July 2022 ESMC Newsletter
ESMC Announces a Request for Proposals to Develop Projects
In June 2022, General Mills Inc (GMI) and ESMC announced the development of a multi-year roadmap to meet General Mills’ supply chain carbon and greenhouse gas (GHG) and regenerative agriculture commitments through ESMC’s Eco-Harvest market program. Eco-Harvest, launched in May 2022 after more than three years of pilot testing and refinement with agricultural supply chain and value chain partners, is an innovative ecosystem services market program that pays farmers for beneficial environmental outcomes from regenerative agriculture. Eco-Harvest meets food and beverage sector annual Scope 3 reporting needs for quantified, verified soil carbon removals and reduced GHG emissions from agricultural production within their supply chains.
ESMC and GMI are issuing this Request for Proposal (RFP) to invite proposals to launch projects that can generate annual outcomes to meet General Mills’ supply chain commitments and outcomes, and to continue to build out and scale ESMC/ESMRC programing to deliver national scale impacts across the agricultural and food and beverage sector supply chains.
Separately, ESMC and GMI are also issuing a Request for Information (RFI) to understand future organizational capacity and interest of partners to perform services in Eco-Harvest program regions in the future.
Resources and More Information
- Find the complete RFP and RFI here.
- A Q&A Webinar regarding the RFP was held July 22. Click here to watch the recording.
- A second Q&A webinar will be held Thursday August 4 at 10am PT/1pm ET; register here.
- Proposals must be submitted by 5pm EDT on August 16, 2022, via email to Alana Pacheco. Alana will confirm receipt of your response via email.
Please reach out to Alana Pacheco with any questions that you have. We look forward to hearing from you.
Project Update: ESMC Issues Payments to Producers in Missouri
In 2021, ESMC and the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, and MFA Incorporated launched a project to offer the state’s corn and soybean farmers a low-risk opportunity to participate in a voluntary agricultural carbon and water quality market.
In October 2021, the pilot added a biodiversity component which allows producers to also earn biodiversity credits by expanding pollinator-friendly landscapes. This first-of-its-kind pilot project is pursuing the quantification and certification of biodiversity credits and was launched in partnership with the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, Missouri Department of Conservation, MFA Incorporated and ESMC.
Producers participating in the corn and soy pilot received payments from General Mills for implementing regenerative practice changes. Producers participating in the biodiversity pilot were paid by the Missouri Department of Conservation for planting pollinator habitats within field borders, buffers, contour buffer strips, waterways, or other non-productive agriculture grounds.
Announcing a New ESMC/ESMRC Member: Manulife Investment Management
ESMC is pleased to announce a new Legacy Partner member joining our public-private partnership, Manulife Investment Management. Welcome!
Manulife Investment Management oversees approximately 400,000 acres of prime farmland in major agricultural regions of the United States and in Canada, Chile, and Australia. Farms are integrated with comprehensive property management operations in each country through subsidiaries, affiliate companies, or investor-owned entities. The firm’s comprehensive private markets businesses include private equity and credit, infrastructure, real estate, timberland, and agriculture. Read more about Manulife.
Look for ESMC At….
2022 Soil and Water Conservation Society Annual Conference; July 31 – August 3, 2022, in Denver, CO
After two years of virtual conferences, this conference offers an opportunity for the global conservation community to come together and collectively share solutions, combat obstacles, and accelerate conservation efforts. This year’s conference will feature the latest ideas, technologies, and practices and foster a dialogue around their scaling. Through workshops, sessions, symposia, tours, exhibits, and demonstrations, cutting-edge research and practice developments in soil health, water quality, and resource management will be shared. ESMC’s Program Manager, Stacy Cushenbery will present on ESMC’s enrollment training program and materials. Read more and register.
VERGE 22; October 25 – 27, 2022 at the San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA
VERGE 22 is the leading climate tech event accelerating solutions to the most pressing challenges of our time. Join thousands of leaders — from business, government, solution providers and startups — working together to address the climate crisis across six strategic areas: clean energy, sustainable transportation, carbon removal, regenerative food systems, net-zero buildings, and the startup ecosystem. ESMC’s Executive Director will present at the event. Read more and register.
ESMC Member and Funder News
FFAR and OFRF Announce Six Organic Farming Research Project Awardees
Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (July 26)
The Organic Farming Research Foundation (OFRF) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR)—an ESMC funder—awarded six grants to on-farm projects that are addressing pressing challenges facing organic farmers today. The projects include determining the potential of organic agriculture to sequester carbon, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, reduce the environmental impacts from fertilizers and pesticides and build resilience to a changing climate. OFRF and FFAR gave priority to farmers, early-career researchers and Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) applicants. Read the full announcement.
USDA Searching for Innovations in Climate-Smart Agriculture and Soil Health
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) (July 25)
The USDA (an ESMC funder) announced it will invest $25 million this year for the Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) On-Farm Conservation Innovation Trials program. Through CIG, partners work to address water quality, water quantity, air quality, soil health and wildlife habitat challenges, all while improving agricultural operations. This year’s funding priorities are climate-smart agricultural solutions, irrigation water management, nutrient management, and soil health. Read the full announcement.
PepsiCo Issues Green Bond with Focus on Regenerative Ag, Plastic Waste, Water Impacts
Environmental Leader (July 22)
ESMC Legacy Partner member PepsiCo has closed on a $1.25 billion 10-year green bond that the company will use toward decarbonization of its operations, plastic waste reduction, regenerative agriculture, and pursuing net-positive water impact. Overall, PepsiCo says it will use an amount equivalent to the net proceeds from the bond to fund eligible green projects with a focus on its pep+ (PepsiCo Positive) sustainability agenda. The company says that the focus will be on positive agriculture and a positive value chain. Read the full announcement.
Benson Hill’s Inaugural ESG Report Links Food Science, Data Science and Plant Science to Drive Modernization of the Food System
Business Wire (July 21)
Benson Hill, Inc. (an ESMC Legacy Partner member) announced the release of its inaugural Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report. Grounded in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and the general principles of the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, the report is a significant milestone in the company’s commitment to governance, oversight, and transparency. It includes a highlight of an ESMC/Benson Hill pilot project working with soybean growers. Read the full announcement.
IIC Announces $1 Million for New Research to Advance Irrigation Management
Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (July 21)
The Irrigation Innovation Consortium (IIC), a public-private collaboration dedicated to the promotion and enhancement of water and energy efficiency in irrigation, has selected four new research projects to begin this summer. IIC administers this research grant program by leveraging a $5 million award from the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (an ESMC funder) that is matched with non-federal contributions from industry and other partners. Almond Board of California (an ESMC Legacy Partner member) is participating in one of the four research projects. Read the full announcement.
The Soil Health Institute Announces its Virtual 2022 Annual Meeting: “Scaling Up Soil Health”
The Soil Health Institute, an ESMC Legacy Partner member, announced that “Scaling Up Soil Health” is the theme for its 7th annual meeting to be held virtually on August 11 and 12. Over the course of two days, an abundance of practical information, research, and actionable takeaways will be offered that is relevant to farmers, agribusiness, consultants, scientists, field conservationists, government, and non-governmental professionals around the world. Read more and register (registration is free).
Call for Proposals: 2022 Sustainable Agriculture Summit
The 2022 Sustainable Agriculture Summit will take place November 16 – 17 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Summit, co-hosted by ESMC Founding Circle member the Innovation Center for US Dairy and ESMC Legacy Partner member Field to Market, is now accepting proposals for presentations. The summit hosts over 600 attendees annually and brings together farmers, suppliers, processors, brands, academia, conservation organizations, and the public sector to learn from expert speakers, share challenges and successes, and forge and strengthen cross-sector partnerships to drive a more sustainable future for agriculture.
Other News of Note
Black Farmers in Arkansas Still Seek Justice a Century After the Elaine Massacre
Civil Eats (July 27)
The long shadow of systemic racism continues to harm generations of Black agricultural communities that face entrenched economic obstacles to success. Read the full article.
You Can’t Eat or Drink It, But You Can Trade It: Carbon Credits 101
No Till Farmer (July 25)
This article provides a basic primer on carbon credits and how they work in agriculture. “At a basic level, if a farmer can demonstrate a reduction in one metric ton of CO2 or its equivalent on his or her farming operation, they should be able to create and sell a carbon credit,” says ag attorney Todd Janzen, of Janzen Ag Law, a firm specializing in environmental law for farmers. Read the full article.
From Farmland to Frac Sand
Civil Eats (July 19)
In the Midwest, fertile soil is being excavated in pursuit of fossil fuels, while communities suffer. Read the full article.