Farmers for a Sustainable Future

ASA, along with other agricultural organizations, is active in Farmers for a Sustainable Future and was a founding member of the group. Building upon the strong foundation of voluntary stewardship investments and practices –including those in the Farm Bill – the members of FSF aim to work with policy makers to further advance the successful sustainable practices used by U.S. agricultural producers.


The FSF website, FSF factsheet, and FSF principles highlight the contributions that agriculture –including soy farmers – has already made and ways that we will continue to make progress for the long term. Farmers have embraced technologies that reduce emissions and increase efficiency. And, farmers and ranchers are stewards of the land by promoting soil health, conserving water, enhancing wildlife, efficiently using nutrients, caring for their animals and other measures.

Sustainable soil use and resource conservation efforts have increased 34 million acres – or more than 17% – since 2012. U.S. farmers are proactively managing and preserving their soil by planting more cover crops, using more conservation tillage, and using more no-till methods. These practices help to conserve soil, preserve and increase nutrients, and improve water quality. And, these practices trap excess carbon in the soil and reduce GHG emissions.

Did you know?  U.S. farms are producing more food, feed, and fiber without using additional resources, helping to save water and soil, enhance biodiversity and conserve energy.

  • While farm inputs have remained basically stagnant since 1948, total farm outputs have grown more than 270%
  • U.S. agriculture accounts for less than 10% of total U.S. emissions – far less than transportation, electricity generation and industry sectors. Non-ag sectors in the U.S. make up 91% of the nation’s total GHG output, to agriculture’s 9% emissions.
  • Because of their conservation efforts and technology improvements, U.S. farmers and ranchers have a lower GHG contribution than other farmers around the world: Domestic farms make up 9% of U.S. total GHG emissions whereas internationally, the agriculture sector make up 24% of global emissions.
  • Despite getting a bad rap recently, beef and dairy cattle make up less than 3% of U.S. GHG emissions combined.

It’s a fact! Farmers continue to produce more with greater efficiency. U.S. agriculture would have needed nearly 100 million more acres in 1990 to match 2018 production levels.

  • For soybeans, 2018 production required 33% fewer acres than 1990 for the same production: That is a 42 million-acre drop.
  • U.S. farmers and ranchers are adopting and investing in renewable and clean energy sources. In the last five years, farmers and ranchers have put in 132% more renewable energy sources including geothermal, solar panels, windmills, hydro systems and methane digesters. More than 130,000 operations employ renewable energy sources in the U.S.
  • The use of ethanol and biodiesel (made from soybean oil!) in 2018 reduced GHG emissions by 71 MMT– equivalent to 17 million cars off the road.*
  • At least 15% of all farmland is used for documented conservation and wildlife habitat efforts – that’s >140 million acres enrolled in USDA conservation programs alone – and not counting voluntary or state-led conservation practices. That acreage equals the land mass of the giant states New York and California combined.
  • Ag innovation reduces the GHG footprint for both crops and livestock, as seen here.

Sources for all statistics in this section are available on the FSF fact sheet link.