(Click to show main goal)We’d like to take this opportunity to discuss how Illinois soybean growers are promoting sustainability goals important to the food chain and show how we live our values by making sustainability goals part of everything we do throughout the soybean lifecycle—from soil to seed to marketplace. For most Illinois soybean farmers, meeting today’s sustainability goals is not a new idea—we’ve been making improvements since long before sustainability was popular, and we’re still committed to the cause.
This presentation focuses on our five areas for meeting sustainability goals and our commitment to sustainably meeting our customers’ needs.(click to show focus areas)
Our first focus area is Social Responsibility. Illinois soybean farmers put people and communities first. We support the people we reach in the U.S. and more than 80 countries with tangible efforts and programs designed to better the communities we’re involved with.Ten Crop Science Scholarships are awarded yearly at $4,000 each. (Click to animate)Ag in Classroom – We provide ag-related materials to educators and students, and offer soybean activities for elementary classrooms. (Click to animate trees)Local Food Donations (click to animate pig)ISA partnered with the Illinois Pork Producers Association to supply 13,500 lbs. of pork to food banks this year (click to animate ham)Global Support to emerging markets (Click to animate world) (Click to animate examples) – We support the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health (WISHH) and other outreach programs. WISHH is a program that was started by Illinois farmers, an idea that all farmers now support through the American Soybean Association. Through this program the benefits of U.S. soy protein are brought to developing countries, such as Haiti and those in Africa and Central America. Soy innovations – We’re helping to explore new ways soybeans can be used worldwide in advanced biofuels, plastics, ink and other products.
The second area of our sustainability focus is Environmental Stewardship. The Illinois Soybean Association is a member of the Keystone Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a national program that has outlined five key environmental resource indicators: land use, energy use, soil loss, irrigation water use and CO2 emissions.This graph illustrates how Illinois soybean production impact has dropped in each category since 1987.For us, environmental stewardship starts with the efficient use of land. Yield trends show that Illinois soybean farmers continually get more production from each acre. As this graph shows, increasing yields have resulted in soybean land use per bushel decreasing by 26 percent over the past 20 yearsUse of reduced tillage by Illinois soybean farmers reduces soil loss. Leaving crop residue undisturbed longer increases soil organic matter, improving soil health and productivity. We’ve seen a 93 percent decrease in soil erosion, and we’ve preserved 1 billion tons of topsoil using sustainable practices.We also participate in the Conservation Reserve Program and comply with the National Resources Conservation Service to protect and conserve natural resources like land.Since 1987, Illinois soybean growers’ energy used per acre has decreased by 48 percent, while energy used per bushel has decreased 65 percent.We’re using less and less energy to produce more and more soybeans.Soybean producers take several steps to improve energy efficiency. Reduced tillage practices, which reduce or eliminate plowing, deliver much of the efficiency gains.Protecting air quality is an important sustainability goal for Illinois soybean farmers. One way we’ve accomplished this is through reduced tillage, which reduces fuel requirements. Burning less fuel reduces CO2 emissions. Even assuming only 10 percent of the annual no-till is continuous, as measured by the Conservation Tillage Information Center, net carbon balance per acre has decreased by 14 percent overall, while emissions per bushel decreased by 38 percent.Another way Illinois soybean farmers increase sustainability through renewable energy is by using soybean oil to make advanced biofuels. Soybean oil is about half of U.S. biofuel production. According to the National Biodiesel Board, biodiesel has the highest energy balance of any fuel, returning 5.54 units of renewable energy for every one unit of energy needed to produce it. And to speak to protecting air quality: The lifecycle carbon emissions of biofuel are reduced 57 to 86 percent compared to petrol diesel, making it the best carbon reduction tool of any liquid fuel that’s commercially available.Illinois soybean farmers participate in a USDA conservation program that protects waterways. The USDA and the state of Illinois partner in a Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP), which removes about 132,000 acres of farmland along the Illinois River to protect water quality.Water is an increasingly scarce resource because of greater demands from population growth and urbanization. Crops require a lot of water. More people need more food so agriculture impacts water supplies, especially when irrigation is used. Fortunately for Illinois soybean farmers, the state gets an average of 33 inches of rain per year, limiting the need for irrigation.- Reduced tillage can reduce annual moisture evaporation loss by 5.9 inches- Narrow row spacing creates tighter leaf canopies for more drought-resistant crops- New seed technologies minimize disease, fungus and weed impactsIllinois soybean farmers comply with pesticide application regulations and keep careful records when applying restricted use products. Conservation tillage helps hold farm inputs in the field to protect waterways.When applying nutrients, farmers use yield monitors, global positioning satellites and variable rate technology to ensure that nutrients are applied where they can do the most good. These technologies reduce costs and prevent over-application of fertilizer.
The third area of sustainability focus is Labor Practices, Labor Relations and Worker Conditions. Those who work for us are our neighbors and family members. One important way we demonstrate our commitment to sustainability is by looking out for the best interests of our workers.We do that by:- Complying with all applicableOSHA guidelines- Completing pesticide trainingfor all workers- Performing safety training- Reporting worker tax and social security information properly and thoroughly- Offering medical insurancewhere applicable- Obtaining commercial driver’s licenses to ensure public safety
To ensure that we’re maximizing productivity while minimizing impact, Illinois soybean farmers look to Best Management Practices such as those outlined by the American Soybean Association and International Soybean Growers Alliance. The methodology used by these organizations includes farmland inventory and assessment, developing and refining goals, examining problems and determining priorities, and developing alternatives.
Illinois soybean farmers adopted the business efficiencies associated with sustainability long before sustainability was a popular concept. Sustainability simply makes good business sense. And good business is good not only for the bottom line, but also for Illinois soybean farms, our communities and our global customers.A few areas to highlight:Meeting Quality Standards: Illinois soybean farmers look at quality two ways. One is in selecting soybean varieties that have at least 35 percent protein and 19 percent oil. The other quality standard is for the soybean product. Illinois soybean farmers must meet strict guidelines laid out by the USDA Grain Inspections, Packers, and Stockyards Administration, including moisture, test weight and class.For customers who have specialized identity-preserved needs, Illinois soybean farmers are especially well-equipped to deliver higher-value soybean supplies with tracking systems to monitor identity preservation using containerized shipments.And Research Investments: In 2011, the Illinois Soybean Association invested $5 million in research to improve soybean production and profitability. And through farmer payments to checkoff programs, a portion of proceeds from each Illinois soybean bushel sold is invested into soybean improvement and market development research at local, state, national and international levels.
Soybean meal is a major protein ingredient in animal feed.Our leading customers are livestock producers and food manufacturers.46 percent of Illinois soybeans are sold in the U.S. and 54 percent are exported.Because soybeans are packed with amino acids, they’re the gold standard among livestock nutritionists.Soybean meal greatly improves swine feed conversion efficiency-Can save 10 to 16 percenton purchases using U.S. dehulled mealSoybean meal gets poultry and eggs to market faster with less cost, less waste and reduced environmental impact-Can save 10 to 50 percenton purchases using U.S. dehulled mealAquaculture fed soy dietsgrow larger, produce higher yields and have increasedfeed conversion
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By remaining committed to sustainability we’ll find new ways to improve productivity, reduce impact and increase social benefits, as we have in the past. Illinois soybean farmers have generations of family commitment to sustainability—and we plan to share that commitment with generations to come.
ILLINOIS SOYBEAN ASSOCIATIONVisionHelp make Illinois farmers the mostknowledgeable and profitablesoybean producers in the world.MissionMake Illinois soy the highestquality, most dependable,sustainable and competitive inthe global marketplace.
ISA STRUCTURE• The ISA Board of Directors – 24 volunteer farmers who govern the organizations use of checkoff and non-checkoff funds – 18 District Directors representing specific regions – 6 At-Large Directors, representing the state as a whole, elected on a state-wide basis
ISA HISTORY• Founded in the mid-1960s to serve the needs of soybean farmers across Illinois• Dedicated to continue our legacy of helping improve profitability for all our members• ISA Values – Commitment – Perseverance – Honor
ISA GOAL Maximum profitability and global competitive positioning for Illinois soybean producers• Utilization of 600 million bushels of Illinois soybeans by 2020.• Development of the highest quality soybean, soybean oil and soybean meal products.• Implementation of best management practices to maximize profitability.• Increase soybean production in a sustainable manner to meet global market needs.
ISA TARGET AREAS• Soybean Checkoff and membership dollars focus on these target areas: – Animal ag – Transportation – Yield – High quality – Sustainability – Market access/advocacy – Aquaculture – Industrial – Image building – Alignment – Producer communications – Organizational excellence
FROM OUR FAMILY FARM TO YOU, SUSTAINABLYGoal of Illinois soybean farmers is simple: Get soybeans from our fields into customers’ hands in the most sustainable way possible.
ISA SUSTAINABILITY PARTNERSHIPS The Keystone Center Conservation Technology Information Center KIC 2025 National SustainableIndian Creek Watershed Project LTD Soybean Initiative (NSSI) America’s Advanced C-BMP Illinois Council on Biofuel BioDiesel Best Management Practices National Initiative for STAARS Strategies Targeting Sustainable Agriculture American Agricultural Resources and Sustainability
SOY FAMILY INDUSTRY PLEDGE• Soy Family taking a strong leadership role.• Working together with USB’s sustainability initiative, ASA and QSSBs to develop a soy industry pledge.• Designing a sustainable sourcing program that measures sustainability performance.• Program will drive continuous improvement across all acres.
SOY FAMILY INDUSTRY PLEDGEConversations:• Various other commodity groups for common messages;• GMP+;• MVO: Industry Trade Association representing the Dutch Refining and Crushing industry;• FEFAC;• U.S. Industry;• U.K. Feed Manufacturers Association; and• NGO CommunityRollout:• China – Informal Rollout July 28• Full Campaign Rollout – Fall, 2012
FOR MORE INFORMATIONwww.ilsoy.org/isa/sustainability/symposium/