Soybean farmers and other agriculture stakeholders interested in global perspectives on sustainability are encouraged to attend the first-ever soybean sustainability symposium and panel discussion to be held at the Union League Club in Chicago on July 24.
The event, "Rethinking Soybean Sustainability: Connecting Farm-Level Decisions with Global Marketplace Challenges," will feature expert speakers addressing the social, economic and environmental issues of global sustainability with a focus on how Illinois soybean farmers can better meet the changing needs of global customers.
Hosted by the Illinois Soybean Association and funded by the soybean checkoff, the event will explore what sustainability means in soybean agriculture, challenge producers to continue efficiency improvements and explore how to address emerging sustainability challenges.
Globally, sustainability practices drive purchase decisions, and that affects market access and profitability of Illinois soybean farmers. Although many Illinois soybean farmers blend good business practices with good environmental practices to achieve sustainability goals, the future holds even more challenges than farms faced in the past, as natural resources are decreasing at the same time population growth brings increased food demand.
"Illinois soybean producers have made great strides in improving the production efficiency of their farms by implementing sustainable best management practices," says Matt Hughes, ISA chairman. "One of the most important practices soybean farmers are employing is growing improved soybean varieties—a practice that brings multiple efficiency and sustainability benefits. However, the sustainable methods used to produce soybeans are becoming just as important as the quality of the soybean itself."
The symposium will be divided into three topic areas: the environment, the global community and an exploration of sustainability challenges in the global marketplace. Speakers' topics will examine soybeans' contribution to the Illinois economy, environmental issues and global food security.
Hughes says while sustainability, yield, quality and price are major concerns of Illinois soybean farmers within their field's borders, Illinois soybeans impact people locally and around the globe. "Beyond our farms, Illinois soybeans improve global productivity of livestock and aquaculture operations, improve human nutrition and serve as a renewable resource for various industrial uses, including advanced biofuels," he says. "U.S. soybeans build bridges through sustainable global trade."
Farmers and other agriculture stakeholders are invited to register for the July 24 symposium by visiting www.ilsoy.org/symposium.