AGree Releases Five Papers on Achieving Productivity, Profitability, and Environmental Outcomes in Agriculture

The views presented in these blogs are those of the authors.

Meeting the food, feed, fuel, and fiber needs of a growing and increasingly prosperous world, and doing so in a manner that also maintains and improves environmental quality, is one of the grand challenges facing humankind in the 21st century. Drawing on diverse expertise among landowners and producers, supply chain leaders, and nonprofit organizations, AGree’s Productivity, Profitability, and Environmental Outcomes Workgroup is developing a set of consensus strategies and recommendations for policy and action that will drive transformative change in U.S. agriculture to meet this challenge. In addition to intensive deliberation among AGree’s Co-Chairs and Advisors and convenings and consultation with diverse stakeholders, the development of “Point of View” papers on various approaches to simultaneously advancing productivity, profitability, and environmental outcomes has been a significant component of developing consensus recommendations and strategies. While the five papers in this compilation do not represent official AGree policy, they have informed AGree’s development of policy and action recommendations by stimulating thinking and discussion.

The papers offer diverse and insightful perspectives from leading producers and other practitioners and experts at the intersection of agriculture and conservation in the United States. Although each presents a unique viewpoint, they are united around key themes, including:

  • the need for producer-led conservation efforts that are focused on improved long-term productivity and environmental stewardship at a watershed or landscape scale;
  • the critical role of measurement and information in enabling improved practices and outcomes; and
  • the transformative potential of developing new partnerships and ways of working together among a broader range of stakeholders across the country.

While the papers offer insights that might inform agriculture and conservation internationally, the focus to date of AGree’s Productivity, Profitability, and Environmental Outcomes Workgroup has been on understanding and meeting challenges in the United States. Please visit the AGree website’s Publications Page for an Overview and Abstracts of the papers as well as links to the individual papers, which are also provided below:

1. Cooperative Conservation: A Producer-Led Approach to Achieving Healthy Agricultural Landscapes: Authored by Kristin Weeks Duncanson, owner and partner of Duncanson Growers in Minnesota, former Director of the American Soybean Board, and AGree Advisory Committee member; Jim Moseley, former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Indiana farmer, and AGree Co-Chair; and Fred Yoder, Ohio farmer, past President of the National Corn Growers Association, and AGree Advisory Committee member.

2. Increasing Sustainability of America’s Working Landscapes Through Improved Public-Private Collaborations at Multiple Scales: Authored by Jim Faulstich, Vice Chairman of Partners for Conservation and Daybreak Ranch; Steve Jester, Executive Director, Partners for Conservation; and Jim Stone, Chairman of Partners for Conservation and cattle rancher.

3. Towards a Knowledge Infrastructure for Science-Based Policy and Sustainable Management of Agricultural Landscapes: Authored by John Antle, Professor, Susan Capalbo, Department Head and Professor, and Laurie Houston, Faculty Research Associate, Department of Applied Economics, Oregon State University.

4. Securing the Future of Western Agriculture: A Perspective of Western Producers: Authored by Pat O’Toole, Owner of Ladder Livestock, Family Farm Alliance President and AGree Advisory Committee member, and Dan Keppen, Executive Director, Family Farm Alliance.

5. Food and Beverage Company Sustainable Sourcing Initiatives in Farming Regions: Authored by Hal Hamilton, Co-Director, Sustainable Food Lab and AGree Advisory Committee member and Elizabeth Reaves, Program Associate, Sustainable Food Lab. Portions contributed by Sean McMahon, North American Agriculture Program Director, The Nature Conservancy; Steve Peterson, Director of Sourcing Sustainability, General Mills; and Jan Kees Vis, Sustainable Agriculture Director, Unilever.

These “Point of View” papers were commissioned by AGree to inform and stimulate dialogue about policy reform; they do not represent official AGree positions. The views expressed are those of the individual authors.

Deborah Atwood is the executive director of AGree