Supply Chain

Female checking food labeling in supermarket.

In addition to saving farmers money by optimizing fertilizer use, the Adapt-N tool can also be an important step in helping the entire food and agriculture supply chain to demonstrate progress on key sustainability metrics – like GHG emissions and water quality.

Currently, there are a number of efforts underway by the food retail and processor sectors to assess their sustainability – and get their businesses ready to manage an increased amount of risk stemming from the following equation:

3 billion more people + fewer resources + expanded buying power of developing countries + climate change = greater potential for higher volatility, costs and supply chain disruption

The concern that many in the ag producer sector have about these efforts is that they will fail to accurately reflect the vast diversity between two fields, let alone different states, regions and crops.  Still, because of the powerful drivers described by the equation above, the supply chain is determined to assess and manage these higher risks by first knowing much more about how things are grown.

One way to make this process less painful, less costly, and more accurate, would be for farmers to use tools like Adapt-N that help farmers make site specific management decisions to improve efficiency, and use that same data to meet supply chain demands. This does not mean turning over individual data to retailers and others. Instead, data generated by use of tools like Adapt-N can be aggregated to show participation and performance across a sourcing area or group of farmers. This way, food companies get the sustainability information they seek, confidentiality of individual farmer data is protected, and farmers get access to a tool that enables them to save money and reduce fertilizer loss while maintaining or improving yields.

The end result is one that benefits both ends of the supply chain – downstream companies get a good picture of the risks that are being mitigated, while farmers upstream avoid burdensome and inaccurate checklists.

The alternative approaches to using and reporting outcomes would be to impose a set of best management practices.  As you know, what works as a best practice for one part of the country, may actually be counterproductive for another region.

Wouldn’t it be better to use a tool that saves you money, makes your farm more efficient and helps create a positive case for your farm on future water quality regulations – as the means for supply chain assessments on sustainability?

To be clear, Adapt-N itself does not report your individual data, or that of any other farmers.  A decision to report your data would likely come later and in the form of a survey from this website or other sources – and is a decision farmers can make at a later date.  The point is that farmers who use Adapt-N could also be getting themselves ready for a new supply chain demand: sustainability information – in a way that may help avoid the creation of a more burdensome and costly assessment approach.

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