Certifying Acres – A Pilot Study for Sustainability
Certifying Acres – A Pilot Study for Sustainability

Location:  HUC-12 Watershed in Iowa
Client:  Confidential

Background

Many agribusinesses—including food producers and food companies—are increasingly driven to undertake stewardship efforts and report to consumers on their plans for increased sustainability. This need is also creating new challenges for companies to quantify various metrics and certify acres for that ‘sustainability’ stamp. 

The Project

In 2017, HEI began a pilot project with confidential clients to explore the value of stewardship efforts and establish a reliable set of metrics. The project studied acres of farmland, measuring the water quality effects of tillage management practices at a field scale and small watershed scale. Our group collaborated on a draft list of metrics, solidifying the methods used to assess effects on water quality.

Using these metrics, HEI performed a water quality analysis using the Prioritize, Target, and Measure Application (PTMApp). HEI collected necessary information and data, with additional input from project partners on local knowledge ranging from farm management practices to structural conservation practices. HEI’s analysis in PTMApp provided detailed information necessary to set goals for continued progress. This will help the project partners determine what additional efforts need to be made to certify the desired number of acres as meeting water quality stewardship metrics. 

HEI’s PTMApp analysis will also provide a detailed listing of locations where potential practices will have the most impact in reaching the stewardship goal. Our team can help quantify the water quality improvements that will result from implementing specific practices, allowing our client to forecast the level of effort to reach sustainability goals.

Providing companies with the technical information needed to back sustainability claims, HEI is empowering clients to build their brands for a strong future. Strong brands can be built from a strong backbone of technical information and certification.