ESMC/ESMRC’s 2020 Annual Report: A Letter from Debbie Reed
2020 in Review
As we publish our first-ever Annual Report, I want to acknowledge what an unprecedented year 2020 was for us all. The global COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives in many ways. Our agricultural, food systems, and personnel were pressure tested and strained by the pandemic. While the sector stepped up to the new operating realities, the entire supply chain has been impacted and changed. Many farmers and ranchers, farm labor personnel, and those selling food in grocery stores or via deliveries have suffered from COVID-19 and from the economic and social disruptions that continue to be felt.
As we look back on 2020 and to the future, we know we need to better prepare and adapt to the COVID-19 aftershocks and for future shocks. More global pandemics are likely to occur. The already observable effects of climate change on agriculture, on water use and availability, on humans, plants, and animals and related economic disruptions precipitated by these events and others are predicted to increase. Collective preparation and adaptation and the ability to leverage our resources and knowledge to invest in a more resilient and nimble infrastructure able to overcome challenges known and unknown is imperative.
As a public private partnership of collaborators across the agricultural food supply chain and value chain, we value the contributions and leadership of all our members and stakeholders working to increase opportunities to scale regenerative food and agricultural systems and their resulting benefits to consumers and society. During 2020, we saw the agriculture, food, and beverage supply chains double down on commitments to mitigate environmental and natural resource impacts and resolve to overcome the many challenges we face, at many levels, working together.
We want to publicly thank all our members, collaborators, stakeholders, funders, advisors and supporters for their contributions and efforts this last year that supported our growth. I’m pleased to highlight that our membership grew from 37 to 62 member organizations during 2020. We were fortunate to expand ESMC/ESMRC staff from five to twelve during the year. As a result, we expanded our program buildout and coverage to six of twelve US regions and launched six more pilot projects – for a total of eight pilots across various major crop and livestock systems throughout the country. We also invested nearly $3.7 million in research projects to build a better market program that is credible, scalable, and cost-effective. Additional milestones and progress are highlighted in this report.
Looking to 2021, we have an ambitious agenda that brings us closer to our 2022 market program launch. Key milestones in 2021 include becoming a stand-alone 501(c)3 (non-profit) organization; expanding our program coverage to eight of twelve US regions; unveiling version 9.0 of our integrated credit generation protocols, and version 2.0 of our monitoring reporting and verification (MRV) platform; and further refining our API and other data tools and program resources.
With an active policy environment focused on climate change mitigation and other natural resource challenges relevant to ESMC/ESMRC, we are poised to engage more fully in policy discussions at federal and state levels. We launched a policy committee in 2021 and look forward to hosting additional opportunities for our members and stakeholders to engage with us more fully – through webinars, educational forums, and hopefully, in-person member meetings.
There is much that we are grateful for. We thank our members, collaborators, funders and supporters for your continued participation and collaboration, and look forward to a more resilient future.