Submitted by Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture
November 29, 2023 /CSRwire/ - Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture® announced today a request for public comment on a proposed revision to the Biodiversity Metric in the Fieldprint Platform®. The proposed Wildlife and Landscape Diversity (WILD) Index seeks to replace the Habitat Potential Index (HPI). By replacing HPI with the WILD Index, Field to Market’s Biodiversity Metric will enhance how we characterize the contribution of within-field and edge-of-field management, the landscape in which farms exist, and the critical need for more Integrated Pest Management practices to protect beneficial organisms.
If approved, the revised Biodiversity Metric will be accessed through the Fieldprint Platform’s online calculator or associated farm management software that integrates Field to Market’s sustainability metrics and algorithms. This metric is one of eight sustainability indicators included in Field to Market’s science-based, outcomes-driven, and pre-competitive measurement framework, which farmers and the value chain utilize to assess the sustainability performance of commodity crops and identify opportunities for continuous improvement.
Summary of Proposed Revision to the Biodiversity Metric
The Biodiversity Metric is currently measured using the Habitat Potential Index, a custom set of algorithms with a qualitative scoring system commissioned by Field to Market in 2013 and adopted as a metric shortly after. Over the years, users expressed the need to expand and enhance the information captured by the metric. Moreover, in 2020, a pest management subgroup within the Metrics Committee was created. The Metrics Committee is an elected, multi-stakeholder governance body comprised of equal representation from Field to Market’s grower, agribusiness, brands and retail, civil society, and affiliate (public sector and academia) membership sectors. The sub-group recommended adopting a more comprehensive set of questions to capture Integrated Pest Management practices. Although the proposed WILD Index is still a qualitative proxy measure of biodiversity, we believe the data captured by the new Index will better meet member needs.
Over the last year and a half, Field to Market has explored alternative approaches to assessing biodiversity from individual farm fields without conducting on-site biodiversity inventories, which are not scalable or feasible with current technology. In consultation with the Metrics Committee and expert reviewers, we have developed a framework that more comprehensively captures the significant drivers of terrestrial biodiversity identified by scientific literature.
The WILD Index consists of the following:
Field to Market recognizes that a quantitative measure of biodiversity would be superior to a proxy, qualitative Biodiversity Metric. However, no approaches that are scalable, time-efficient, acceptable by growers, and well-documented by scientific literature were found during our exploration. As the science and technology to document biodiversity progresses, Field to Market remains committed to transitioning to a quantitative metric, and we will review developments as they occur.
Process and Timeline
As an ISEAL subscriber, any changes to Field to Market’s metric calculations undergo a multi-step review process, followed by a public comment period, before implementation in the Fieldprint Platform.
The proposed revision to replace the qualitative index within the Biodiversity Metric was approved on May 17, 2023, by Field to Market’s Metrics Committee. This proposed revision is now open for public comment through January 15, 2024. Following this public comment period, the proposed revision and synthesis of public comments received will be presented to Field to Market’s Board of Directors to seek approval to implement within the Fieldprint Platform. The tentative timeline for implementing the new metric into the Fieldprint Platform is June 2024. Additional time will be needed for Qualified Data Management Partners to transition to the latest updates.
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ABOUT FIELD TO MARKET
Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture® brings together a diverse group of grower organizations; agribusinesses; food, feed, beverage, restaurant, and retail companies; conservation groups; universities and public sector partners to focus on defining, measuring, and advancing the sustainability of food, feed, fiber, and fuel production. Field to Market comprises of around 200 members representing all facets of the U.S. agricultural supply chain, with members employing more than 5 million people and representing combined revenues totaling over $1.5 trillion. Learn more at https://fieldtomarket.org.
Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture™ is a leading multi-stakeholder initiative working to unite the agricultural supply chain in defining, measuring and advancing the sustainability of food, feed, fiber and fuel production in the United States. We bring together a diverse group of grower organizations; agribusinesses; food, beverage, restaurant and retail companies; conservation groups; universities; and public sector partners to create opportunities across the agricultural supply chain for continuous improvements in productivity, environmental quality, and human well-being. With the world population estimated to exceed 9 billion by 2050, the entire agricultural value chain must work together to efficiently and responsibly lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future. From the farm gate to the retail and restaurant counter, the challenge of producing enough food, feed, fiber and fuel for a rapidly growing population, while conserving our planet’s natural resources has become increasingly complex. The nature of this challenge requires an unparalleled level of transparency and collaboration. By uniting the agricultural supply chain and key stakeholders around a common measurement framework, Field to Market seeks to drive continuous improvement in the sustainability of commodity crop production.