Farm Foundation® Forum Discussed the Current State of Environmental Impact Measurement in Agriculture

The July 2022 Farm Foundation Forum panel took audience questions on a variety of topics pertaining to environmental impact measurement.

The July 2022 Farm Foundation Forum included Dr. Dorn Cox, research director at Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture & the Environment and project lead for OpenTEAM; Michele Demers, founder and CEO of Boundless Impact Research & Analytics; Fernanda Avila Swinburn, senior research analyst with Boundless Impact Research & Analytics; Keith Pitts, chief sustainability officer and SVP of regulatory and government affairs at Marrone Bio Innovations; and Kate Zook, senior program analyst at the USDA Office of the Chief Economist Office of Energy and Environmental Policy. The Forum was moderated by Bruce Knight, principal and founder of Strategic Conservation Solutions.

Customer Demand for Environmental Reporting: A Look at Environmental Impact Measurement discussed the growing consumer demand for environmental impact reporting. Topics covered what customers are looking for, what actions companies are taking, and how the measurements are being validated. During the Forum we heard about companies’ efforts to provide their customers with evidence-based research on the environmental, climate, and human health impacts of their products. This Forum took place via Zoom on Tuesday, July 19, 2002, at 9:00 a.m. CT.

Stories move people, but numbers move markets.

Dr. Dorn Cox, Wolfe’s neck center for agriculture & the environment/OPENTEAM

USDA’s Kate Zook kicked off the conversation, discussing what USDA is doing to measure the impact of investments on greenhouse gas reduction strategies, and the current status of agricultural carbon markets, among other topics. She mentioned the USDA is in the process of updating its “Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Agriculture and Forestry” publication, with the new edition to be available in 2023.

Keith Pitts with Marrone Bio Innovations explained the path that led his company to creating robust life cycle analysis documents for their products, leveraging the experts at Impact Research & Analytics for that work. In addition to using the analyses as marketing tools and to provide to existing customers, Pitts said the data helped the company to make decisions to improve their operations.  

Dr. Dorn Cox wrapped up the conversation, talking about OpenTEAM’s work towards improving data interoperability and access. He discussed how it is possible to leverage data that might already be gathered for other purposes to create a more nuanced and full picture in the realm of agriculture to promote market innovation and transparency. “Stories about this move people but numbers move markets,” he said.

The full recording, including the robust audience question and answer session, and slide deck are available.

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