212-8 Benchmarking the State of Sustainable Agriculture Practices Among Wisconsin Potato Producers: A Comparison of Sustainability Standards and Metrics.

See more from this Division: ASA Section: Education & Extension
See more from this Session: Education and Extension Methods That Work: II
Tuesday, October 23, 2012: 10:00 AM
Millennium Hotel, Bronze Ballroom B, Second Floor
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Amanda L. Raster1, Deana Knuteson2, Jeff Wyman3, Amanda Gevens4, Russell Groves3 and Alvin Bussan1, (1)Horticulture, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
(2)Nutrient and Pest Management, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
(3)Entomology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
(4)Plant Pathology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Over the past decade, numerous sustainability standards and metrics have been developed for U.S. agriculture. Many private entities have implemented sustainability programs that address issues such as Integrated Pest Management, reduced pesticide risk, climate, energy and other environmental considerations. Numerous local, regional and national standards also exist that encompass a broader range of sustainability criteria such as soil and water conservation and quality, crop nutrient management, energy conservation and greenhouse gas emissions, biological diversity, safe and fair working conditions, and economic viability for agricultural producers. These standards range from private to multi-stakeholder in terms of inclusivity during development; whole farm to crop-specific in scope; practice-based to performance-based in implementation; and self-assessment to certification to consumer-facing eco-label in terms of verification. Additionally, there are several programs currently attempting to quantify agricultural sustainability through the measurement of best management practices on the farm and throughout the supply chain.

This presentation will summarize research findings aimed at benchmarking the state of sustainable agriculture practices among Wisconsin vegetable producers utilizing two approaches:  1) conducting an assessment of U.S. agricultural sustainability standards and using the findings to inform the development of the Wisconsin Vegetable Sustainability Standards and 2) evaluating how Wisconsin potato producers perform against seven sustainability metrics/assessment tools using on-farm production data. Results from the sustainability standards assessment will focus on a comparison of similarities and differences across standard requirements, assessment and verification methods, scientific basis, certification, and other factors. Duplicative requirements across standards will be identified along with gaps in sustainability efforts that future research initiatives might fill. Results from the sustainability metrics evaluation will focus on examining the range of variables across the measurement tools, identifying gaps and redundancies, assessing what types of output information are meaningful and influential to producers with respect to adjusting management practices, and identifying the most relevant measurement areas that help producers achieve desired sustainability outcomes.

See more from this Division: ASA Section: Education & Extension
See more from this Session: Education and Extension Methods That Work: II