NISA’S University of Wisconsin Pilot

John Osthus

The National Sustainable Soybean Initiative (NSSI) was formed by farmers seeking a streamlined approach to sustainability measurement.  That innovative farmer group developed the first farmer-developed, coordinated national framework for assessing sustainability and communicating achievements
throughout the value chain.

The group soon identified three priority goals:

  1. Coordinate producer-led, research-driven sustainability programs
  2. Document and measure progress for agricultural entities
  3. Communicate these advances to the supply chain.

The NSSI pilot provided all segments of the soybean value chain—including growers, processors, manufacturers, retailers, end-users and consumers—with a method for documenting and verifying progress along the sustainability continuum. Soybean growers need a voice in the sustainability discussion that ensures they have a reasonable way forward and that they receive credit for previous advancements. Wisconsin soybean grower Chuck Prellwitz states, “Being sustainable is more than being able to put a crop in year after year. It is maintaining and improving the world we live in. Better soils, cleaner water, more efficient ways of doing things, and being an integral part of the local community are all parts of being sustainable.”

The NSSI program incorporated the following guiding principles that will be carried forward as a basis for the national framework being deployed by FieldRise:

  1. Grower-driven
  2. Research-based
  3. „„Crop and regionally appropriate measurements
  4. „„Documented progress in all three components of sustainability:
    • environmental
    • economic
    • social

About the Author

John Osthus
John Osthus

John has nearly three decades of agrimarketing leadership experience, helping build stronger relationships between business, people and the environment. John has applied a life-long passion for farming, business strategy, science (and food), to proactively help address sustainability challenges.

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