May 2021 ESMC Newsletter
ESMC Releases State Policies Report for Environmental Market Development
This new ESMC report summarizes conditions in specific Mississippi River Basin states that may support or inhibit the trading of soil carbon, net greenhouse gas, water quality and/or water quantity assets or credits generated from the agricultural sector. The geographic scope of the assessment is limited to the agricultural working lands of the lower 48 states, with a primary focus on states along the Mississippi River, and more specifically where ESMC has pilot projects. Based on their initial and rapid assessment, the authors identified several states where conditions align in favor of a successful environmental market for one or more of the environmental outcomes considered. Download and read the report on ESMC’s website.
ESMC Welcomes New Members
ESMC is pleased to announce three members joining our public-private partnership: a new Founding Circle member – National Indian Climate Coalition – and two new Legacy Partner members – Heartland Science and Technology Group and Joyn Bio. Details on each organization are included below. Welcome!
National Indian Carbon Coalition (NICC)
Formed by the Indian Land Tenure Foundation and the Intertribal Agriculture Council, NICC is an Indian-led non-profit program that helps tribal nations and individual Indian landowners take advantage of carbon credit and enter environmental commodities markets through the development of carbon sequestration or offset projects. NICC’s mission is to preserve tribal land ownership and reduce the effects of climate change by conserving the natural resources of tribal lands to minimize human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. NICC’s role is to be a trusted, independent source of information and guidance for Tribal Nations and tribal members considering the development of carbon credits on farmland, ranchland, and forest lands. To learn more, click here.
Heartland Science and Technology Group
Heartland Science and Technology Group is a non-profit organization devoted to solving technical challenges of national, local, and public interest by engaging in scientific research and engineering development, providing, and maintaining technology solutions, and facilitating and managing collaborative partnerships. To learn more, click here.
Joyn Bio was founded to solve the urgent agriculture challenges threatening our global food supply and environmental health using the combination of synthetic biology and beneficial microbes. They develop high-performing biologicals that will become a new class of sustainable agriculture solutions. To learn more, click here.
ESMRC Working Group Updates
The ESMRC Working Groups recently launched several projects to further ESMC’s water asset generation and producer data privacy efforts. ESMRC’s four Working Groups provide members the opportunity to develop and recommend investments in activities and research to achieve ESMRC goals and objectives. For more information on Working Groups, click here.
The Technical Evaluation of Alternative Scope 3 Water Quality Quantification Tools project (Working Group 2 Project 4) will investigate water quality quantification tools that can be used to meet Scope 3 corporate supply chain reporting needs while allowing field-scale impact differentiation for generating outcomes-based water quality payments for producers. This project is being led by Tetra Tech, who collaborated with WG2 members earlier this spring to identify the tools and models to be included in the evaluation. Tetra Tech will begin the tool evaluation in June, and results are expected to be shared with ESMC/ESMRC members by September of this year.
The Water Quantity Asset Development project (Working Group 2 Project 5) is aimed at developing a new Scope 3 water quantity asset for the ESMC protocol, based on agricultural management practices that are currently being quantified for Scope 3 water quality assets. This project, also led by Tetra Tech, will look at potential models for water quantity quantification, determine an appropriate asset type for water quantity, and identify any necessary model and/or protocol adaptations. Work on this project is currently underway, with results available to be shared with members by August of this year.
The Ag Data Transparent Certification and Producer Data Contracts project (Working Group 3 Project 3) seeks to create ecosystem services market contracts that are easy for producers to understand, that prioritize producer privacy, and that are compatible with Ag Data Transparent standards. Janzen Agricultural Law LLC is working closely with ESMC staff to revise ESMC program documents and privacy policies to better reflect producer needs and ESMC’s priorities. This project commenced earlier this month and will wrap up in September.
In June we will finalize Phase I and Phase III of the WG1 Technology Assessment project and share report results with ESMC/ESMRC members; and will announce the new ESMRC Science Advisors.
ESMC/ESMRC Job Opening for a Chief Technology Officer
ESMC and ESMRC, the research arm of ESMC, have a position open for a Chief Technology Officer posted on ESMC’s website. Interested applicants should send a cover letter, along with salary requirements, available start dates, and a resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name in the title of all files (ex. Jane Doe cover letter). The position will remain posted until filled.
Chief Technology Officer: The CTO will be responsible for the development, oversight, and coordination of all technical and product aspects of building, launching, and supporting ESMC’s next-generation version of its Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) platform. The CTO will collaborate with the ESMC team, ESMC members, ESMRC Working Group participants, and other ESMC contractors. The CTO will drive day-to-day development and long-term product strategy and vision. The position is a full-time contractor role.
ESMC Member News
Bringing This Chapter to a Close: An Open Letter to the Agriculture Community
Soil Health Partnership (May 20)
In a public letter, ESMC Legacy Partner member, Soil Health Partnership – a project of the National Corn Growers Association – announced that it will close its doors on May 28, 2021 after seven years in operation. To read the full letter, click here.
Midwest Row Crop Collaborative Receives $1.6 Million HSBC Bank USA Grant to Help Build a More Resilient U.S. Food System
Midwest Row Crop Collaborative (May 20)
HSBC Bank USA, N.A., (HSBC) and the Midwest Row Crop Collaborative (MRCC) announced that HSBC has made a $1.6 million grant to MRCC to accelerate conservation and the adoption of regenerative practices such as cover crops, nutrient management, reduced tillage, and prairie strips on large-scale farms in MRCC’s collaborative projects. The U.S.-based work, driven by MRCC members The Nature Conservancy (an ESMC Founding Circle member), PepsiCo (an ESMC Legacy Partner member), Kellogg Company, and partnering with members Cargill (an ESMC Founding Circle member) and Unilever, is made possible through direct relationships with row crop farmers, in a region where row crops account for 75 percent of agricultural land. To read the full article, click here.
San Pedro Ranch Receives Texas Leopold Conservation Award
Texas Parks and Wildlife (May 13)
San Pedro Ranch, located near Carrizo Springs, will be awarded the state’s highest honor for private land conservation, and a $10,000 award, at the Lone Star Steward Virtual Awards Banquet on May 27. The ranch is owned by siblings Joseph Fitzsimons, an ESMC Producer Circle member, and Pamela Fitzsimons Howard and their families. To read the full article, click here.
Can Cotton Drive American Ag Sustainability?
Field Work (May 12)
In the first of two episodes about cotton farming, Field Work hosts Zach Johnson and Mitchell Hora learn about the U.S. Cotton Trust Protocol, a new set of sustainability standards. The protocol uses ESMC Legacy Partner member Field to Market’s Fieldprint Calculator to establish a baseline and measure progress. To read/listen to the full interview, click here.
Other News of Note
As the West Faces a Drought Emergency, Some Ranchers are Restoring Grasslands to Build Water Reserves
Civil Eats (May 17)
Western ranchers are restoring diverse, grassland ecosystem practices that can improve the land’s capacity to hold water—and help them hold onto more cattle. To read the full article, click here.
How Farmers Are Using NASA Technology to Reduce Carbon Emissions
Fast Company (May 4)
Boulder-based Cloud Agronomics offers hyperspectral imaging to provide more accurate measurements of carbon in soil. To read the full article, click here.
Report: Building Resilient and Sustainable Food Systems: A Decade of Best Practices from Leading Companies
EDF + Business (May 2021)
This report gathers lessons learned by leading companies over the past decade of trial and error, to streamline environmental progress for companies early on in their sustainability journey. Using their first-hand experiences, the report addresses common barriers and pitfalls when implementing sustainability in agricultural supply chains and provides best practices for overcoming them. To download the full report, click here.