By Elizabeth Westendorf, USW Policy Specialist
In 2016, Field to Market published its third National Indicators Report that assessed sustainability metrics in U.S. agriculture and looked at production of each crop on a national scale. Based on its environmental indicators, the report showed that wheat production has continued to improve, with particular progress in reducing soil erosion, over the past 25 years. The assessment results reflect yield improvements in wheat and demonstrate how farmers have adopted conservation practices. Reports like this help quantify sustainability and production improvement over time.
Assessing wheat sustainability on a national scale is difficult, however, because of the highly regional nature of its production. There are six U.S. wheat classes, grown in distinct regions and local micro-climates. Aggregate measures of sustainability are important, but they fail to capture the nuances of a crop that is grown across many different climates, soil types and farm environments.
To capture some of those nuances, USW has developed a series of farmer profiles that highlight regional sustainability in U.S. wheat production. Featuring farmers that grow a specific U.S. wheat class, the profiles highlight their practices, dedication to sustainability and unique growing conditions. They illustrate that while no two farmers are the same, they share a dedication to protecting their land for the next generation and a commitment to responsible stewardship.
The profiles include:
- Justin Knopf, Salina, KS, who grows HRW, alfalfa, sorghum, soybeans and corn.
- David Clough, Fessenden, ND, who grows HRS, edible beans, sunflowers, soybeans and
- John Hoffman, Circleville, OH, who grows SRW, corn and soybeans.
- Bob Johns and Chris Williams, from Athena, OR, who grow SW, green peas and alfalfa.
- Mark Linnebur, Byers, CO, who grows hard white and HRW wheat and corn on his farm.
- Roy Motter, Brawley, CA, in the Imperial Valley, who grows Desert Durum®, lettuce, cabbage, onions, sugar beets, sugar cane, alfalfa seed and hay, Sudan grass, melons and tomatoes.
We encourage our customers and stakeholders to read the profiles at www.uswheat.org/factsheets. There is also more information about how U.S. farmers, ranchers, fishermen and foresters share their values, sustainability experiences and conservation practices online at The U.S. Sustainability Alliance.