A draft version of sustainable agriculture standards has been developed by the Leonardo Academy.

A narrative draft of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard was refined at a March 5-7 meeting at the Madison, Wis.-based Leonardo Academy, according to a news release. The group’s Sustainable Agriculture Standard Committee will review the draft in an April meeting in Washington, D.C.

“There is a set of standards that have been written and the committee is going to take a look at them,” said Brian McElroy, organic supply manager for Watsonville, Calif.-based Driscolls Strawberry Associates and chair of the Sustainable Agriculture Standard Committee.

“Significant progress has been made,” he said March 13.

The group’s sustainable agricultural committee will meet April 24-25 to review and vote on the proposal, according to the release. All stakeholders, participants or others interested in the process can contact jennifer@leonardoacademy.org for information about attending the April meeting, according to the release.

A public comment period will be announced in the American National Standards Institute’s Standards Action publication, after the committee approves the draft.

Once the standard committee has addressed the public comments, the draft will be submitted to ANSI for use as an American National Standard.

McElroy said the Leonardo Academy’s work on the specialty crop sustainability standard should be complimentary of the efforts by others to develop a Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops.

The Stewardship Index is a project managed by Ag Innovations Network, Sebastopol, Calif., to encourage a focus on responsible resource management and to create a widely accepted set of measurements that can be used by growers to gauge resource usage.

“The specialty crop metrics could inform the standard,” he said. “Things like the Specialty Crop Index are valuable and very informative and have an opportunity to be incorporated (in the standard),” McElroy said.