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Soybean Research

National Sustainable Soybean Initiative (NSSI)

What is the NSSI?

NSSI's mission is to develop a roadmap of soybean management systems that will help producers to achieve verifiable sustainability outcomes, improve the environmental services and productivity of their farms, help their rural communities thrive, and satisfy performance expectations of the value chain. These efforts will operate at the farm level; incorporate a framework of tools and technical information from a wide base of expertise and programs; and, with the support of regional and national experts, communicate sustainable soybean management systems.

To learn more about NSSI, view brochure.

Why is the NSSI necessary?

NSSI is producer-driven. This bottom-up approach allows producers to be at the table in designing sustainability assessments that are regionally- and soybean-appropriate, scaled to cause change at the field level, founded on the best available science, and balanced among the social, environmental and economic sustainability pillars. The alternative—those outside agriculture determining producers’ fate—isn’t appropriate or sustainable itself.

NSSI is complementary to other sustainability programs and not redundant. The assessment-based approach implemented by NSSI will cover the gaps that currently exist in outcome-based programs. Several of these gaps exist because outcomes are difficult, expensive, or invasive to quantify. The combination of assessment- and outcome-based data will create a holistic sustainability message.

NSSI efforts will streamline sustainability efforts with customer expectations. This approach will reduce redundant requests for sustainability metrics and provide a balanced way forward that includes producers in the developmental stage, thus ensuring that the process is not overly cumbersome. The request for such information continues to grow despite down economies, suggesting a resilient and long-term commitment by customers to developing such programs.

NSSI will result in a communications conduit to customers and the general public. Industrial sustainability efforts have successfully focused on communicating improvements over time. Agriculture has yet to develop such a plan or communicate the gains already achieved by producers in typical sustainability parameters. The assessment-based approach, combined with appropriate outcome-based programs and a solid communications effort, will deliver a message of long-term commitment to sustainability by agricultural communities.

To participate please fill out the Whole Farm Assessment and Soybean Assessment Questionnaires.