20th July 2024

This text is sponsored by The United Soybean Board.

With a rising international inhabitants driving an elevated want for high quality protein, soybeans are rising as a sustainable answer. Whereas we’ll want an extra three billion bushels of soybeans per decade to satisfy elevated demand, U.S. soybean farmers are up for the problem — they’re dedicated to growing and implementing options to feed a rising inhabitants sustainably. 

As stewards of the land, U.S. soybean farmers work to supply high quality components for animal feed and meals, whereas additionally enhancing and preserving the soil on their farms for future generations. Some 95 p.c of soybean producers associate with the U.S. Division of Agriculture to implement conservation packages on their farms. 

This implies they frequently make use of tried-and-true practices resembling crop rotation, cowl crops and no-till farming, which enhance the quantity of carbon in our soil — quite than the ambiance — by carbon sequestration. Mixed with GPS-based expertise that improves the precision of seed planting and spraying, U.S. soybean farmers’ practices enhance vitality effectivity, keep soil well being and maximize the constant high quality of their harvests. 

By 2025, U.S. soybean farmers are dedicated to:

  • Lowering whole greenhouse gasoline emissions by 10 p.c (measured as kilos CO2-equivelent gasses emitted per 12 months)
  • Rising vitality effectivity by 10 p.c BTUs per 12 months
  • Lowering land use impression by 10 p.c (measured as acres per bushel)
  • Lowering soil erosion an extra 25 p.c (measured as acres per bushel)

U.S. soybean farmers have been innovating sustainable options that profit the setting and their communities for many years. They’ve already lowered greenhouse gasoline emissions by 41 p.c per ton and lowered vitality utilization per bushel by 35 p.c since 1980. 

Selling sustainability with no-till farming

No-till farming is a method soybean farmers can embrace sustainability. That is after they don’t disturb the soil by tillage which decreases erosion, builds more healthy soils and permits earthworms to thrive. 

“Despite the fact that we could farm in a different way, U.S. soy farmers wish to depart our land in a greater situation than after we discovered it,” mentioned Shannon Tignor Ellis, a United Soybean Board (USB) farmer-leader, who serves on the United Soybean Board, and runs her household farm in Virginia that places these sustainable practices into motion. For the reason that 1980s, Tignor’s household farm within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed has practiced no-till farming.

<determine data-align="middle" data-caption="U.S. Soy farmers implement cowl crop planting practices of their fields. Picture courtesy of USB Owned Photographs.“>Cover crop

On Tignor’s farm, they use cowl crops, grass waterways and buffers to guard the soil and stop run-off. In addition they retain the biodiversity of the marsh areas, with the addition of the forest and crop land on their farm. Their objective is to be as environment friendly as doable with inputs of water, seeds, fertilizers and crop protectants. 

“We’re deeply captivated with caring for the setting, and we take satisfaction in producing a sustainable crop that helps future generations,” mentioned Tignor.

Drone in field

Know-how additionally performs a pivotal position in sustainable farming. U.S. soybean farmers resembling Tignor use instruments resembling GPS-enabled tractors and drones and satellite tv for pc imagery and extra to supply extra soy from the identical quantity of land and cut back the usage of pure sources. In addition they use biotechnology to scale back the usage of herbicides and reduce weed and bug strain. Use of expertise contributes to elevated yields of high-quality soybeans, whereas optimizing the land extra sustainably.

Environment friendly land, water and vitality use from U.S. soybean farmers throughout the nation cut back greenhouse gasoline emissions and enhance soil well being. In reality, soybean farmers have improved vitality use effectivity by 46 p.c and lowered greenhouse gasoline emissions per bushel by 43 p.c. These sustainable practices assist higher our world whereas preserving meals on tables. 

“We wish to create a world the place soy is a elementary ingredient in fixing the broad challenges of humanity, whether or not it’s offering meals safety or sustainable merchandise,” mentioned Tignor.

New expertise creates higher environmental outcomes

Seeking to the longer term, U.S. soybean farmers are devoted to assembly the wants of the rising inhabitants by fixed innovation. 

U.S. soybean farmers leverage expertise to lower pesticide use by focused software. They’ve tapped drones to ship and apply herbicides to manage weeds, fungicides to struggle illness or different inputs simply the place they’re wanted in fields. 

In addition they use autosteer tractors, which permits them to keep away from overlapping rows and improves accuracy of software for fertilizer and different inputs. Finally, this course of creates much less waste and permits farmers to streamline the method. 

Shannon’s farm makes use of variable charge expertise in addition to grid-based soil sampling and yield knowledge to create maps that enable her to use the correct quantity of vitamins mixed with the perfect seeding charge in every zone. Each bit of apparatus is outfitted with the corresponding gear to permit her to make use of this precious sustainability software that enhances effectivity and helps shield the setting. 

Extra meals with fewer sources

U.S. soybean farmers work tirelessly to guard and preserve the land. Via sustainable farming, persistent innovation and unmatched effectivity, they persistently produce extra important vitamins whereas utilizing fewer finite pure sources. 

For meals firms, this implies U.S. grown soy might help meet shopper demand for sustainable and reasonably priced components. Declaring the sustainability of merchandise with labels such because the Sustainable U.S. Soy mark — which acknowledges U.S. grown soy components as sustainable components for any meals trade formulation — advantages farmers, shoppers and processors alike. Highlighting the sustainability of their merchandise not solely helps group’s meet their sustainability targets, but additionally retains up with shopper demand for sustainable, U.S. grown fat and oils.

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