Two National Sustainable Soybean Initiative surveys may prove the environmental, economic and social successes of soybean production and ultimately help protect market access for farmers.
The soybean-checkoff funded surveys are being promoted by the Illinois Soybean Association, and will help farmers measure and document progress in protecting soil, air and water while increasing production. Farmers will be rewarded for their time and input to the surveys.
"Sustainability is a growing concern among soybean customers and the global marketplace," says Don Guinnip, soybean farmer from Marshall and ISA sustainability vice chair. "The term can be confusing, but soybean farmers have been naturally part of the movement for a long time. These surveys help document that success and measure progress."
Guinnip notes sustainability simply means taking care of today's needs while ensuring future generations can take care of their needs. Sustainability encompasses environmental, social and economic issues. For farmers, Guinnip says that can mean increasing productivity while decreasing impacts on the environment, and adhering to specific labor, management and business practices to ensure current and future needs are met safely and efficiently.
"We know that impacts on the environment from soybean production have significantly improved in past decades," Guinnip says. "Until recently, there haven't been widely used methods to track improvements specific to soybean production in our state. The surveys will develop baselines measures. We can share results with customers to support soybean sales."
Soybean farmers will answer questions within the surveys about their farming operations and management practices related to environmental, economic and social sustainability. The surveys take about 40 minutes to complete, and are available online at www.soysurvey.com or in a paper format. Paper surveys will be mailed to all ISA members soon.
The first 150 farmers who complete both surveys will earn $75 and a chance to win a 16GB iPad. Payment is $25 for completing the "soybean survey" and $50 for completing the "whole farm survey." Everyone who completes a survey prior to Feb. 27 will be entered to win one of 10 iPads, with winners announced at Commodity Classic. All information is confidential.