Ceres Partners is a proud member of the Sustainable Agriculture Working Group (SAWG) which has brought together diverse stakeholders including farmers, conservationists, land-owners, and investors to develop a single standard for sustainable farmland management over the past two years. Leading Harvest, an independent non-profit established by the SAWG under the auspices of The Conservation Fund, will promote sustainability practices in agriculture. Leading Harvest is governed by a Board of Directors with equal representation from the Social, Environmental, and Economic spheres, and will be supported by participating farmland managers and owners.
Leading Harvest is an assurance program based on a new sustainable Farmland Management Standard (Leading Harvest Standard) developed by the SAWG. Leading Harvest provides audit procedures, training, education, and reporting around the standard. The Leading Harvest Standard can be applied across diverse crops and geographic regions because it is outcomes-based, empowering farmers to adopt agricultural best management practices specific to their crops and their regions. It is intended to replace a complex web of sustainability platforms designed around a single crop and/or region, and each with different data tools, metrics and scorecards. This patchwork approach has discouraged participation in the past.
The Leading Harvest Standard comprises 13 specific objectives ranging from preserving soil health, promoting biodiversity and limiting the use of herbicides and pesticides, to supporting local communities, providing employees with safe and healthy work environments, and offering fair compensation. Each objective has specific performance measures which demonstrate how the standard user is meeting the objective. Compliance with the standard will be certified by independent third-party auditors following audit procedures provided by Leading Harvest. Ceres Partners will use the Leading Harvest Standard, and will enroll and certify substantially all the acreage in Ceres Farms by 2023. Find out more at https://www.leadingharvest.org/