Incorporating Sustainability into the U.S. Grains Council

The mission of the U.S. Grains Council is to develop markets, enable trade, and improve lives. Carlos Suarez, manager of sustainability, policy, and innovation for the U.S. Grains Council, talks about how USGC incorporates sustainability into the mission.

“Incorporating sustainability is something recent in terms of the actual work that the Grains Council does in its international programs. Sustainability has been ingrained in U.S. corn production for decades, and so what we’ve begun to do is to work on, number one, preventing sustainability from becoming a market access barrier across the countries in which we operate. But more importantly, we align with our customers in terms of what they are requiring in relation to sustainability, and particularly showcasing how U.S. corn origin can help them meet those requirements.”

He talks about how the Council addresses concerns related to sustainability.

“In particular, we see the key performance indicators that the U.S. Grains Council references, which is the Field to Markets National Indicators Report, and we see that, for example, water usage since the 1980s has been reduced by over 56 percent, land use around 44 percent, and then greenhouse gasses by 48 percent. So, what the Grains Council does is internationally communicate and showcase to our customers how the different regulations enforcement, and best practices that underpin U.S. production and U.S. corn origin are the ones that allow for this superb environmental performance.”

Suarez says innovation and technology play a big role in advancing sustainability goals in the grain industry.

“Biotechnology has been a central component of that effort, allowing for the implementation of reduced tillage and a decrease in the use of pesticides across the whole of the U.S. corn industry. Technology also means using nature-based solutions, which corn farmers have been doing as they drive up their efforts to implement cover cropping wherever that is possible, to just improve soil health and increase soil organic capture and sequestration. And so, every day we see more and more farmers implementing this type of practices, the ever-more innovative technologies such as satellite guidance systems to work fields, variable rate fertilizer, and crop-protection product applications.”

He looks ahead to the U.S. Grains Council’s plans and initiatives relating to sustainability.

“What we see is an ever-growing appetite to work with the council around satisfying sustainability requirements, being able to measure and quantify how U.S. corn production is sustainable because we know that sustainability is there. We will continue to work with our stakeholders to align with the international sustainability framework and, in short, fulfill that mission to develop markets and enable trade for which the U.S. Grains Council is famous, and that ultimate result is improving lives not only in the U.S. but across the international supply chains, in which we know that U.S. corn can contribute to and be leveraged by our users.”

For more information on the U.S. Grains Council’s sustainability efforts, go to