Leading Harvest's innovative Farmland Management Standard was developed to create a uniform sustainability framework.
Leading Harvest, a nonprofit advancing sustainable agriculture and food production through its unique universal Farmland Management Standard, announced today that it is expanding its footprint internationally with the launch of a pilot program in Australia.
The effort engaging farmers, landowners and land managers in Australia comes as Leading Harvest continues to enroll farmland across the U.S., working directly with growers and land managers to incorporate a third-party audited certification standard across their operations. More than 1.3 million acres of U.S. farmland across 29 states and encompassing more than 90 crop types are already enrolled in the Leading Harvest Standard, just one year after its formal launch.
"Leading Harvest's innovative Farmland Management Standard was developed to create a uniform sustainability framework that could be applied globally to diverse farming operations. The launch of our Australian pilot program represents an important step in our goal of developing and implementing a single sustainability standard that can be adopted by the global food production supply chain across continents," said Oliver Williams, IV, who chairs Leading Harvest's Board of Directors and is head of agricultural investments for Hancock Natural Resources Group. "Applying an independently audited universal Standard assures success in achieving sustainable outcomes -- whether grain and other agricultural commodities are grown in Queensland or in Nebraska."
Leading Harvest's Standard is the first scalable, industry-wide solution to urgent issues facing us - from climate change and biodiversity to the resilience of our cropland's soil and community. The rapid adoption of the Standard underscores the enormous global interest in sustainable assets.
The Australian program is being facilitated in country by Mutual Trust and already includes participants with more than 700,000 acres. Leading Harvest anticipates the participant group to grow over the course of the pilot. The pilot aims to adapt the same Standard implemented in the U.S. to reflect the agronomic, regulatory, and operating realities of Australia, while also field-testing the program and seeking stakeholder feedback.
Australia was selected as the location for Leading Harvest's first international pilot because the potential for large-scale impact.
"With the launch of our Australian pilot program, Leading Harvest continues blazing the trail in proving to managers, investors and the supply chain that agriculture can drive sustainability outcomes at scale and that these outcomes can be independently verified through a third-party auditing process," said Kenny Fahey, Leading Harvest's Executive Director. "Our Standard is quickly scalable across states, continents and hemispheres because it is designed to complement and work in tandem with other sustainability efforts while also empowering land managers, farmers and ranchers to determine the best way to achieve a sustainable outcome on their unique operation."
Leading Harvest intends to formally launch the Standard in Australia when the pilot winds up, making it widely available to growers and land managers across the continent.
More information on Leading Harvest, the sustainability standard, and its inaugural board of directors, can be found at www.LeadingHarvest.org.
About Leading Harvest: Leading Harvest is a nonprofit organization committed to increasing adoption of sustainability practices in agriculture. It was formally organized in 2020 by and for all stakeholders across the agricultural value chain—from farmland owners to companies to communities. The organization provides assurance programs comprised of standards, audit procedures, training and education, and reporting and claim offerings that are optimized for flexibility, scalability, and impact.