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FIELD TO MARKET, USDA ANNOUNCE RENEWED MOU TO ADVANCE SCIENCE-BASED SUSTAINABILITY MEASUREMENT
Source: Field to Market news release

Washington - Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) announced today that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) renewing a partnership to integrate NRCS tools and models into Field to Market's Fieldprint Platform. The renewed MOU, which updates an agreement originally executed in 2014, advances a long-standing collaboration between Field to Market and NRCS to provide farmers and the agricultural value chain with a science- and outcomes-based approach to sustainability measurement.

First released in 2009, Field to Market's Fieldprint Platform is a pioneering assessment framework that empowers brands, retailers, suppliers, and farmers at every stage in their sustainability journey to measure the environmental impacts of commodity crop production and identify opportunities for continuous improvement. Farmers can access this pre-competitive suite of sustainability metrics through the online calculator or through associated farm-management software that integrates the Platform's metrics and algorithms.

NRCS models have formed a critical backbone of the Fieldprint Platform since its launch and provide a credible scientific grounding for the 70 member-led continuous improvement projects across 4.5 million acres that leverage the Platform to advance sustainability outcomes across the U.S.

"NRCS is focused on delivering conservation solutions that support agricultural producers in protecting and enhancing natural resources," said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby. "Our ongoing collaboration with Field to Market provides an important opportunity for farmers and the supply chain to access credible, science-based measurement tools which advance the sustainability of American agriculture."

NRCS models underpin the calculations of several sustainability metrics calculated in the Fieldprint Platform, providing farmers and Field to Market member organizations with direct insights from NRCS:
Soil Conservation is calculated using the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) and Wind Erosion Prediction System (WEPS) models which provide detailed insight into erosion losses and effectively capture improvement in soil conservation based on conservation practice adoption.

Water Quality is evaluated using the new Stewardship Tool for Environmental Performance (STEP), which enables farmers and the value chain to identify potential for applied nitrogen and phosphorus to be lost through runoff or leaching. Users can then evaluate the effectiveness of NRCS conservation practices to mitigate the risk of nutrient losses to improve water quality outcomes.

Soil Carbon sequestration is assessed through two methods. Farmers first receive a qualitative assessment of how likely their management practices will lead to gains in soil carbon utilizing the Soil Conditioning Index. Building on this assessment, farmers can pursue a quantitative analysis of how much carbon they are sequestering by using COMET-Planner, accessible within the Fieldprint Platform.

This close integration of tools is made possible through collaboration and technology linkages between Field to Market, NRCS, and Colorado State University.

Together, Field to Market and NRCS have established interoperability between the Fieldprint Platform and NRCS tools like the Conservation Application Ranking Tool (CART), offering farmers streamlined access points to both federal programs and supply chain sustainability efforts.

"Field to Market's long-standing partnership with NRCS provides a robust underpinning for our Fieldprint Platform, empowering farmers and the agricultural value chain to translate sustainability science into action," said Scott Herndon, president of Field to Market. "We are excited to renew this long-standing partnership and continue to provide a consistent approach to the tools and metrics which farmers rely on to advance sustainability."


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