Over the last decade companies and organizations have weaponized food labels as a way to disparage modern agriculture. Organic. Non-GMO. All Natural. No Added Hormones. Antibiotic free. But there’s no reason why agriculture can’t use the same tactic in its favor.
The U.S. Soybean Board has decided to take that approach. It partnered with Soylent and DuPont Nutrition and Biosciences to launch the Sustainably Grown U.S. Soy label. The label, currently in a pilot phase, helps consumers know that farmers utilized sustainable practices.
What are those production methods? Unlike other labels, this one stands for things that actually make a difference. U.S. growers utilize tools, like no-till and cover crops, that support water management, soil conservation, and carbon sequestration. The label will denote soy ingredients that:
- Were grown in the United States
- Are compliant with all U.S. environmental regulations
- Protect highly erodible soils and wetlands
- Were grown on family farms with responsible labor practices
It’s really such a great idea. These tactics have been used against us. But it doesn’t mean we can’t turn that story around. It reminds me of the USDA’s bioengineered labels. Far from being a skull and cross bones, it’s reflects the sustainability and potential of those crops.
U.S. agriculture is the story of sustainability. And consumers deserve to know that. If the pilot phase goes well, hopefully we’ll see the Sustainably Grown U.S. Soy label go mainstream.