Field to Market Opens Public Comment for Proposed Revision to Biodiversity Metric

Nov 29, 2023 4:11 PM ET
Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture

November 29, 2023 /3BL/ - Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture® announced today a request for public comment on a proposed revision to the Biodiversity Metric in the Fieldprint Platform®. The proposed Wildlife and Landscape Diversity (WILD) Index seeks to replace the Habitat Potential Index (HPI). By replacing HPI with the WILD Index, Field to Market’s Biodiversity Metric will enhance how we characterize the contribution of within-field and edge-of-field management, the landscape in which farms exist, and the critical need for more Integrated Pest Management practices to protect beneficial organisms.

If approved, the revised Biodiversity Metric will be accessed through the Fieldprint Platform’s online calculator or associated farm management software that integrates Field to Market’s sustainability metrics and algorithms. This metric is one of eight sustainability indicators included in Field to Market’s science-based, outcomes-driven, and pre-competitive measurement framework, which farmers and the value chain utilize to assess the sustainability performance of commodity crops and identify opportunities for continuous improvement.

Summary of Proposed Revision to the Biodiversity Metric 

The Biodiversity Metric is currently measured using the Habitat Potential Index, a custom set of algorithms with a qualitative scoring system commissioned by Field to Market in 2013 and adopted as a metric shortly after. Over the years, users expressed the need to expand and enhance the information captured by the metric. Moreover, in 2020, a pest management subgroup within the Metrics Committee was created. The Metrics Committee is an elected, multi-stakeholder governance body comprised of equal representation from Field to Market’s grower, agribusiness, brands and retail, civil society, and affiliate (public sector and academia) membership sectors. The sub-group recommended adopting a more comprehensive set of questions to capture Integrated Pest Management practices. Although the proposed WILD Index is still a qualitative proxy measure of biodiversity, we believe the data captured by the new Index will better meet member needs.

Over the last year and a half, Field to Market has explored alternative approaches to assessing biodiversity from individual farm fields without conducting on-site biodiversity inventories, which are not scalable or feasible with current technology. In consultation with the Metrics Committee and expert reviewers, we have developed a framework that more comprehensively captures the significant drivers of terrestrial biodiversity identified by scientific literature.

The WILD Index consists of the following:

  • Semi-Natural Cover Components:
    • Vegetative diversity and size of implemented conservation practices
    • Landscape complexity and field configuration
    • Management practices applicable to semi-natural cover
  • Cropland Management Components:
    • Cover crops
    • Tillage type
    • Crop rotation
    • Pest management
    • Land use change

Field to Market recognizes that a quantitative measure of biodiversity would be superior to a proxy, qualitative Biodiversity Metric. However, no approaches that are scalable, time-efficient, acceptable by growers, and well-documented by scientific literature were found during our exploration. As the science and technology to document biodiversity progresses, Field to Market remains committed to transitioning to a quantitative metric, and we will review developments as they occur.

Process and Timeline 

As an ISEAL subscriber, any changes to Field to Market’s metric calculations undergo a multi-step review process, followed by a public comment period, before implementation in the Fieldprint Platform.

The proposed revision to replace the qualitative index within the Biodiversity Metric was approved on May 17, 2023, by Field to Market’s Metrics Committee. This proposed revision is now open for public comment through January 15, 2024. Following this public comment period, the proposed revision and synthesis of public comments received will be presented to Field to Market’s Board of Directors to seek approval to implement within the Fieldprint Platform. The tentative timeline for implementing the new metric into the Fieldprint Platform is June 2024. Additional time will be needed for Qualified Data Management Partners to transition to the latest updates.

Share your Feedback 

Download the following documents to review the proposed WILD Index:

Please send any feedback to by January 15, 2024.

As you review the proposed WILD Index documentation above, we ask that you respond to the questions that are relevant to your organization:

  • Does the data collection burden seem feasible for growers?
  • Does the scientific basis for the metric meet your expectations for rigor?
  • Do you anticipate that the output of the proposed metric will successfully communicate growers’ efforts to foster biodiversity?
  • How does your organization use biodiversity as a key performance indicator?
  • Is there a well-known pest management questionnaire we should adopt rather than using a custom questionnaire?
  • Will you use the revised Biodiversity Metric?


Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture® brings together a diverse group of grower organizations; agribusinesses; food, feed, beverage, restaurant, and retail companies; conservation groups; universities and public sector partners to focus on defining, measuring, and advancing the sustainability of food, feed, fiber, and fuel production. Field to Market comprises of around 200 members representing all facets of the U.S. agricultural supply chain, with members employing more than 5 million people and representing combined revenues totaling over $1.5 trillion. Learn more at