What does the Fieldprint self-assessment evaluate? How do I know this is not just marketing hype?
Field To Market is an industry 503(c)3 organization which brings together a diverse group of grower organizations; agribusinesses; food, fiber, restaurant and retail companies; conservation groups; universities and agency partners to focus on promoting, defining and measuring the sustainability of food, fiber and fuel production.
The Field to Market organization uses the Fieldprint Calculator, which is a free and confidential tool developed for corn, cotton, rice, wheat, potatoes and soybean growers. It allows growers to better understand and communicate how management choices affect overall sustainability performance and operational efficiency.
The Fieldprint Calculator is simple to use, though the technology behind it is very complex. The Calculator uses datasets and methodologies developed by multiple sources, including the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture.
The Calculator estimates field level performance on the following sustainability indicators:
- Land Use
- Soil Carbon
- Irrigation Water Use
- Water Quality
- Energy Use
- Greenhouse Gas Emissions
For more on Field to Market or the Fieldprint Calculator see www.fieldtomarket.org
Is pesticide use included in the fieldprint?
No, but our e3 farmers are encouraged to utilize Integrated Pest management practices and economic thresholds for application. Precision application and variable rate technology is also promoted.
The issue globally of child labor is a big one in cotton. How do we know that your global seed suppliers are not using children to emasculate the flowers by hand?
Our stance on child labor is unequivocal. We will not employ children, nor will we accept our suppliers doing so. At Bayer CropScience, we follow a strict zero tolerance to child labor policy.
It is also important to note that only hybrid cotton is emasculated for cotton seed production and this cotton only exists in India. Cotton in the rest of the world is non-hybrid, open pollinated cotton and therefore does not need emasculation for cotton seed production.
We encourage farmers in India to hire adult labourers and train them for emasculation as part of our very successful child care or CCP program. This program ensures regular field monitoring, complete with unannounced checks, training and awareness building for farmers to ensure they do not use child labourers. Our CCP activities are frequently monitored by independent organizations and the results are published.
Agricultural development is two to four times more effective at reducing hunger and poverty than any other sector, and that development benefits everyone: when farmers have more income, they can send their children to school, invest more in their farms, and produce more nutritious food for the whole society. Across India, our projects help farmers raise productivity to improve their livelihood.
In India, our Learning for Life initiative covers everything from reintegrating children into the regular school system to vocational training measures. Together with the Naandi Foundation, we run daycare centers for pre-schoolers and offer special assistance to weaker school students to stop them breaking off their education. We also work with local non-governmental organizations and school authorities to offer vocational classes and enhance the appeal of attending school.
At the Bayer-Ramanaidu Vignana Jyothi School of Agriculture in Hyderabad, we train young people aged above 15 years as farm assistants in half year full day courses.
More than 3,400 students have already benefited in some way from the Learning for Life initiative.
For more about Bayer’s Learning for Life Initiative and its commitment to its zero tolerance child labor policy, click here: http://www.cropscience.bayer.com/en/Commitment/Rural-development.aspx
Have you quantified the benefits (social, economic, environmental) of e3? Are they increasing?
The program is just beginning to collect baseline information in order to measure the growth and improvement in subsequent years. This is a key function and benefit of the Field Print Calculator assessments.
How will you report improvement?
We will show improvement in aggregate (anonymously) by region and county on an annual basis.
What is the process for governance or oversight of the sustainability metrics involved in e3? What happens if growers aren’t compliant ?
A baseline self-assessment form is collected at the time of acceptance to the program. Producers commit to continuous improvement and each producer must re-enroll annually. A third party is attained for random inspections of baselines assessment and, if no attempt is made at improvement, the producer will not be enrolled.
What is the cost of e3 to growers?
There is no cost to the grower to participate.
Do e3 farmers make more profit versus other sustainability programs?
The real value in e3 is the continuous improvement of sustainable farming practices. A large part of sustainability is managing inputs - doing more with less. As a business person, improving on input efficiencies improves the bottom line and, thus, profit.
In addition, the e3 farmer will be paid a small per bale incentive to reinvest in sustainable improvement practices. This small premium is negotiated with the individual retail and apparel brand.
How many farmers are signed up for e3?
Growers renew each year shortly after planting. In 2013, more than 80 farmers from across varying regions in the U.S. Cotton Belt participated. In 2014, participation is expected to increase.
Can e3 farmers lapse from year to year, and then rejoin the program sporadically?
Yes. It is not an evergreen program and requires annual sign-up and qualification to participate.
Can farmers join e3 without planting Bayer branded cotton seed?
Not at this point. Bayer CropScience is currently the market leader with close to 40% of the US cotton seed market share. Our cotton varieties – Fibermax and Stoneville, fit all cotton growing areas in the U.S. so therefore we offer retail apparel and home furnishing brands the inventory supply potential that’s needed. Our current certification and traceability programs are set up for Bayer CropScience cotton seed brands. Therefore, we are only comfortable at this time with our brands. However, looking into the future, perhaps there is a possibility to allow other non-Bayer CropScience brands, which meet our high standards for fiber quality into the program.
For more on the e3 Program, click here to read the brochure: https://www.certifiedfibermax.com/images/mod/FINALe3Brochure.pdf
Will e3 be available to cotton farmers in countries outside the US?
Global participation is being considered as Bayer CropScience sells seed in all of the major cotton-producing countries around the globe. However, the US is currently the only country participating due to the tested traceability and content claims process.
Can organic cotton seed be used in e3
Not at this point because Bayer does not sell non-traited seed in the US market.
How does Bayer benefit from e3?
Bayer CropScience is dedicated to the mission of “Science for a Better Life” and e3 is a perfect example of providing solutions for farmer and consumer customers. The program aligns with corporate social responsibility and sustainability initiatives, which allows us to live out this mission.
What is Bayer’s commitment to the non-GM seed cotton market? Does Bayer really offer farmers a choice?
Depending on the market, we provide conventional or GM seed and crop protection products, including biologicals. Currently, Bayer CropScience sells conventional seed into Turkey, Greece and Spain to support growers’ needs in those countries. Additionally Bayer CropScience is a leading supplier of both conventional and GM cotton seed in Brazil. We are also members of the Textile Exchange's Organic Roundtable and are involved in global discussions regarding conventional seed supply to answer to the market needs.
What is Bayer doing about bees and neonicotinoids in regards to its products?
Bayer CropScience has filed a legal case with the General Court of the European Union following the European Commission´s decision in May 2013 to restrict the use of three leading neonicotinoid-containing plant protection products.
Bayer CropScience believes that the decision of the European Commission is unjustified, disproportionate and goes beyond the existing regulatory framework. Critically, the Commission has failed to assess the impact of its decision on European agriculture.
The decision of the European Commission breaches the legal certainty and reliability of granted approvals of crop protection products in the EU market. Bayer CropScience has thus decided to put the case before the General Court of the European Union to seek advice on the legal basis of the European Commission’s decision. Foremost, the company wants to obtain guidance and clarity on the regulatory framework in view of future investment decisions.
Bayer CropScience remains convinced that neonicotinoids are safe, when used responsibly and properly, according to label instructions. This has been confirmed by the competent EU and Member State authorities in their market authorization assessments based on the extensive safety data that has been submitted.
For more on Bayer’s commitment to Bee Care, click here: http://beecare.bayer.com/home