Corn Growers, Environmental Group Forge Formal Partnership

The Environmental Defense Fund’s new collaboration with the National Corn Growers Association will aim to make the case to farmers and the public at large that sustainable practices can be both environmentally friendly and good for the bottom line.

The National Corn Growers Association (NCGA) has a new partner, and that partner is particularly eco-friendly.

This week, the agricultural group announced a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), with the goal of improving outcomes for growers of the commodity crop, particularly when it comes to protecting the natural resources used to grow all that corn.

The partnership will include a mixture of policy, outreach, and data measurement tools. The groups will aim to sell these ideas to both farmers and the public at large, making the case for both the financial benefits for farmers and the potential for better environmental outcomes.

Suzy Friedman, EDF’s senior director of agricultural sustainability, noted that the two groups have already collaborated for years—but the new partnership takes things much deeper.

“Many practices that increase soil health and water quality also boost farmers’ bottom lines,” Friedman explained in a news release. “EDF and NCGA have worked together for many years to align economic incentives and environmental outcomes. Formalizing our partnership was a natural next step to accelerate progress toward our shared goals.”

EDF has put much effort into selling the concepts of sustainability to farmers in recent years, with the group’s scientists assisting farmers in the field on an approach called precision agriculture. It’s goal is to help to minimize fertilizer loss, which can be costly for both farmers and the environment.

NCGA spoke favorably about the willingness of EDF to collaborate with the agriculture industry at large. In a statement, NCGA Corn Board member Brandon Hunnicutt said that, as a result, there was much potential for growth within the partnership.

“Farming is a tough business with tight margins. Stewardship has always been a way of life for us, but we also have to stay profitable and productive,” he explained in the release. “EDF was the first environmental group to reach out to farmers and listen to our perspectives. I’m excited to see what EDF and NCGA can accomplish together.”

(Martina Sliger/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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