Drover's News

Third Sustainable Ag Summit Happens Nov. 15-16 In Kansas City

More than 500 people from across the food supply chain will convene Nov. 15-16 in Kansas City for ongoing conversations about achieving and scaling sustainable production practices.

Now in its third year, the Sustainable Agriculture Summit is jointly hosted by Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Also partnering on the event are the National Pork Board, the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association, and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

“Our joint vision for the summit is to strengthen the supply chain network of producers, agribusinesses, retailers and influencers who drive continuous improvement in agricultural sustainability and deliver food, fiber and fuel to a growing world,” says Betsy Hickman, vice president at Field to Market. “Each partner organization brings together unique players across their value chain to share perspectives of how sustainability solutions are being realized on farms across the country and how downstream companies are engaging with their supply chains to advance sustainable outcomes for agriculture.”

News coverage from the event will be available throughout the week to readers of AgWeb.com, and viewers of “AgDay” and “U.S. Farm Report” TV programs and listeners of “AgriTalk” radio will receive news coverage from throughout the event. Parent company Farm Journal Media is media partner for the Summit, and Chief Content Officer Charlene Finck, former editor of Farm Journal magazine, will emcee the event.

“Building trust and confidence in food and agriculture starts with increasing visibility into how our food, fiber and fuel is produced,” Hickman says. “While not every producer can find time away from the farm, we hope the case studies and lessons learned explored at the Summit will help inform each producer’s sustainability journey.”

The sold-out event began in 2015 and convened Field to Market and Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy members, representing more than 200 companies, government agencies, academics, conservation groups and producers.

“We want to make sure we are talking to and providing a platform for farmers to demonstrate their innovation and commitment to sustainability,” says Karen Scanlon, vice president of sustainability partnerships at the Innovation Center. “We have farmers on stage sharing their stories, and we provide opportunities for farmers to engage with other sectors of the supply chain.”

Collaboration is especially important in light of a growing world population, the increasing complexity of the supply chain and consumer questions about where food comes from, Hickman says.

“It is essential that we work together to pursue joint solutions to pressing challenges facing agriculture, the environment and society at large,” she says. “The Summit offers a unique opportunity for the beef, commodity crop, dairy, pork, poultry and specialty crop sectors of U.S. agriculture to engage in a constructive dialogue with all stakeholders.”

A variety of sessions will cover numerous topics within sustainability, including:

  • On the afternoon of the first day, producers including those in dairy, poultry, pork, beef and row crops will share best practices on stage and discuss how to scale those practices across the ag community
  • Another will spotlight the changing identities of food and culture, touching on how to balance the need to meet consumer demands while producing safe and nutritious food accessible to all communities
  • The first panel of the Summit, moderated by Finck, will feature executives from across the supply chain including Dairy Farmers of America, Mars Petcare and Campbell’s Soup Company talking about how companies set sustainability goals and measure against them.

The event will help attendees hear from an array of key players within the agriculture and food industry—and farmers are an important part of that conversation, Scanlon points out.

“I always learn the most from talking to farmers and learning about their specific operations,” she says, “learning more about what it’s like to be a farmer, how they make their decisions, how they set their priorities and how they respond to all that’s asked of them.” 


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