Farmers in Europe have been forced into proving sustainability and traceability of their production, which is spreading to the U.S.
An example comes from what a crop consultant in Scotland has seen.
Allen Scobie, an independent crop consultant in Scotland and former chairman of the Global Alliance of Independent Agricultural Consultants, knows the price his clients have paid for not getting involved early enough. He explained that the supply chain in Scotland first offered premiums for traceable grains that met a certain criteria as to how they were raised and handled, criteria the farmers had not been involved in setting.
Farmers were originally encouraged, but not required, to join quality councils, however, within two years, his farmers virtually couldn't sell grain unless they were a quality council member.
Scobie encourages U.S. farmers and their crop consultants, ag agronomists to be involved so that unreasonable standards are not set.
"Farmers need to be professional and accountable to the end user," he said. "But, they need to make sure discussions are based on common sense and common ground. Get out there and appreciate the concerns and health issues of the consumer and the supply chain. Engage and discuss them in a sensible way and be sure the result is something you can live with."
Scobie’s experience relates to an article about sustainable agriculture organizations, with leadership from within production agriculture, being established in the U.S. that appears in the February issue of AgProfessional as posted on the website. The article is “Sustainability Opens Opportunity Window.”