Opinion: Part Of Being Sustainable Is To Be Transparent With Consumers

Rosemary GordonWhen the term “sustainability” became a part of everyday conversations, many of the growers I talked to provided specifics on what they were doing to be “sustainable” — whether it was using new technology, choosing varieties that better withstand environmental stressors, etc.

A few years ago, I visited the Michigan operation of a large potato grower, Black Gold Farms, and sustainability was one of the main topics discussed. The farm’s CEO Gregg Halverson told me that in order to be sustainable, crop protectants, fertilizers, etc. — which are necessary components to farming operations — must be used in ways that communicate to consumers that growers are being good stewards of the land.

Why? Because more and more consumers want to know that the food they purchase is safe and was produced in an environmentally friendly way.

So if you are conducting experiments to determine how to use less water by using more efficient delivery methods, implementing practices to increase efficiencies, or doing something else entirely, tell your story. Become transparent.

Sustainability is about preserving a livelihood. Recently I was speaking with a grower in Florida who also is striving to become more sustainable and is looking at ways to reduce crop inputs. Growers tackling this effort need to determine a viable course of action to cut costs while ensuring customers continue to receive a superior product. To achieve the desired outcome, that means conducting numerous trials using various products to figure out which ones will provide the necessary results.

Growers striving to be sustainable also must stay on top of the latest technology. For example, the Strawberry Advisory System (SAS) at the University of Florida was developed to help reduce yield losses as a result of weather-related fungal disease pressure. Instead of using the calendar to determine when to spray, the web-based SAS uses the duration of leaf wetness and temperatures during the wetness period in the field to predict conditions that would contribute to the spread of disease. In essence, the technology can help reduce crop losses and fungicide use, both efforts in sustainability.

What story do you need to tell? How are you being transparent with consumers? Send me an email or tweet and tell me about your efforts. Who knows, you may be on to something that may be critical to the future of sustainable vegetable production.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Farm Management Stories
USDA organic logo
Farm ManagementThe ROI On An Organic Checkoff [Opinion]
June 29, 2015
Organic agriculture is more profitable for farmers than conventional agriculture, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of Read More
CucurbitsNational Watermelon Association Designs Patriotic Car For NASCAR Racer
June 26, 2015
The National Watermelon Association (NWA), in conjunction with NASCAR racer Ross Chastain’s season long sponsors Watermelon.org and Helena Chemical, want Read More
FruitsHow To Make Social Media Work For You
June 25, 2015
I have a confession to make. I enter a lot of contests. I’ve won gift cards to local restaurants, locally Read More
Farm ManagementIndustry Experts Sound Off On Climate Change
June 24, 2015
Growers and stakeholders share their thoughts on what they see is happening in the environment, and what you might be dealing with in the future. Read More
CitrusCalifornia High Heat Warning Issued
June 23, 2015
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is advising all employers to protect their outdoor workers from the Read More
non-gmo label leafy greens
CitrusResearchers Ready To Testify Before Congress About GMOs
June 22, 2015
UF/IFAS grad students seeking to field questions relating to the GMO regulatory processes, food labeling, and product safety. Read More
FruitsMore Than 1,000 Ag-Workers Stranded At Mexican Border
June 18, 2015
According to a news alert from The Department of State, a hardware failure in the State Department facility has prevented Read More
The Latest
Farm ManagementMarketing Tips From GenNext Growers
June 29, 2015
Whether your business is in its beginning stages of development or is already established and in need of increased visibility, Read More
USDA organic logo
Farm ManagementThe ROI On An Organic Checkoff [Opinion]
June 29, 2015
Organic agriculture is more profitable for farmers than conventional agriculture, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of Read More
Farm ManagementIndustry Experts Sound Off On Climate Change
June 24, 2015
Growers and stakeholders share their thoughts on what they see is happening in the environment, and what you might be dealing with in the future. Read More
CitrusCalifornia High Heat Warning Issued
June 23, 2015
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) is advising all employers to protect their outdoor workers from the Read More
hungry child eating giant sandwich at dinner
Farm ManagementFuture Food Supply Needs Serving Up Super-Sized Challen…
June 16, 2015
Sustainable solutions, investment in new technologies musts to feed the future world. Read More
secrets can do lots of damage
CitrusConfidentiality Counterproductive For Today’s Far…
June 15, 2015
No longer is transparency an anomaly among the grower community, it's become necessary to survive and succeed. Read More
Farm ManagementFood Safety Audit Cost-Share Programs Offered
June 9, 2015
Purdue Extension and the Illiana Watermelon Association (IWA) are offering audit cost-sharing programs to Indiana fruit and vegetable growers who Read More
Charlotte's Web-medical marijuana in greenhouse
CitrusFlorida Still Playing Medical Marijuana Waiting Game
June 9, 2015
Growers and potential patients hold their breath while next steps are taken to spin Charlotte’s Web. Read More
Farm ManagementRecord Heat Wave Expected To Hit Pacific Northwest
June 4, 2015
A warm ridge of high pressure off the Pacific Ocean may park itself over the region, delivering a burst of hot weather peaking Sunday through Tuesday and perhaps longer. Read More
Farm ManagementAg: A Promising Field For College Grads [opinion]
June 1, 2015
More jobs in agriculture are coming over the next five years, and we need enough college grads to fill those positions. Read More
Farm ManagementGreat Ag Careers Are Going Wanting [Opinion]
May 28, 2015
There are 22,500 jobs going unfilled annually for an industry that’s extremely critical to the future of mankind. Read More
CitrusEPA Announces Final Rule On New Clean Water Act’s Juris…
May 28, 2015
Landmark redefinition of “waters of the U.S.” called a land grab by opponents. Read More
CitrusPMA Comments On FDA’s Proposed FSMA Implementation Work…
May 27, 2015
In written comments submitted today to the FDA proposed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) implementation work plans (Focus on Implementation Read More
Expansion groundbreaking for Southwest Florida Research and Education Center
CitrusSouthwest Florida Research And Education Center Embraci…
May 20, 2015
A 7,000-square-foot addition to the UF/IFAS facility will house labs and offices for potential new faculty members. Read More
storm clouds
CitrusSouth Florida Rainy Season Could Wind Up On Drier Side
May 20, 2015
National Weather Service anticipating El Niño to play a hand in possible below-normal conditions. Read More
CitrusBad Weather Or Not, Preparation Always On Radar For Flo…
May 19, 2015
You cannot prevent a natural disaster from taking everything you have, but you can lessen the blow if and when it happens. Read More
Wes Roan of Lipman Produce talks with participants of FFVA's Spring Regulatory Tour.
CitrusFlorida Farming Show & Tell Earns Regulators’…
May 15, 2015
FFVA's annual Spring Regulatory Tour allows those who write regulations controlling water, crop protection chemicals, food safety, and more an opportunity to see production practices firsthand. Read More
CitrusLabor Update: The Battle To Harvest
May 13, 2015
The need for comprehensive labor and immigration reform is as critical as ever, but industry experts don’t predict any legislation will be passed in the near future. Read More