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Barriers and Opportunities in Sustainability Data Collection Throughout Pork Supply Chain

Amid the new focus on regenerative practices in U.S. agriculture and the unprecedented investments in climate-smart commodities, Farm Journal’s Trust In Food and The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) are partnering to gather insights into the vital role data collection and sharing plays in measuring sustainability in the pork supply chain.  
 
The partnership recently released its report, “Farmer Perspectives on Data 2023: Barriers and Opportunities to More Robust Feed Sustainability Data in U.S. Pork Supply Chains,” which is the latest in a series of reports that examine how farmers are capturing, using and sharing data in their operations and in the downstream value chain.  
 
“We know that data is the key to unlocking climate-smart economic opportunity for America’s producers,” said Amy Skoczlas Cole, president of Trust In Food. “For three years, we’ve worked to understand how to help more U.S. farmers unlock the market potential of data — especially the data about production practices that food companies and consumers seek. This latest installment of our partnership with The Sustainability Consortium revealed a surprising truth, which is that the ag value chain itself is driving demand for more farm-level data. This starts to illuminate a powerful opportunity for building trust and speed in data sharing, farmer to farmer, even before an upstream consumer company asks for it.” 

The study found that while most pork and row crop producers are collecting valuable on-farm data, the methods of that data collection and the data points collected vary substantially. Both row crop farmers and swine producers have farm-level data and are willing to share when concerns over data privacy, trust, fair compensation and other factors have been addressed. Yet pork brand and retail customers are not asking for it. This perceived lack of demand is a key reason farmers are not capturing additional data. 

"The study reveals that data is the key to unlocking climate-smart economic opportunities for U.S. producers,” said Christy Slay, CEO of The Sustainability Consortium. “Understanding the barriers and potential solutions in this process is essential for paving the way for more effective data sharing among farmers, creating a foundation for sustainable agriculture practices and positive change within the industry."

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