Nov 21, 2019
ASA Conservation Advocacy Team Chairman Charles Atkinson (KS) attended last week’s meeting of the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC). ASA has recently joined ESMC, along with a long list of other ag stakeholders, in advancing the development of a market-based approach to promoting land stewardship to build healthy soils, sequester soil carbon and conserve and improve our nation's water.
Through the marketplace, ESMC will facilitate the sale of verified credits to pay farmers and ranchers who increase sustainability and productivity on their farms by increasing soil carbon, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, or improving water quality. ESMC seeks to enroll 30 % of available working lands in the top four crop regions and top four pasture regions to impact 250 million acres by 2030.
A pilot test of ESMC's integrated ecosystem credit protocol is currently taking place on 50,000 acres of rangeland and farmland in Texas and Oklahoma. It is focused on developing cause-and-effect assessment of production management practices, led by Noble Research Institute. Additional pilots and implementation are planned across the United States in 2019 and beyond. By 2022, the program intends to encompass all major agricultural production systems and geographies in the United States.
This week, ESMC and the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) jointly announced the award of $10.3 million from FFAR to establish the research component of ESMC that supports the development of a national environmental credit marketplace. ESMC and its members will match the grant over three years to fund research and development projects in this public-private partnership for a total investment of $20.6 million.