Ag Groups Withdraw from Leonardo Sustainable Ag Standard Development

Organizations cite a bias against modern, mainstream agriculture as the reason for dropping out.

Published on: Oct 20, 2010

Fifty-five commodity and farm organizations representing U.S. production agriculture interests have withdrawn from the Leonardo Academy's initiative to develop a sustainable agriculture standard for American National Standards Institute. The organizations say it has become clear that that the Leonardo Academy process is biased against a balanced and open analysis of modern agriculture.

The Leonardo Academy claims the committee is made up of members from across all areas of agriculture, but, in reality, the committee is dominated by environmental groups, certification consultants, agro-ecology and organic farming proponents. According to the groups withdrawing, these groups have neither the vision nor desire to speak for the farmers of mainstream agriculture.

Ron Moore, a member of the American Soybean Association board and soybean producer from Roseville, Ill., says it was not an easy decision to walk away from two years of investment, but that it is clear that any continued effort cannot and will not overcome the serious systemic limitations and chronic biases that are inherent in the structure the Leonardo Academy has set up for this initiative.

"U.S. farmers are very much dedicated to the long-term sustainability of their farms and their farming practices," Moore said. "For this reason, farmers will embrace an achievable roadmap for the environmental, social and economic aspects of sustainability, but only if they are part of its development. We are committed to working toward such goals in the hope that widespread adoption will contribute to real sustainability of American agriculture. This cannot occur within the Leonardo Academy process."