June 2022 ESMC Newsletter
ED Update: ESMC Publishes 2021 Annual Report Showcasing Innovation, Growth and Collaboration
I invite you to review our recently released 2021 Annual Report highlighting significant growth in 2021 which led to the May 2022 launch of the Eco-Harvest market program.
As we look back on 2021 and into 2022, it is gratifying to see the progress from another year’s innovation, growth, and collaboration for ESMC. We continued to successfully engage agricultural value chain and supply chain partners in market program innovation, testing, and refinement to further build our program. With the generous support of a grant from the Foundation for Food and Agriculture (FFAR) and from many additional funders, members, and collaborators, we have achieved critical progress since launching our public private partnership in 2019 and are on target to launch our market program in 2022.
Key ESMC and ESMRC (ESMC’s research arm) milestones in 2021 include receiving IRS approval as a stand-alone 501(c)3 (non-profit) organization; expanding program coverage to eight of twelve US regions; completing version 9.0 of our integrated supply chain credit generation protocols; completing version 2.0 of our advanced technology Monitoring Reporting and Verification (MRV) platform; and refining and streamlining programmatic and infrastructure investments. Details on these, as well as additional milestones and progress in research, policy, and communications are highlighted in the 2021 Annual Report.
As highlighted in the report, the progress we made in 2021, and the first half of 2022, is continuing at pace. We have set an ambitious 5-year goal for 2022 – 2026 to transform decarbonization along the US agricultural supply chain through collective action. This includes key steps such as scaling ESMC’s market program to enable Net Zero outcomes in agricultural supply chains by enrolling at least five million acres in the market program. ESMRC will continue innovative R&D investments to expand the market program to include 100% US geographic coverage by 2025. Thank you for your continued support as we move forward with these goals.
ESMC in the News
Growing our Future USA Report
Forum for the Future (June 28)
Produced by international sustainability non-profit, Forum for the Future (an ESMC Legacy Partner member) on behalf of the Growing our Future collaboration, the What’s next for regenerative agriculture in the US report takes stock of the dynamic regenerative agriculture system in the US, sets out how the Growing our Future partners are working to ensure a deep and collaborative transition that centers social equity as well as environmental resilience, and shares initial results from its collaborative pilots focused on agricultural policy, finance for farmers’ transitions, and pathways to market for regeneratively-produced products. The report highlights an upcoming ESMC pilot project working with cotton producers in BIPOC farm communities. Read more and download the full report.
Hormel Foods to Invest in Carbon Sequestration, Air and Water Quality
The Nature Conservancy (June 27)
Hormel Foods and Target, along with MBOLD, a coalition of Minnesota-based food and agriculture business leaders and innovators, have joined forces to support an innovative agriculture pilot project. The project will focus on advances in soil health practices to improve water and air quality, sequester greenhouse gases and increase farmland profitability. MBOLD served as the catalyst to bring the organizations together. Collectively, Hormel Foods and Target will provide $1.7 million for farmers to participate in the pilot and adopt practices such as cover cropping, reduced tillage, and nutrient management. The pilot is part of ESMC’s launch of a nationwide market program for agricultural carbon and water credits in 2022. Led by ESMC Founding Circle Member The Nature Conservancy, the Minnesota pilot is actively signing up farmers on a first-come, first-served basis. The program builds engagement with prospective purchasers of carbon and water credits to measure and demonstrate the impact of soil health practices on water, air, and carbon sequestration. Read the full article.
3 Missing Ingredients for Scaling Regenerative Agriculture
GreenBiz (June 23)
Recently, author Theresa Lieb toured regenerative agricultural operations in Minnesota. In this article, she highlights that not all credits are of equal quality on the carbon and conservation program front. There’s a wide range of measurement and verification approaches influencing prices for buyers, cost and payments for producers and the environmental improvements programs can achieve. Some standardization and quality improvements have naturally occurred in the market. She highlights ESMC’s market program and ESMC’s work with collaborating a slowly but steadily with a large group of buyers, producers and implementing partners over the past years to agree on a joint approach. Read the full article.
Agriculture Climate Markets Collaborative Issues Transparency Principles
The Agricultural Climate Markets Collaborative is a voluntary group facilitated by the Keystone Policy Center to identify collective, precompetitive actions that could create more transparency and build trust in the marketplace; provide more coordinated and consistent feedback to protocol bodies, USDA, and others; and ultimately contribute to a clearer marketplace that can scale towards meaningful impact. The first step that the Collaborative has taken is to create a set of voluntary precompetitive principles for transparency for carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and ecosystem service credit program developers, and corporations with supply chain sustainability programs. ESMC is a member of the Collaborative which recently unveiled principles to help scale market-based climate solutions for agriculture by keeping both growers and buyers informed on program specifics such as program eligibility, participation, data privacy, and contract obligations. Read more and download the principles report.
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 staff will present in sessions to highlight ESMC enrollment training and policy work. Read more and register.
ESMC Member and Funder News
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
National Academy of Engineering (June 28)
There isn’t a standard definition for regenerative agriculture, but it represents a holistic framework to understand and respond to global challenges in food and agricultural production at the production unit (farm) scale. The way forward demands disciplined focus and determined action to achieve the promises of sustainable and regenerative agriculture approaches. The connections between more data, a better understanding of the unique dynamics in each soil production system, and crop production resilience need to be embraced and incentivized. The innovations and integrations necessary to accelerate the soil renaissance will require novel public-private partnerships with strong commitments to public sharing of data and knowledge. Read the full article.
Here’s The Latest Data on Climate and Food and It’s Not Good
Forbes (June 26)
Challenges abound as industrial agriculture is threatened by access to key resources from water to healthy soils. Read the full article.
Heat Is a Pollen Killer, and That’s a Problem for the Future of Agriculture
PBS News (June 24)
Many factors contribute to a poor harvest — especially heat and drought persisting throughout the growing season. But one point is becoming alarmingly clear to scientists: heat is a pollen killer. Even with adequate water, heat can damage pollen and prevent fertilization in canola and many other crops, including corn, peanuts, and rice. Read the full article.
California Considers ‘Carbon Farming’ as a Potential Climate Solution. Ardent Proponents, and Skeptics, Abound
Inside Climate News (June 17)
Supporters of pending legislation see it as an important step toward meeting the state’s climate goals while using its ample farmland. But critics say natural carbon sequestration is hard to measure and verify. Read the full article.