Update from the Executive Director
Dear ESMC / ESMRC Members and Stakeholders:
During the current COVID-19 global event, we want to communicate to everyone our wishes and thoughts for everyone’s safety and welfare during these uncertain times. Like many, ESMC has adopted a policy of working remotely while our staff and consultants practice safe distancing and isolation to help prevent or slow the spread of the virus. We know that this time of upheaval is changing how we all operate, work and interact with others. We want to offer our support and assistance in any way possible to ensure continuity of your efforts and/or to provide opportunities to share important changes in approaches and operations that may help inform others. Know that we are working and continuing our efforts to achieve sustainable outcomes from working agricultural lands at scale, but that we too will be making adaptations to respond to safety and health precautionary measures as they continue to evolve. Our May 11-12 member meeting will remain on the calendar, though we are investigating remote meeting options. But for now, please feel free to reach out to any and all of us at ESMC if we can help in any way. Be safe, and let’s remain electronically connected!
– Debbie Reed and the ESMC Team
Third Official ESMC Pilot Project Launched with The Fertilizer Institute
The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) and the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) recently announced plans to test improved nutrient stewardship as a means of increasing farmer profitability through participation in ESMC’s market program. This pilot project will test the ESMC’s protocols and data intake procedures and other program aspects while TFI will identify potential buyers for the ecosystem service impact credits generated.
The Fertilizer Institute will work with farmers enrolled in their 4R Advocate Program in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and South Dakota. TFI’s 4R Advocate Program links nutrient stewardship, including precision agriculture and variable rate application, to farm profitability and has collected production data, including fertilizer applications, from participating producers for four years.
4R Nutrient Stewardship principles incorporate the right source, right rate, right time, and right placement of fertilizer and are a proven framework that helps American farmers increase production and profitability while enhancing environmental protection and improving sustainability. Read more about this pilot project here.
The TFI Stewardship and Sustainability team is also seeking an intern to help with various aspects of the ESMC pilot project, such as taking soil samples, data entry and conducting farmer interviews, along with assisting with other TFI programs and events. More information may be found here. ESMC members and friends are asked to please share the announcement with students who may be interested.
ESMC is Hiring
Current positions are open for a Research Director and a Project Manager for the Consortium. Positions will be open until filled. More information about ESMC is found here. Click on the following links to learn more about each position: Research Director and Project Manager.
ESMC Request for Proposals to be Released on March 23
The Ecosystem Services Market Research Consortium (ESMRC) Working Groups are focused on the research, development, demonstration and deployment of cost-effective, scalable technologies and approaches to launch an ecosystem services market. The Asset Quantification component of this work is led by Working Groups 1 and 2 who have been tasked with developing accurate, cost-effective and scalable quantification of agricultural management system impacts on soil C, net GHG (carbon, methane and nitrous oxide), water quality and water quantity. Both Working Group 1 (Carbon and GHG Assets) and Working Group 2 (Water Assets) will be releasing Request for Proposals (RFPs) next week with these goals in mind. Please check ESMC’s webpage on Monday, March 23rd, for updates on the RFP requirements and process.
Working Group 1 Project 1: Advanced Quantification Technology Assessment
PROJECT SUMMARY: This RFP seeks to engage partners to identify, assess, test, and map the development of advanced tools and technologies that can more efficiently and cost effectively measure and quantify soil C changes and net GHG reductions to help ESMC generate soil carbon and reduced GHG assets. The work will include in-field testing of promising innovative tools and technologies in ESMC pilot projects.
Working Group 2 Project 1: Evaluation, improvement and scaling of water quality quantification approaches for water asset generation in ESMC’s Integrated Protocol
PROJECT SUMMARY: This RFP seeks to engage partners to design and implement testing and evaluation of the APEX water quality model and WQIAg tool approaches as part of ESMC’s Integrated Protocol for water quality credit generation in ESMC pilot projects. The work will cover ESMC’s 2020 pilot regions to demonstrate viable water asset generation, discover needed modeling improvements or adaptations, recommend Protocol refinements, while identifying opportunities to support model calibration, validation, expansion and automation.
ESMC Files Comments on NRCS Interim Rule on ACEP
ESMC filed comments with USDA’s NRCS on the interim rule for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP) to support the trading of credits on the easement programs offered by the agency. Comments may be found on the ESMC website here.
New Funding Award for ESMC
ESMC is pleased to announce the recent award of $25,000 from The Ida and Robert Gordon Family Foundation to support policy work for the ESMC. ESMC welcomes the Ida and Robert Gordon Family Foundation to the Consortium, and we look forward to working together to benefit farmers and ranchers whose actions improve ecosystem services benefits for society.
Welcome New ESMC Members
Welcome to the American Sugarbeet Growers Association and Farmobile as the two newest members of ESMC. Both organizations are joining ESMC as Legacy Partner members. ESMC now numbers 49 members – 15 Founding Circle members and 34 Legacy Partners. Who will become ESMC’s 50th member?!
Save the Date!
ESMC members are asked to please keep May 11-12 on your calendars for the Spring Quarterly in-person meeting. In light of the current health crisis regarding COVID-19, we are continuing to monitor the situation and are investigating remote options for hosting and attendance at the meeting. The meeting venue is currently scheduled for Washington, DC, though it is unknown as of this writing what the final plan will be. However, we do know that the meeting will be held, and plans will be made to ensure safety for all and a productive and effective meeting. Keep safe, and we will continue to communicate regarding meeting plans as the situation continues to unfold.