Farmer Input Needed to Assess Sustainability on Farms

Click HERE to take the survey

There is a new partnership between the National Initiative for Sustainable Agriculture (NISA) and local beef and pork producers looking to document, promote and communicate advancements in sustainable practices used on Wisconsin farms. NISA is working with the Wisconsin Pork Association and the Wisconsin Cattleman’s Association on a groundbreaking program to measure on-farm sustainability success, encourage continual improvements and help farmers, food buyers and consumers learn about the sustainability of Wisconsin beef and pork operations. 

The assessment survey has been developed jointly by the University of Wisconsin – Extension animal scientists and specialists and local producers and their associations. This program is designed for producers and needs your support! The NISA survey will help farmers measure the sustainability of practices used on the farm and establish baselines. This assessment process is voluntary, quick and easy, and asks only practice based questions – it does not ask specifics on amounts or details. The assessment could be used on your own farm to promote sustainability efforts. The data is coded to protect individual privacy and will be held by the associations. Once a large enough proportion of the industry is engaged, NISA will use aggregate data and work with producers and their organizations to identify key sustainability drivers and develop communication pieces which can be used to promote advances that have already been made.

This is a process that has a proven success record in working with farmers. In just over 18 months, NISA ( has demonstrated the usefulness of this approach by working with over 1,000 farmers, assessing 1.2 million acres across 11 cropping systems. The results give farm groups, food chains, and consumers practical ideas for voluntary improvements showing the commitment producers have to the environment and society.   

To help gather data or get more information, contact your local WI Pork Association or Wisconsin Cattleman’s Association member and ask for details. They can mail you a survey, or you can complete it online at  For more information contact Deana Knuteson, UW-Horticulture, atdknuteson@wisc.eduor 608-347-8236.