OAK BROOK, Ill. — The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium has received $255,500 from the United Soybean Board (USB) to help develop an ecosystem service protocol for the Soy and Corn Belt. ESMC’s ecosystem services protocols measure soil organic carbon, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, water quality and water use efficiency.
Through the partnership, ESMC will work with soybean farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio in a pilot project covering 50,000 acres. The Consortium will be building on its experience with an initial pilot project in the Southern Great Plains on 12 ranches in Oklahoma and Texas.
ESMC champions a voluntary, market-based approach to incentivize farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that provide quantified ecosystem benefits. The resulting environmental credits will be available for purchase by corporations to meet their sustainability goals when ESMC launches its marketplace in 2022.
USB seeks to help soybean farmers maximize their profits by building markets for U.S. soy and encouraging sustainability. Under the USDA checkoff program, USB promotes American farmers’ efforts to mitigate environmental impacts while increasing productivity. USB affirms the value of producing soy that meets consumer and industry demands for practices that demonstrably preserve and protect the environment.
In addition to the partnership with USB, ESMC has added six new members to its Consortium. Nestle is joining as a Founding Circle Member, and the American Soybean Association; NativeEnergy; Newtrient, LLC; the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) and World Wildlife Fund are joining as Legacy Partners.
ESMC’s top priority is building a marketplace that works first and foremost for farmers and ranchers. The Consortium’s long-term goals are to enroll 30 percent of available land in the top four crop regions and top four pasture regions to impact 250 million acres by 2030.
Current ESMC Founding Circle members include: ADM; Bunge; Cargill; Corteva Agriscience; Danone North America; General Mills; Indigo Agriculture; Land O’Lakes; McDonald’s USA; National Fish and Wildlife Foundation; Noble Research Institute, LLC; Nutrien; The Nature Conservancy and the Soil Health Institute. ESMC Legacy Partner members include: American Farmland Trust; Anuvia Plant Nutrients; Bayer; Farm Foundation; Impact Ag Partners; Mars, Inc.; National Association of Conservation Districts; National Corn Growers Association; National Farmers Union; Pivot Bio; Sand County Foundation; Soil Health Partnership; The Fertilizer Institute; Tatanka Resources; the Tri-Societies; and Tyson Foods. Partners pledge financial support and active participation to improve ways to measure, verify and monetize increases in soil carbon, reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, improved water quality and increased water conservation. ESMC welcomes companies, nonprofit and conservation organizations and agricultural organizations as partners.
— Farm Foundation
For more articles on soybeans, click here.