Increased sustainability will drive commodity production in the coming decades, spurred by
increasing environmental consciousness among consumers.
From crops to clothes, agricultural products are not exempt from increasing preferences for
sustainable brands, starting with a desire by the public to know where products are
sourced. Purchasing habits are likely to continue to shift in favor of retailers and suppliers who
give a greater account of the contributions they are making toward a cleaner and safer planet.
There are clear moral and economic interests for these stories of sustainability to be told. But
like every compelling story, the ag industry must not only tell, but also show by accelerating its
shift toward data-driven practices and decisions. Harnessing data requires it to be more readily
available, accessible and easy-to-use for producers, distributors and the public alike.
New agricultural technologies have greatly enhanced this process. Field to Market: The Alliance
for Sustainable Agriculture’s Allison Thomson, recently spoke on the Smarter Conversations
podcast and pointed out the latest data tracking technologies, customizable to their unique
needs and individual operations, empower farmers across the U.S. to enact sustainable change.
Specifically, farmers can track their yearly performance and practices, as well as the direct
impact of those practices on the environment. This includes what cover crops were planted,
tillage procedures they were planted under and the amount of irrigation in the field, combined
with details like soil properties.
Evidence suggests that these technological advancements will help our farmers remain
competitive against producers in other countries. With this, we are well-positioned to become
the leaders of the sustainability revolution in agriculture.
Agricultural sustainability is a microevolution of practices, centered on the diligent and
innovative work American agriculture does every day to improve not only their products, but also
their environmental footprint. New technologies allow them to stay ahead of the curve by
thinking about the future of trust. This future is one where transparency on its own isn’t enough,
and where it is critical to identify shortcomings and offer concrete answers. Put simply: It’s
important to always be thinking about where we can improve – and how.
From dirt to shirt and seed to shelf, The Seam acknowledges that traceability and transparency
in agriculture production is essential to each step in the value chain. Technology has become
more accessible, capable and affordable, which lowers the barrier to entry for farming
operations to embrace digitization that will ultimately convey their story of continuous
improvement in sustainable farming.
Mark Pryor is the Chairman and CEO of Memphis-based The Seam, a leading provider of food
and agribusiness software and trading solutions, which is celebrating its 20th year in business.
He serves on many industry boards, including Secretary of the Board at Agricenter International.
Pryor was also named to the inaugural Board of Directors of the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol in
December 2019 as an advisor