Specifics of soybean sustainability certification

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The U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) recently launched an official sustainability certification for U.S. soy. It provides exporters with verification that the soy products they sell on the world market are raised in a sustainable manner.  

The certification is verified by the U.S. Soybean Sustainability Assurance Protocol (SSAP). This protocol was developed by the United Soybean Board (USB), USSEC and the American Soybean Association (ASA) through a multi-stakeholder process to ensure the methodologies for measuring sustainable performance are thorough, transparent and credible. Creation of the SSAP and its official sustainability certification for exported soy products is a strategic move by these farmer-led national soybean organizations to assure international customers that U.S. farmers raise soybeans with high sustainability performance.  

“It is essential that we show the rest of the world what we are doing with regard to best management practices on the farm and best social practices in the community,” says Laura Foell, Schaller, Iowa, farmer and USB farmer-leader. “Farmers are doing the right thing and striving for continuous improvement. We need to make sure our customers know that.”

The sustainability certification is based on farmer participation in U.S. farm programs. Currently 95 percent of U.S. farms participate, according to USSEC. Thus, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates of total soybean supply are multiplied by 0.95 to determine U.S. sustainable soy supply. The SSAP provides proof of reductions in carbon emissions, energy use, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and soil erosion per acre of soybeans grown and per bushel of soybeans produced in the United States.

Certification is done at shipment point by Soy Export Sustainability, LLC, www.usses.org, based on an aggregate system representing nationwide soybean production.

This fall, the farmer-led organizations that constitute the U.S. soy family – USSEC, USB and ASA – are introducing their sustainability assurance protocol and sustainability certification system through a series of meetings around the world. Meetings with soy customers are being held in the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey and also U.S. soy farmers’ largest market – China.  

For more information on the United Soybean Board and programs can be found at www.unitedsoybean.org


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