Need for the M2M Program
With increasing frequency, farmers and the food industry are being asked to quantify the impacts of their operations on food quality, food safety, and the environment. New organizations have been formed to blaze a trail toward sustainability, such as the Sustainable Food Trade Association and the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops (SISC).
“Sustainability” has evolved from an often-misunderstood buzzword to a widely accepted and high-priority attribute for farmers and food companies, both large and small.
A growing array of sustainability metrics and ecolabel programs are working to differentiate products and brands according to adherence to sets of performance standards governing what can be used in farm production, the factors shaping farming system design and management, animal care and husbandry, and how food is manufactured, handled, stored, and moved along value chains.
Washington State farmers and food businesses are juggling local efforts to promote sustainability and food quality with those from customers and consumers across the nation and around the world. The proliferation of third party certification requirements, with their sometimes-conflicting standards, can be a major drain on management time and resources. Industry leaders have asked CSANR to help –
- Harmonize overlapping standards,
- Assure they are science-based and will bring about positive change cost-effectively, and
- Streamline and standardize the collection of information required to document adherence to performance standards.
Accordingly, the CSANR Measure to Manage Program (M2M) will work in unison with farmers, technology providers, food companies, retailers, ecolabel programs, and government agencies toward a coherent set of performance goals and metrics, coupled with specification of a common, farm or plant-level dataset sufficient to calculate all, or most, performance parameters.
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