Field to Market

A Food and Agriculture Alliance


With the world population estimated to surpass 9 billion people by 2050 we have to produce more food in the next fifty years than we did in the last 10,000 years combined, and we need to do it with less land, water and energy. 


Field to Market, organized and facilitated by The Keystone Center, is a non-profit dedicated to defining and measuring the true impacts of the agriculture sector.

The nearly fifty member organization is made up of:

  • Grower organizations
  • Agribusinesses
  • Food and retail companies
  • Conservation organizations
  • Universities

The collaborative alliance works to provide useful measurement tools and resources for growers to help them measure their progress towards the continued improvement of sustainable food and fiber production. Additionally Field to Market aims to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive approach to sustainable agriculture issues.


Field to Market defines agricultural sustainability as meeting the needs of the present while:

  • improving the ability to feed future generations by increasing agricultural productivity while decreasing environmental impact,
  • improving human health through access to safe, nutritious food
  • improving social and economic well-being of rural communities


Field to Market issued Environmental and Socioeconomic Indicators Report on July 2012.  The report spans the years 1980-2011 and is split into two parts. Part I analyzes environmental indicators (land use, soil erosion, irrigation water applied, energy use, and greenhouse gas emissions) for six crops (corn, cotton, potato, rice, soybeans, and wheat), demonstrating trends over time from 1980-2011. Part II analyzes socioeconomic indicators (debt/asset ratio, returns above variable costs, crop production contribution to national and state gross domestic product, non-fatality injury, fatality, and labor hours) for five crops (corn, cotton, rice, soybeans, and wheat).

Significant findings:

The following table represents the percent change for a single crop based on the average trend line for the entire study period (1980-2011). For example, in corn, from the years 1980 to 2011 the average land used to produce one bushel of corn in the U.S. was reduced by 30%, soil loss was reduced 67%, irrigated water use was reduced by 53%, 43% less energy was used, and 36% less greenhouse gases were emitted. Check out the report for even more data.

Crop Production Reduction in Land Use Reduction in Soil Loss Reduction in Irrigated Water Use Reduction in Energy Use Reduction in Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Corn (per bushel) 30% 67% 53% 43% 36%
Cotton (per pound of lint) 30% 68% 75% 36% 30%
Potato (per cwt) 37% 60% 38% 15% 22%
Rice (per cwt) 35% 34% 53% 38% 38%
Soybean (per bushel) 35% 66% 42% 42% 41%
Wheat (per bushel) 18% 47% 12% 22% 15%