February 2022 ESMC Newsletter
ESMC Welcomes New Protocol and Standards Director
ESMC is pleased to announce that Grant Ivison-Lane has joined the organization to lead the development, maintenance, and refinement of ESMC’s Protocol and collaborate with external standards and guidance bodies on behalf of ESMC and ESMRC. Prior to joining ESMC in February 2022, Grant worked at HDR Engineering supporting greenhouse gas analysis and ecosystem service assessments for clients including agricultural companies, utilities, government agencies, and municipalities. Grant has experience applying multiple carbon-based protocols including the WRI Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate and Value Chain (Scope 3) Standards. Prior to his time at HDR, he completed some of the first greenhouse gas inventories of agricultural emissions in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Grant lives in San Francisco, CA. He has a B.S. in Earth Systems Science from the University of California, Merced, and an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School. Outside of work he enjoys backpacking, trail running, and reading. More information on ESMC’s team is available on our website.
Position Open at ESMC/ESMRC for Executive Assistant
ESMC/ESMRC is hiring an Executive Assistant to support ESMC’s Executive Director and Deputy Executive Director through administrative tasks such as managing calendars and meeting logistics, coordinating travel, and performing other administrative work. The ideal candidate will be an excellent communicator, organized, and interested in joining a fast-paced organization that is growing quickly. Read more on the position and apply.
ESMC Podcast Episode #6 Describes ESMC Pilot Projects
ESMC is pleased to announce a series of podcasts available on our website. Each podcast in the series of six details specific aspects of ESMC’s innovative market program and delves into the role of agriculture in reducing greenhouse gases and improving water quality. The sixth and final episode in this series highlights ESMC’s pilot projects. Click here to listen.
With this month’s announcement of USDA’s Partnership for Climate-Smart Commodities, ESMC staff are analyzing the $1 billion Notice of Funding Opportunity to determine how we might best engage in the program. ESMC submitted questions to USDA representatives to gain more clarity on eligibility and program design and is working with our members on potential engagement strategies.
Look For ESMC At….
World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit 2022: March 22 – 23, San Francisco, CA
Now in its 10th year, the World Agri-Tech Innovation Summit has become the annual meeting place for the global agtech ecosystem. ESMC’s Executive Director Debbie Reed will speak on a panel entitled, “Carbon Programs: Building a Global Accounting System to Reward Farmers for Ecological Services”. Read more about the event.
ESMC Member and Funder Updates
SHI Teams with The Gadfly Project to Bring Novel Tool to Improve Drought Resilience in Agriculture
SHI Release (February 22)
The Gadfly Project announced it awarded an in-kind climate grant to the Soil Health Institute, an ESMC Legacy Partner member, to develop an application called the Drought Resilience Calculator. This free, web-based decision support tool will enable growers, advisors, consultants, and other agricultural stakeholders to calculate how much more water their soil can store by increasing soil carbon. This application is based on a novel algorithm developed by the Soil Health Institute and is planned to be released in June 2022. Read the full announcement.
Biodiversity Meets the Bottom Line
GreenBiz (February 21)
Net-zero commitments exploded last year, with the number of companies making them doubling. While there are still concerns over the nature of some net-zero commitments, to effectively address the climate crisis, carbon reduction targets need to go hand in hand with biodiversity goals, which are far less common in the corporate world. While there is no exact number for biodiversity pledges, it’s likely far, far lower. The first movers in biodiversity have been businesses most at risk from nature loss. Agriculture companies such as ESMC Founding Circle member General Mills and Legacy Partner member Danone have invested in regenerative farming programs, partnering with farmers and ranchers to restore soils and pollinator habitats. Read the full article.
Growers Edge Partners with Midwestern Bioag and The Nature Conservancy to Help Growers Implement Warranty-Backed Sustainability Crop Plan
The Nature Conservancy (February 17)
Growers Edge joined forces with Midwestern BioAg and The Nature Conservancy (an ESMC funder and Founding Circle member) to design an offer that addresses a grower’s concerns when adopting regenerative practices. When growers follow the practices outlined in the Midwestern BioAg Sustainability Challenge, they receive a warranty-backed performance guarantee to help reduce the risk of adopting regenerative practices. The Nature Conservancy is contributing financial and technical support to the crop plan offerings, which include improved nutrient management and the establishment of cover crops. Read the full article here.
A Research Study in Idaho Could Help the Dairy Industry’s Sustainability Goals
Boise State Public Radio (February 10)
The U.S. dairy industry has set an ambitious goal to reach greenhouse gas neutrality by 2050, and some Idaho scientists are part of a research project that will inform how the industry can reach that goal. Last year, the dairy industry, including ESMRC funder the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, dedicated $23 million to support this six-year research project. The goal is to build soil health to reduce greenhouse gasses, improve water quality and open up new economic benefits for farmers who are reducing soil emissions. In addition to a number of research institutions, project partners include ESMC Founding Circle member the Innovation Center for US Dairy and Legacy Partner member Newtrient. Read the full article.
Other News of Note
Ocean Plastic Is Bad, but Soil Plastic Pollution May Be Worse
Civil Eats (February 23)
The rise of plasticulture threatens the soil and human health. A new U.N. report spells out what’s needed to end it. Read the full article.
Regenerative Farming Can Help PA Reach Pollution-Reduction Goals
The Progress (February 18)
Chesapeake Bay states have until 2025 to implement practices to reduce watershed pollution, and a new report shows “climate-smart” farming can help prevent farm runoff. In the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint, roughly 80% of the remaining pollution reduction must come from agriculture – and Pennsylvania is farthest behind among the Bay states. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation report said implementing regenerative farming practices, from rotational grazing to planting forest buffers along streams, can reduce animal waste and soil erosion. Read the full article.
Grazed Perennial Grasslands Can Match Current Beef Production While Contributing to Climate Mitigation and Adaptation
Agricultural and Environmental Letters (February 18)
The U.S. grain-finished beef system is highly productive but has many negative consequences for human health and well-being because it pollutes surface and groundwaters, exacerbates flooding, reduces biodiversity, and contributes to climate change. Moving the entire U.S. grain-fed beef production system to a grass-finished system is possible without displacing food production and under conservative soil carbon (C) change estimates would result in a reduced but similar C footprint, while improving soil health, water quality, and biodiversity. Read the full article.
Farm, Conservation Groups Aim to Double Cover Crop Acres By 2030
AgriPulse (February 16)
Three major farm groups are hoping to double the amount of cover crops planted in the United States through an initiative targeting Midwestern corn and soybean farmers. Read the full story.
One Colorado Farmer Is Going Against the Grain to Use Less Water. It’s Working.
The Colorado Sun (February 13)
Regenerative agriculture methods have helped one Western Slope farmer be more mindful of how much water he uses. Read the full article.
Post-Doctoral Fellow Position Open at Emory University for Soil Carbon Sequestration in Agriculture
Emory University invites applications for a postdoctoral researcher on soil carbon in agriculture at the Department of Environmental Sciences. The postdoctoral candidate will evaluate soil carbon sequestration potential under different climate-smart agriculture practices through a microbial lens. Candidates with demonstrated experiences in measuring soil biogeochemical and microbial properties related to soil organic matter stabilization and greenhouse gas emissions are preferred. Successful candidates will get opportunities to train and supervise undergraduate and graduate students. Read the full description.
OpenTEAM is Hiring for Three Positions
OpenTEAM is now accepting applications for three new positions, including Fellows Program Manager, Community Project Developer, and Technical Support Lead. Each of these roles will be integral to OpenTEAM’s growing community and work streams. Read more about each role and application information.
Webinar on Soil Carbon Storage: Combating Climate Change from the Ground Up
Soil and Water Conservation Society Southern New England Chapter (SNEC)
Join soil scientists and environmental professionals from across New England on Friday, March 25th at SNEC’s annual Winter Conference. Presenters representing all angles of soil conservation will dive into topics like blue carbon, carbon credits, regenerative agriculture, soil productivity, and climate change regulations and mitigation. Read more about the event and register.