Source: National Corn Growers Association, American Soybean Association and Leonardo Academy

Several agricultural representatives have withdrawn en masse from the Leonardo Academy's sustainable agriculture standard setting initiative, citing systemic limitations and chronic anti-agriculture biases inherent in the Writing Committee structure set up for this initiative. The resignation letter was signed by 10 national agricultural-organization voting members on the nearly 60-member committee, and their departure was endorsed by 46 other agricultural organizations nationwide.

"This decision was not made easily," said American Soybean Association Board member Ron Moore, a soybean producer from Roseville, Ill., "for it means walking away from nearly two years of investment in active Leonardo Academy Committee membership in an effort to produce an 'on-farm' standard. However, it is clear based on actions this past summer that any continued effort cannot and will not overcome the serious systemic limitations and chronic biases that are inherent in the structure the Leonardo Academy has set up for this initiative." After being elected vice-chair of the Standards Committee at its inception, Moore has served as acting chairman since June 2010.

Michael Arny, president of Leonardo Academy, also addressed the resignation of 11 committee members last week. "I am personally saddened by these resignations. The Leonardo Academy standards development staff and I have enjoyed working with these individuals and their participating organizations over the past two years. I will personally thank all of those who have resigned for their service on the Sustainable Agriculture Standards Committee and let them know that they are welcome to rejoin this process in the future."

NCGA's announcement 

ASA's statement 

Leonardo Academy's reaction