ECOSYSTEM SERVICES MARKET UPDATE: MAY, 2019

Dear ESMC Partners and Collaborators:

Since our last newsletter update, we have been busy on many fronts, including working to establish ESMC as a new legal entity, and working to continue to expand out program to achieve our objectives of scaling soil health nationally. Here are some particular items and achievements from the past month:

  • We have established ESMC LLC under the 501(c)3 umbrella of our fiscal sponsor, The Soil Health Institute (SHI). We will be operating as a subsidiary of SHI, consistent with the organizational articles and bylaws and operations of SHI. Under this new organizational structure, we will continue to focus on collaboration and partnerships to help achieve scale in a fully functioning ecosystem services market program for the agricultural sector.
  • Our continued outreach to engage additional partners and stakeholders as members and collaborators of ESMC has brought us in contact with many amazing individuals and organizations. Each day we learn more about the incredible work happening across the country that is compatible with and consistent with our mission to scale soil health and reward farmers and ranchers for their beneficial impacts to natural resources and land stewardship. The innovation and technological development in this space is moving at an incredible pace. Agricultural technology and innovation are hotbeds of interest and development right now, and we are excited about the many ways this can help us create a scalable, cost-effective program.
  • Bruce Knight and Debbie Reed have continued to host luncheon briefings and webinars for organizations who are interested in learning more about ESMC, and we appreciate the interest and constructive feedback that continues to inform and guide us.
  • Debbie has been working closely with many of our member organizations to discuss and plan pilot projects, a summer kick-off meeting, and other activities to fully launch our newest phase of activity as ESMC. We are really looking forward to getting our hands dirty, pulling soil samples, and kicking the tires out in the field to test our approach and our work to date.
  • The ESMC Protocol Team met in Ardmore OK with our colleagues at the Noble Research Institute and the ranchers participating in Noble’s Land Stewardship Program (LSP) as we continue our work piloting the ESMC protocols in the Southern Great Plains. We are so inspired by Noble’s LSP collaborators – a group of dedicated, motivated, energetic and talented ranchers and farmers with whom we are gratified to be working on our pilot. With their input we refined our data collection instruments and learned more about what this savvy group is up to, and are making refinements to the protocols in order to fully align with their activities. Our discussions with the LSP team have also furthered our thinking on how a certified ecosystem services market program for the agricultural sector will meet farmers and ranchers needs while benefiting society and the agricultural supply chain.
  • ESMC’s Steering Committee continues to strategize and support our growth and development. We have been particularly excited this month to work with SHI’s new Chief Scientific Officer, Dr Cristine Morgan. In a few short weeks Cristine has bolstered our soil carbon sampling procedures and in-house knowledge and capacity, and more fully informed out protocol specifications for soil carbon sampling methodologies. We really look forward to her continued engagement and assistance as we develop more advanced modeling and ecosystem service quantification approaches and build soil carbon inventories across the country as we scale.
Thanks to everyone for your continued support and engagement as we continue to build and scale a national ecosystem services market for our nation’s farmers and ranchers – one that benefits consumers, the agricultural sector, and society.
With regards,
The ESMC Team