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CEO DATELINE – Corn growers, environmentalists announce partnership

Nov. 14, 2018
By Walt Williams

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The National Corn Growers Association announced Wednesday it is partnering with a leading environmental organization to improve data tracking and promote voluntary solutions to environmental issues involving farming.

The “first-of-its-kind” collaboration between NCGA and the Environmental Defense Fund will seek to improve environmental outcomes while optimizing productivity and profitability for farmers, according to a joint statement.  The partnership calls for improved data measurement of soil health, water quality and greenhouse gas emissions; promotion of public policies that support voluntary solutions to common environmental problems; and improved communications between farmers and consumers.

“The public expects greater stewardship and transparency from farmers, and it’s critical for the agricultural sector to show leadership on conservation,” Nathan Fields, vice president of production and sustainability at NCGA, said in a statement. “EDF and NCGA are stronger together. We have different expertise and perspectives, and combining them is a real opportunity.”

Farms have been blamed for a host of environmental problems, from soil erosion to degrading water quality. Environmentalists and farming interests have clashed frequently over the years but the partnership promises to find common ground between the two sides.

NCGA and EDF have worked together in the past and the new agreement will build on that relationship, Suzy Friedman, senior director of agricultural sustainability at EDF, said in a statement.

“Many practices that increase soil health and water quality also boost farmers’ bottom lines,” she said. “EDF and NCGA have worked together for many years to align economic incentives and environmental outcomes. Formalizing our partnership was a natural next step to accelerate progress toward our shared goals.”