Content ID


Sustainability is here to stay, says industry expert

Megan Rock didn’t grow up in agriculture. A self-proclaimed “weather nerd,” her path in sustainability started with a degree in soil, environmental and atmospheric science from the University of Missouri. A string of government and environmental management roles eventually led her to CHS where she now serves as the chief sustainability officer, vice president sustainability and innovation. 

“Since my first role in agriculture, I have absolutely loved the industry,” Rock says. “There’s really no other industry I want to be a part of.” 

Rock is scheduled to speak at the Regenerative Agriculture and Food Systems Summit 2023 in Chicago. Successful Farming sat down with her to get a first look at what Rock hopes to cover in her panel next week. 

SF: Why should farmers care about sustainability? 

MR: Sustainability is not new to agriculture. There’s always been continuous improvements. There’s always been doing more with less and being very mindful of the amount of inputs being used on the farm. What is new is the fancy term sustainability, and these other acronyms like ESG (environmental, social, and governance). It’s really important for agriculture to pay attention and be a part of the conversation because this is not going away. I've been doing sustainability now for almost 20 years, and it has evolved into a critical part of business. Unfortunately, outside of the industry, a lot of people see agriculture as part of the problem. What they don’t see is that agriculture can actually be part of the solution. As the rest of the world is looking at and talking about climate and sustainability, if we're not part of the conversation, we're going to  find other people making the rules for us. 

SF: What misconceptions do farmers have about sustainability? 

MR: One of the main things is that it’s much broader than just carbon and the environmental side of sustainability. Sustainability has a social component. Human rights, diversity, equity and inclusion, community, and employee safety is all a part of sustainability. The other thing that comes up with sustainability, especially in the ag world, is carbon. When you say sustainability, oftentimes the conversation immediately goes to carbon, but carbon is just one piece of sustainability, especially within agriculture.

SF: What are some first steps a farmer could take if they want to have a sustainability-minded approach? 

MR: They could probably look at what they're already doing and start there by labeling it as ESG or sustainability. Getting involved in organizations looking at sustainability, specifically organizations like Field Market, which is the National Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, is a great place for producers to be a part of the conversation and really understand what exactly sustainability means. When it comes to incorporating it on the farm, it's probably already happening.

SF: Why should agricultural companies like CHS care about sustainability? 

MR: Everybody has to eat, and companies like CHS have the privilege and the opportunity to work very closely with producers. There’s a lot of pressure downstream to address sustainability from consumers who are more interested in what companies are doing as far as social and environmental consciousness. Companies are also setting goals driven by the financing needs and investors who are looking at climate as a material risk. Those pressures are getting pushed upstream through a company like CHS to the farm level. It’s an industry-wide challenge to address, which is why it’s important for companies like CHS to have an active role in the conversation.

Successful Farming is excited to be a media partner at the Regenerative Agriculture & Food Systems Summit USA. Our readers can save on registration with the code SUCCESSFUL10. 

Read more about

Talk in Marketing

Most Recent Poll

To meet my machinery needs in the next year, I’m

holding off on buying and working with what I have
43% (33 votes)
I just want to see the responses
28% (21 votes)
looking online for deals
13% (10 votes)
sticking to my dealership
9% (7 votes)
hitting the auction market
7% (5 votes)
Total votes: 76