Updated Version of Fieldprint Calculator for Tracking Farmer’s Sustainability Efforts Released by Field to Market
January 11, 2012 | Jessica Vernabe
Field to Market: The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, an initiative that brings together producers, agribusinesses, food companies, and conservation organizations seeking to create sustainable outcomes for agriculture, has introduced an updated version of its Fieldprint Calculator, which it says is even more efficient in helping growers keep track of how their operations affect the environment.
Field to Market, which introduced the new version of the online tool at the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Annual Meeting in Honolulu, HI, says the Fieldprint Calculator “helps growers asses corn, wheat, soybean, cotton and rice operations in terms of land use, soil conservation, soil carbon, water use, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.” The tool was originally launched in 2009.
The group said this is the first version of the tool to be made available to rice growers. The new version also includes various additional capabilities, which were inspired by the recommendations from growers. The purpose of the improvements is to make results more accurate and consistent. For example, data entry has been streamlined, and the tool now includes crop rotation inclusion, soil carbon calculations and an enterprise budget function to help growers analyze the cost savings that can result from on-farm decisions.
The new version of the tool also allows growers to compare their Fieldprints to similar operations across the county, state and nation.
“The tool allows me to rethink how we do specific tasks on our farm,” said Brian Marshall, a corn and soybean grower in Maysville, Mo. “Looking at graphs of our farm’s data helped me recognize where we could improve our sustainability. As a grower, I know my farm is being compared to the average for farms in our county which makes the data more relevant to us.”
The new features of the tools aren’t going without testing. There are several pilot projects supported by Field to Market members that are underway. For example, corn growers in Nebraska have teamed up with Bunge and Kellogg Company to use the tool to validate sustainable practices and find ways to improve the company’s Frosted Flake production. In other pilot projects, Syngenta has worked with rice growers in the Southeast; General Mills is teaming with Syngenta to work with farmers in Idaho; and the Van Buren Conservation District, The Coca-Cola Company, The Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund are supporting a project in the Paw Paw Watershed of Michigan.
The goal of the projects is to improve Field to Market’s tools while also educating growers about how they can become more sustainable and tell others about it.
Field to Market: The Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture is facilitated by The Keystone Center, an independent non-profit organization specializing in collaborative decision-making processes for the environment, energy and health policy issues.