This week supporters of the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) are meeting to discuss progress and review pilot programs geared toward expanding stewardship on the nation’s farms.
Driving the novel approach of ESMC is the notion that rewarding farmers is the best way to generate environmental assets that improve soil health on farmer’s land, according to Rachel Orf, NCGA’s Stewardship and Sustainability Director.
Participants heard about pilot project opportunities for 2020 surfaced by four working groups made up of volunteer ESMC member representatives and science advisers. The selected projects will drive ESMC’s efforts to launch a fully functioning national scale ecosystem services market conceived and designed for the agriculture sector by 2022.
“The ESMC will enable farmers and ranchers to voluntarily adjust crop and livestock production systems in ways that increase soil carbon sequestration and retention, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve water quality, conserve water use, and benefit many additional ecosystem service outcomes,” Orf said.
ESMC quantifies changes to ecosystem services annually and over time in a science-based, standards-based, verified and certified program. The quantified changes in ecosystem services are and monetized and sold as ecosystem services credits. The farmers and ranchers who create the ecosystem services are paid for those credits in a national ecosystem services market in which buyers purchase credits to reduce their environmental and supply chain impacts.