Charlotte Convention Center
501 South College Street
Charlotte, NC

December 6 - 7

2023 Draft Schedule

Scaling Collective Impact: Collaborating to Accelerate Agricultural Sustainability
Agriculture is in a unique position. On top of being the source of food, feed, fiber and fuel for billions of people, we have the potential to not only improve our own footprint but also provide solutions for some of the largest environmental and social challenges of the day. How do we transform this incredible potential into needle-shifting reality?

Many within agriculture have been working within their own supply chains to make progress, but it’s clear no single organization or sector can drive this transformation alone. Every link in the broader food and ag value chain has a critical role to play in developing and implementing solutions that support healthy ecosystems, communities and bottom lines.

 Join us for the ninth annual Sustainable Agriculture Summit, Scaling Collective Impact, as we explore how leveraging the interconnectedness embedded within U.S. agriculture can help us scale our collective action and achieve sustainable outcomes faster, more economically, and more efficiently.

*Listed in Mountain Standard Time
7:00 am
Breakfast (Networking Hall)
7:00 am
6:30 pm
Networking Hall Open
8:45 am
9:00 am
Recorded Remarks
9:15 am
The Science of Sustainability: The Impact of Research on a Sustainable Agricultural System

New technologies and  practices are emerging, seemingly daily, that aim to improve the sustainability  of U.S. agriculture. Thanks to scientific research, we as an entire  agriculture industry are able to advance our sustainability efforts in ways  previously not thought possible. This session will explore the pivotal role  research is playing in creating a more sustainable, resilient, and safe food  system, as well as the exciting innovations and emerging technologies that  are shaping the future.

9:45 am
Producer Voices – Session 1

Farmers, ranchers, producers, growers - whatever you call them, the actions they’re taking in their fields and at their farms offer huge opportunities to improve the environmental footprint of agriculture supply chains. In a series of short case study presentations, farmers from across commodity sectors will share real-world examples of the innovative ways they are addressing sustainability on their operations, before coming together to answer your questions and discuss how industry-wide collaboration could help scale similar efforts in economically viable ways on farms across the country. 

10:30 am
Networking Break & Lightning Presentation (Networking Hall)

Using Nutrients to Predict and Adjust Methane Emissions in Dairy Cattle
Presented by Cargill Animal Nutrition

11:00 am
Concurrent Breakout Sessions #1

Clearing Up Communication: How to Let Research and Innovation Speak
(Partner Sponsor: U.S. Roundtable For Sustainable Beef)
Livestock industries have continued to innovate and reduce their production footprints by implementing evidence-based practices and products. But, discussing breakthroughs in greenhouse gas reduction and continual improvements of reducing the impacts of animal sourced foods requires communication that is transparent and accurately interprets of findings to avoid accusations of greenwashing. Our panelists will delve into the complexities of sustainable livestock research and will share how to communicate data to highlight the industry's progress without stepping into greenwashing territory. They’ll offer insights on how to harness research findings as potent tools for clear and impactful  communication.

Reaching Climate Goals Through Carbon Credit Insetting In the Livestock Industry
The development of a first-of-its-kind insetting carbon credit marketplace for the livestock industry is a game-changer, helping make all aspects of sustainability — economic, environmental and social — a reality. Hear from experts across the value chain who are part of this innovative opportunity.

Breaking Ground: Centering Farmers in Regenerative Agriculture Engagement
Change is difficult, and shifting operational practices requires significant time, energy, know-how, human and financial resources, and introduces uncertainty and risk into farm businesses and farmer livelihoods. In this session, we will explore the outcomes of a groundbreaking human dimensions research project and how data-driven strategies deployed by forward-looking organizations are accelerating the adoption of sustainability practices in their supply chains. Participants will walk through a real-world planning process, gain high-level insights into a Midwestern project area, and learn what those insights mean for accelerating the adoption of conservation agriculture practices.

Expanding Crop Insurance Options That Support Water Quality Goals
Crop insurance is a key risk management strategy for farmers. In 2022, more than 420 million acres of farmland were covered by the Federal Crop Insurance Program. In this panel discussion, industry leaders and experts will delve into the connection between sustainable farming practices, reduced agricultural risk, improved environmental outcomes, and the critical role of crop insurance in scaling sustainable farming. The panel will explore innovative approaches to expand risk management tools that enable farmers to reduce risks, improve water quality, and enhance overall resilience by adopting certain conservation practices.

Innovative Approaches to Generating and Measuring Social Impact in Agricultural Supply Chains
Efforts around sustainability in agriculture are growing. Agribusinesses have increased measurement tools for regenerative agriculture and set ambitious targets; however, there is limited guidance on how the agri-food sector can ensure thriving farm communities, racial equity, and social responsibility. Freedmen Heirs Foundation and Forum for the Future provide specific guidance to how agribusinesses can ensure positive social outcomes for farm communities beyond risk mitigation and ways in which these outcomes can be measured and standardized. In this breakout session, the organizations will share how strategic partnerships can foster opportunities for scaling impact and equity within the agri-food sector.

Collaborating With the Entire Poultry and Egg Supply Chain for a Sustainable Workforce
(Partner Sponsor: U.S. Poultry & Egg Association)
Sustainability is much broader than environmental concerns. Companies increasingly find that potential employees have different shifting priorities and are working harder to implement practices and promote their image regarding sustainability, worker safety, understanding cultural differences. The poultry & egg supply chain is working together through the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry & Eggs to attract a new generation of diverse talent by working harder at understanding the needs and desires of new generations of workers with shifting sentiments about what they look for in the workplace.

12:00 pm
Lunch (Networking Hall)
1:30 pm
Concurrent Breakout Sessions #2

A Greener Future: Cultivating Soil Health for Sustainability, Profitability, and Climate Resilience
Improving farm sustainability is complex, but resiliency can be approached in small and measurable ways. The restoration of soil health and  implementing crop production practices that reduce the carbon footprint of farming operations are fundamental to long-term sustainability. This session presents practical ways to restore soil health, understand financial and environmental benefits of soil health practice changes, and explore how nutrient management decisions boost soil health and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Enhancing Biodiversity and Productivity Through Successful Collaboration
(Premier Sponsor: Corteva)
In pursuit of improved productivity and the preservation of critical habitats, public and private organizations are actively partnering with key stakeholders in the regenerative agriculture community. During the panel discussion, participants will explore how technology and partnerships are working to sustainably promote native vegetation, create ecological wildlife corridors, and restore non-productive/marginal land, all while optimizing crop productivity, grazing, and feed options for producers. A notable example includes Audubon's efforts to collaborate with landowners and livestock producers in restoring acreages to native grasses and forbs, aided by Corteva's crop protection products, which help mitigate the impact of invasive species.

Full-farm Sustainability: Stacking Goals, Metrics, and Producer Support for Ecosystem Services
Organizations across the agricultural value chain are developing commitments to multiple sustainability outcomes, like climate, water quality, and biodiversity. Tools and monitoring frameworks are increasingly available for simultaneously assessing multiple sustainability metrics and supporting producer improvements on production acres, but growers and landowners make land management decisions that influence ground beyond these acres. We will present views from brands and retailers, civil society conservation organizations, and research and academia regarding development of sustainability goals, metrics, and systems to support producers for nature-positive production on the full footprint of land decisions that they make.

Approaches to Measuring Pesticide Risks & IPM Adoption in Specialty Crops
(Partner Sponsor: Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops)
The public is increasingly interested in how their food is grown, and pesticide use in agriculture consistently ranks as one of consumer’s top concerns. Food companies across the supply chain, from major retailers to food manufacturers, are responding with different approaches to measuring and managing risks related to pesticide use in their specialty crop supply chains. This session will highlight different approaches and tools being used to measure pesticide risk across supply chains, as well as approaches to measuring adoption of Integrated Pest Management practices, which mitigate risks related to pesticide use.

Making Sense of the Sustainability Funding Alphabet Soup: Lessons Learned From Conservation Leaders
(Partner Sponsor: Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy)
Join this session for an in-depth exploration of programs that fund agricultural sustainability, from farmer-focused cost-share programs to on-farm research grants. Learn about the differences between CSC, CIG, EPA 319h, RCPP, EQIP, CSP, NFWF, and SARE. Hear from successful recipients about their projects and funding experiences. Participants will also get a sneak preview into U.S. dairy's Dairy Conservation Connect educational resources and get access to access sharable, customizable, print, and digital resources that simplify conservation funding.

Elevating the Voices of BIPOC Farmers to Help Strengthen Community & Sustainable Agriculture
Critical initiatives are underway across the Feeding America network and local food system space to develop mutually supportive relationships between food banks and local and systemically marginalized farmers. State, federal, and regional food system funders are working to invest in connecting local farms and systemically marginalized farmers to food banks and pantries. This session will showcase impactful partnerships from the Feeding America network and provide an opportunity for participants to contribute to a discussion. We will highlight the voices of BIPOC growers who are leveraging their purchasing power of the food bank network to create a more equitable food system.

2:30 pm
Networking Break (Networking Hall)
3:00 pm
Advancing Sustainability Through Collaboration: A Value Chain Case Study

Sustainability is not a one-size-fits-all approach, but rather requires tailored solutions for each system. Players across the value chain have a history of coming together to do exactly that: innovate to develop new technologies that are customized to meet producers' unique needs, identify what drives producers to adopt these technologies, incentivize adoption of these technologies, and create the infrastructure to measure and monitor progress. In this session, we will explore a case study from the beef value chain, sharing specific examples of how each player contributes to the sustainability space. Panelists will share successes and challenges and present actionable steps that can be applied across all sectors of agriculture.

3:45 pm
Collaborating to Mitigate the Environmental Impact of Feed

There is an inextricable link between the farmers and ranchers who raise the nation’s dairy, beef and poultry and the growers of specialty and row crops: feed. The way feedstuffs are produced can account for a large portion of animal agriculture’s environmental footprint, however how they are grown is often out of the livestock farmer’s hands. With limited control over the environmental impact of many feed components, how can livestock producers work with crop sectors to improve the footprint of all those involved? This session will discuss initiatives underway to further partnerships between ag sectors, progress that is being made to eliminate barriers between supply chains, and look ahead at opportunities to scale solutions to unlock environmental benefits.

4:30 pm
A Global View: Meeting Global Reporting Needs

A rapid increase in global reporting schemes, protocols, and standards requiring financial and environmental-related reporting, have left many businesses scrambling to respond to a myriad of requests. This has been a particular challenge for U.S. agriculture businesses, as the frameworks are not always reflective of agriculture’s unique position to be an environmental solution or the multiple opportunities presented by U.S. production systems. How does the U.S. ag industry address these reporting needs, and what impact do they have on how we operate today? This session will discuss key drivers of sustainability frameworks; how new expectations from these frameworks can benefit our industry, customers, and broader stakeholders; and how current challenges can be overcome.

5:30 pm
6:30 pm
Networking Reception (Networking Hall)
*Listed in Eastern Standard Time
6:30 am
1:00 pm
Networking Hall Open
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6:30 am
Breakfast (Networking Hall)
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8:00 am
Financial Innovations to Advance Sustainability in U.S. Agriculture

Agriculture’s potential to have a positive impact on climate has many companies looking to their farmer and rancher suppliers when it comes to lowering product footprints. Innovative practices and technologies exist that will help U.S. agriculture realize major gains in on-farm sustainability, however, perceived risks, long payback periods, and upfront investment requirements continue to delay adoption of these solutions. With economics at the heart of the matter for farmers, financial solutions will be as important in advancing on-farm sustainability as the practices themselves. This session will dig into a variety of innovative finance mechanisms that have been successfully utilized to address the financial barriers to practice transition, adoption, and management in the sustainable agriculture landscape.

Senior Director, Climate-Smart Agriculture – Finance & Markets, Environmental Defense Fund
Executive Director, Akiptan
Managing Director, S2G Ventures
Texas Panhandle Farmer, R&J Farms
Chief Sustainability Officer, CoBank
8:45 am
Producer Voices - Session 2

Farmers, ranchers, producers, growers - whatever you call them, the actions they’re taking in their fields and at their farms offer huge opportunities to improve the environmental footprint of agriculture supply chains. In a series of short case study presentations, farmers from across commodity sectors will share real-world examples of the innovative ways they are addressing sustainability on their operations, before coming together to answer your questions and discuss how industry-wide collaboration could help scale similar efforts on farms across the country.

Executive Editor, Agri-Pulse
Farmer, Spring Water Farm II
Virginia Poultry Farmer, Endless View Farm
North Carolina Beef Rancher, Rogers Cattle Company
9:30 am
Networking Break & Lightning Presentation (Networking Hall)

AgroStart – Cultivating Innovation Partnerships:  Seeding Success in Sustainable Agriculture
Presented by BASF

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10:00 am
Concurrent Breakout Sessions #3

Customized Approaches for Resilient Farming: Balancing Technologies
(Premier Sponsor: BASF)
An intricate balance of new & future practices is absolutely necessary to pursue resiliency in cropping systems. Meeting in the middle requires collaborations between large scale, niche production, old technologies, and new innovations. Sustainability often takes a 30,000-foot view, but solutions need specific tailoring depending upon geography, crop, and grower capabilities and comfortabilities. During this panel, we’ll leverage chemists, a carbon consultant, biodiversity specialists and BASF’s head of sustainability to discuss the importance of considering diverse sets of innovative tools while pursuing resiliency and scalability in diversified cropping systems.

Harmonizing, Simplifying and Progressing Sustainability Reporting in Dairy
By showcasing the Sustainable Dairy Partnership, participants will have the opportunity to learn how to report progress on global sustainability demands: through a harmonized approach that recognizes national programs such as the US Stewardship commitment. Participants will see the first approach towards harmonization of Carbon footprint data , through the SDP Carbon Module. The module recognizes multiple carbon measurement tools and methodologies, including FARM ES. It is meant to be used in a B2B environment to reduce the number of questionnaires and data requested through out the supply chain.

Pilot to Scale: How Policy Can Bridge the Gap From Demonstration to Landscape Scale Impact
Scaled adoption of climate-smart, nature positive agricultural practices is essential for building resilience of the agricultural landscape and of the farmers and ranchers who depend on that landscape. Scaling from pilot to landscape is proving chronically challenging. The session will feature four unique perspectives that provide insight on how policy can bridge the gap from pilot to scale. Presentations and audience-engaged discussion will highlight how policy can scale projects, collaborations, and successes for sustainable futures for agriculture and the food industry. Audience members will react to and build on the policy ideas with the goal of identifying opportunities for collaboration.

Reusable and "Green" Packaging: Food Safety and Reverse Logistics in Closed Loop Circular Systems
Rapidly evolving regulations in the EU, Canada and in some US jurisdictions are advancing adoption of  reusable and other types of "green" packaging.  However, before these novel types of packaging are adopted, food safety and reverse logistics considerations need to be addressed.  The goal of this session is to discuss cross-sectoral food safety and logistics challenges and innovative technologies to address them.  Economic and environmental considerations (e.g. labor costs, carbon footprint) associated with reusable and other forms of "green" packaging will be discussed by the panelists with the input from the audience.

The Fieldprint Platform: A Pioneering, Field-Level Sustainability Measurement Tool
(Partner Sponsor: Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture)
For over 13 years, Field to Market’s Fieldprint Platform®, a pioneering sustainability measurement tool, has been utilized by brands, retailers, suppliers, and farmers to collaboratively define, measure, and improve the environmental impacts of commodity crop production. With nearly 70 projects and over 5 million enrolled acres, the Platform is a credible tool to advance the understanding of how management decisions affect sustainability. Join us in this session as we explore the Platform, how Field to Market members are using it to achieve their sustainability goals, and our roadmap for updates in 2024.

Winning the Long Game: Strategies for Boosting Resilience and Well-Being in Sustainability
Driven by a passion for helping people and our planet, sustainability professionals often navigate challenges and provide solutions that will care for future generations. At times, change at this unprecedented scale can feel overwhelming — threatening the balance among sustainability, profitability, and resourcefulness that keeps mission-driven professionals going every day. Throughout this session, Jasmine Scott will guide panelists and the audience through a conversation about these mounting pressures and opportunities for a healthy career in sustainability. Together, we’ll explore how to equip yourself with a professional network and strategies for managing the “long game” of positive environmental and societal outcomes.

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11:15 am
Concurrent Breakout Sessions #4

Implementation at Scale: Challenges and Opportunities Scaling Regenerative Agriculture
This session will explore how a Consumer Product Goods company supports organizations implementing farmer implementation of regenerative practices on over 1 million acres, and how those organizations are dealing with growth, growing farmer opportunities with public and private programs, and tracking and reporting outcomes for Scope 3 accounting. Practical Farmers of Iowa, Precision Conservation Management and the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund will share challenges and opportunities working with farmers while balancing the emerging guidelines of Scope 3 accounting.

Blockchain as a Mechanism to Enhance Sustainability Efforts Across the Value Chain
As the livestock industry seeks to demonstrate sustainability and climate progress, being able to credibly measure and track the performance and continuous improvement of one’s supply chain is a major challenge. Traceability goes hand in hand with sustainability to provide an accurate, aggregated and transparent view of the supply chain so that processors and brand owners can confidently market more sustainable and lower impact foods. This panel features leaders from across the beef value chain who will share their perspective on where we are today and paint a picture of what tomorrow might look like for the U.S. livestock industry.

Cross-Sector Collaboration to Reduce Food Loss on the Farm
Food loss starts on the farm - but it's frequently due to decisions from other sectors that are outside of growers' control. This session will highlight the impact and opportunity that reducing food loss and waste offers - for the environment, economy, and communities facing food insecurity - and dig into the specific challenges facing growers who are trying to maximize their profits. We'll share insights from additional sectors about the pressures they are facing and how that can translate into practices that negatively impact farms. And we'll explore how collaboration across sectors to implement solutions can benefit us all.

Climate Smart Agriculture: Talk the Talk and Walk the Walk
This breakout session aims to introduce and discuss a comprehensive report on agricultural sustainability and the research agenda required to achieve net negative greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in agriculture. We will bring together two esteemed scientists and two experienced farmers to share their insights and engage in a conversation about the report's key findings. Additionally, we will actively involve the audience to ensure a participatory and inclusive discussion.

Sustainable Agriculture: Sustaining Legal Challenges
This session addresses the opportunities and potential legal challenges associated with sustainability and Environmental Social Governance (“ESG”) claims and programs and discusses how food & ag companies can quantify ESG metrics to maximize their ESG credentials while minimizing litigation risk. This session will also introduce the stakeholder drivers behind and regulatory framework for ESG-related efforts, review recent regulatory activity related to ESG reporting requirements, and discuss market opportunities to capitalize on ESG, all through the lens of reducing potential legal risks to allow companies to make the most of their sustainability efforts.

Passion for Action: What the Next Generation of Leaders Brings to Sustainability
(Partner Sponsor: Agriculture Future of America / MANRRS [Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences])
Younger generations are often at the forefront of the climate debate and are passionate about caring for their environment. Compared with senior generations, Gen Z-ers and younger Millennials are talking more about the need for action, and are getting more involved with sustainability initiatives. Today's students feel driven to make an impact, and need those who have come before them to function as colleagues and mentors. Learn from a panel of collegiate students about their perspectives on sustainable agriculture and what role they believe they play within it, as well as the interactions and support they want from you.

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12:15 pm
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1:30 pm
Closing Keynote - Leading the Agility Shift

U.S. agriculture has incredible potential to make a difference on some of the largest environmental and social challenges of the day, but a “business as usual” approach won’t help us achieve this needle-shifting reality we’re seeking. Leadership Agility Expert Pamela Meyer will show attendees they can thrive in the midst of uncertainty and change through inspiring examples, engaging discovery experiences and opportunities to put key concepts into practice. You’ll leave the Summit with ideas and specific approaches that will not only enhance your individual, team and organizational agility, but also support U.S. agriculture as we scale our collective action to achieve sustainable outcomes faster, more economically, and more efficiently.

Leadership Agility Expert, Author and President, Meyer Agile Innovation, Inc.
2:30 pm
Closing Remarks
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