Building Trust in the Food Supply

Published online: Oct 15, 2020 Articles Lynn Grooms
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Source: Syngenta

One of the most important lessons the COVID-19 pandemic taught us is that people seek sources they can trust. They want and expect to have confidence in the health care system and their food supply. Another lesson from the pandemic is the importance of coordinated efforts between organizations — and transparency when it comes to sharing those efforts with the public.

Putting such lessons into practice confirms the aim of America’s Conservation Ag Movement, a public-private partnership between Farm Journal’s Trust In Food initiative, the Farm Journal Foundation, agribusinesses, food companies, conservation nonprofits, farmer associations and USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. This movement, which officially began in July 2019, helps farmers expand profitable conservation practices across the U.S. and communicates those efforts and successes to the public.

Syngenta joined America’s Conservation Ag Movement to further sustainable agriculture and help growers scale up conservation practices.

“The long-term commitment of Syngenta to farmer-led conservation and sustainability efforts is at the core of our company’s mission and values,” says Vern Hawkins, regional director of Syngenta, North America. “This partnership reinforces and strengthens our commitment to helping farmers deploy new practices that improve our agricultural environment.”

Growers participating in the Syngenta Sustainable Solutions program use the same whole-farm management software used in AgriEdge® to monitor and record farm operations and better assess profitability and sustainability. “This computer software enables growers to document their conservation efforts and the positive outcomes that result,” says Liz Hunt, account manager for Sustainable Solutions at Syngenta. It’s a function particularly important to growers whose downstream food chain partners require documentation that demonstrates sustainable crop production.

As America’s Conservation Ag Movement grows, the partners have publicly shared information about efforts to produce food sustainably and conserve natural resources, says Mitch Rouda, president of Farm Journal’s Trust In Food initiative.

One way the movement is bringing this information to the public is through a new agricultural garden on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. A wide variety of field and specialty crops are on display, and visitors can learn about modern agricultural practices through a guided app-based tour called “U.S. Agriculture Through the Voice of the Farmer” — a series of short videos featuring farmers explaining the conservation practices and precision agriculture tools they use and why.

This summer, when COVID-19 physical-distancing guidelines in our nation’s capital permit it, the agricultural-garden exhibit will again open to the public. It will feature Syngenta Seeds technology and plants from Syngenta Flowers. In the meantime, America’s Conservation Ag Movement offers a virtual tour of the exhibit at www.fjfgarden.org and plans to post updates about this year’s agricultural garden on the site.

“There also will be opportunities to take the curriculum to other locations in Washington and across the U.S., and to provide virtual experiences,” Rouda says. “We’ll do consumer outreach with educational materials that are short, fun and authentic.”

Farm Journal’s “AgDay” TV and “AgriTalk” radio programs will also feature farmers’ conservation efforts. Additionally, the movement’s partners will share conservation-farming updates on social media. To stay up to date on the latest news from Trust In Food, like and follow it on social media at FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter.

Hunt adds, “The COVID-19 outbreak has only reinforced what we in agriculture already knew: We must proactively communicate with the public about how farmers and their ag partners are ensuring a safe, sustainable food supply.”