover crops, crop rotation, integrated pest management, conservation tillage and micronutrient fertilizers to enhance biodiversity
  • U.S. farmers have taken 10.9 million hectares out of agricultural production under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Conservation Reserve Program. The carbon sequestered by the program is equivalent to taking nearly 10 million cars off the road.
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Biodiversity

U.S. laws limit crop production on wetlands, peatlands and grasslands. Additional laws protect endangered animals and plants along with their habitat.

Conservation Tillage

We keep crop residue from the previous harvest on the field, adding valuable organic matter to the soil.

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  • Through soil conservation practices, U.S. farmers have reduced soil erosion by 65 percent per metric ton of U.S. soy production since 1980.

Conservation Tillage

This practice results in decreased erosion, improved nutrients, water retention for future crops and reduced need for commercial fertilizers.

Precision Agriculture

My soil map, soil testing and Global Positioning System (GPS) make me more efficient. New technologies are helping farmers like me continuously improve.

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  • USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service recently launched the latest version of Web Soil Survey 3.0, a web-based application that provides a wealth of free soil information helping farmers make land use decisions.
  • Survey data by USDA’s Economic Research Service shows that U.S. farmers use some type of precision technology on 72 percent of their corn hectares. Since most farmers rotate their corn and soybean crops, the trend of increased precision ag adoption rates in corn implies similar increases in adoption rates on soybean hectares.
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Precision Agriculture

Satellite technology allows precise application of seed and fertilizer, down to the centimeter, resulting in less waste, higher yields and reduced use of crop protection products.

Soil Health

By practicing conservation tillage on my farm, the crop residue on my field from last year is broken down by earthworms and the elements into valuable soil nutrients.

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  • U.S. farmers use conservation tillage on more than 65 percent of U.S. soy production.
  • Conservation tillage keeps more carbon in the soil to build organic matter for future crops. It also improves soil health, making it easier for plants to establish strong root systems.
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Soil Health

A drop of rain hits the earth with incredible force. Crop residue deflects raindrops, preventing erosion while adding valuable soil nutrients. The result is a reduction in soil erosion, sediment in rivers and less commercial fertilizer use.

Water Management

I protect water resources by reducing surface water runoff. Buffer filter strips create a natural barrier to soil erosion and provide habitat for wildlife.

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  • Conservation buffers remove at least 50 percent of nutrients and pesticides, 60 percent of certain pathogens and 75 percent of sediment.
  • Through use of soil conservation practices, farmers have reduced soil erosion per bushel of soybeans by 65 percent since 1980. This erosion control helps keep sediment from farm fields from running off into streams and other waterways.
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Water Management

Buffer strips such as wildflower fields provide dual benefits: the plants keep soil in place, offering habitat for beneficial insects and wildlife. It’s a win for the farmer and for nature.

Social Responsibility

My family has farmed this land for generations. We eat the same food and drink the same water as everyone else. Managing my farm in a safe and efficient manner benefits us all.

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  • There are about 2.2 million farms in America with an average size of 169 hectares.
  • Ninety-six percent of U.S. farms with crop production are family farms, and they originate 87 percent of the value of crop production. Non-family farms account for less than 6 percent of corn and soybean production.
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Social Responsibility

Farmers care just as much about food and water safety as everyone else. They are committed to improving the world’s health through reliable access to safe, nutritious food.

Sophistication

I’m continually learning and looking for the latest innovations. I participate in continuous educational opportunities through my local universities, soybean checkoff and professional consultants.

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  • NRCS has soil maps and data available online for more than 95 percent of the nation's counties and anticipates having 100 percent in the near future.

Sophistication

One of the latest technologies in farming is the use of GPS and satellite navigation. This makes it possible to plant where the soil is healthiest, increase yields and precisely apply crop protection products and fertilizer where needed.

Continuous Improvement

If something new works well on my farm, I tell my neighbor. That’s the way it’s always been in rural America.

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  • USDA commits more than $6.5 billion in conservation funding each year, helping soy producers make continuous improvements.
  • The USDA employs 12,000 people in more than 2,200 offices to provide a national support system for technical conservation assistance.
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Continuous Improvement

With assistance from research organizations, agronomists and technology companies, U.S. farmers are adopting new products and practices faster than ever before. The results are unparalleled crop quality, increased yields and the protection of natural resources.

The U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol

Includes Four Sustainability Directives

  • Biodiversity
  • Conservation Production Practices
  • Public and Labor Health and Welfare
  • Continuous improvement in technology and cultural practices

The performance of U.S. farmers in these four areas assures domestic and international customers that the soybeans and soy products they purchase have been grown in a sustainable manner. U.S. soy exporters can provide their international customers a certificate of compliance with the Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP) for the soy they export, confirming the soy was produced with sustainable farming practices.

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  • The SSAP is based on a national system of conservation laws and careful implementation of best production practices. It includes third-party audits and international certification.
  • The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), the United Soybean Board (USB) and the American Soybean Association (ASA) worked together to develop and implement the SSAP through a multistakeholder process. Funding for this online book was provided by USSEC, USB and ASA.
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A Promise

Bringing sustainably raised soy products to the world market—that’s our pledge. The farmers who operate the 279,110 U.S. soybean farms have pledged to continue to raise our crops in this manner. U.S. farmers are continuing to take sustainability to new levels. We’ve pledged to take the lead in showing the world that sustainably raised American soybeans are not just an idea, but a promise to you—our customer.

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