Since the Noble Research Institute announced the creation of the new voluntary ecosystem services market Feb. 21, the steering committee and eight working committees guiding the effort have been exceptionally busy. The goal of the Ecosystem Services Market (ESM) initiative is to advance ecosystem service markets that incentivize farmers and ranchers to improve soil health systems that benefit society.
The main thrust for 2018 is to develop a go-to-market strategy plan that offers a blueprint for piloting and launching a national Ecosystem Services Market program by 2022.
The plan will be informed by a host of research, assessments, and findings in the technical, protocol methodology, supply, demand, and financing arenas. It will detail the technical needs of the program and the supporting protocol to enable producers to be rewarded for the creation of verified ecosystem services impacts on a pay-for-success basis.
A firm has been awarded the contract to develop, in collaboration with the Noble Research Institute, this first-of-its-kind ecosystem impacts protocol, which will cover rates of carbon sequestration, water quality improvements, and water quantity gains resulting from the adoption of conservation practices on working agricultural lands.
The Noble Research Institute has also awarded the economic assessment scope of work to a firm that will report on the aggregated national value of the ecosystem services market to inform the potential demand and supply of these positive soil impacts. The Noble Research Institute is also due to select a firm this month to develop an assessment of national and regional policy mechanisms that are pertinent to supporting a program such as this.
This week, a request for proposals will be released to select companies to solicit an agency of record to support the ESMprogram. A firm will be selected to help the ESM program develop its branding and positioning strategy and help devise outreach campaigns to ranchers and farmers, key stakeholders, investors, buyers, and program supporters.
Members of the steering committee are actively engaging with partners and stakeholders across the country in an effort to harmonize soil health efforts, build partnerships and share best practices.
The ambitious initiative is on track to pilot the protocol in 2019 in select regions before moving into a pre-launch phase. The goal of the formal launch for the ESM program is still on track for 2022.
The ESM steering committee includes representatives from the Noble Research Institute, General Mills, the Soil Health Institute, Newtrient, National Association of Conservation Districts, Gordian Knot Strategies, DRD Associates, Strategic Conservation Solutions, and Oklahoma and Texas farming/ranching communities. The Natural Resources Conservation Service provides the ESM program with technical assistance on quantification tools and conservation practices.
For more information on the ESM initiative, please email Adam Calaway, Noble Research Institute director of communications and public relations, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Noble Research Institute, LLC (www.noble.org) is an independent nonprofit agricultural research organization dedicated to delivering solutions to great agricultural challenges. Headquartered in Ardmore, Oklahoma, the Noble Research Institute conducts fundamental, translational and applied research; offers no-cost consultation and education to farmers, ranchers and land managers; operates seven research and demonstration farms; and educates students of all ages about science and agriculture. The Noble Research Institute was founded by Lloyd Noble, an Oklahoma oilman and philanthropist, in 1945 as The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation to advance agriculture and land stewardship.