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Have you ever wondered, how is farming sustainable?  This was a question that was posed to me while attending the “Sustainable Brands Conference” in Detroit, Michigan, May 24-25, 2017.  It’s a question I can appreciate at this type of conference.  The attendees were all engaged and interested in sustainability, whether it be through efficient packaging, recycling or in the food they eat.

While working in the USB Booth I faced a challenger in the Soy Smarts Game Challenge.

The opportunity to talk to consumers, whose jobs also happen to involve sustainability, made it a great place to talk to influencers about the sustainability of our farms and ranches!  Sustainability is more than reusing a bath towel at a hotel or sorting your recyclables from your trash.  As a farmer, it’s all about making sure we do what is best for the land, water and livestock we care for, while maintaining profitability so that the farm will continue, hopefully, onto the next generation.

Raising farm animals humanely was a hot topic.  We described our animal care practices and discussed how we serve as midwives for our cows, as needed, which really resonated with our city cousins.  The fact that we check our cows multiple times a day during calving and have a veterinarian and nutritionist on our farm team opened doors to discussions about the teamwork it takes to raise livestock in a humane way.

Visitors to the Sustainable Brands Conference enjoy a virtual reality field trip to a pig farm at the USFRA booth.

USFRA Chair, Brad Greenway and I gave a presentation about animal agriculture.

How are we environmentally sustainable on the farm?  This was a great time to talk about how precision agriculture helps us determine  down to the inch  what we put onto our crops and into the soil to make the most pristine growing environment possible for current and future crops.  Farmers’ use of technology to soil test and then follow through with prescription planting and irrigation was another highlight for our friends who had a large interest in how to better care for the environment.  Many of the visitors to our booth were excited to hear that all types of agriculture utilize technology to increase sustainability and efficiency every day.

Commonground Volunteers from around the country joined forces to share the story of agriculture at the Sustainable Brands Conference.

Considering the “Sustainability Brands Conference” didn’t have a lot of farmers outside of the United Soybean Board and U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance farmers, it was quite an event to have one-on-one, in-depth discussions about how farmers work to be sustainable daily.  In summary, this was a chance to have quality conversations with our consumers and the brand leaders that develop and process the food and goods that we consume everyday.  The story of “Making Food Happen” was certainly shared with people from across the world in Detroit.

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