In what they are calling a “first-of-its-kind partnership,” the Environmental Defense Fund and the National Corn Growers Association are joining forces to help farmers and rural communities meet the pressing challenge of protecting the environment while maximizing productivity and profit.

In a joint release, EDF and NGCA say the partnership will elevate the importance of continuous improvements for water quality and climate resilience, while strengthening yields and profitability.

“Many practices that increase soil health and water quality also boost farmers’ bottom lines,” said Suzy Friedman, EDF’s senior director of agricultural sustainability. “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.”

Nathan Fields, vice president of production and sustainability at NCGA, agreed. “EDF and NCGA are stronger together,” he said in the release. “We have different expertise and perspectives, and combining them is a real opportunity.”

The two groups say they plan to prioritize their efforts in the following areas:

  Data and measurement to improve tracking of water quality, soil health and greenhouse gas emissions, and scale user-friendly technology solutions for data reporting and analysis.

  On-farm engagement to increase farmer and agronomist knowledge about innovative conservation tools and practices.

  Policy advocacy to support voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs with measurable environmental outcomes.

  Finance and economics to explore and grow opportunities for farmers to benefit economically from conservation practices such as cover crops and conservation tillage.

  Outreach and communications to build bridges between farmers and consumers.

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Rod Snyder, president of Field to Market, welcomed the collaboration.

“Achieving supply chain sustainability goals requires close collaboration throughout the value chain,” he said. “This partnership between EDF and NCGA promises to be a powerful way to help translate corporate sustainability commitments into on-farm conservation that works for farmers and the environment.”

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