November 2022 ESMC Newsletter
ESMC and the Almond Board of California Launch First Project for Almond Growers
This month ESMC and the Almond Board of California launched a pilot project to reward California almond growers for conservation practices that result in measurable climate impacts. The project will test and streamline the generation and sale of supply chain environmental credits from almond orchards in California under ESMC’s Eco-Harvest program. Eco-Harvest stacks multiple ecosystem services credits, including increased soil carbon, reduced greenhouse gases, improved water quality, and water use conservation as a unique and attractive option for farmers and for buyers seeking high quality carbon and environmental credits. In 2022 the project enrolled more than 1,200 acres in California and plans to expand enrollment for the 2023 pilot year. Read the full announcement here.
ESMC and SLM Partners Launch Eco-Harvest Pilot Project Focused on Organic Systems
ESMC, SLM Partners, and Carbon Yield announced a project to reward corn and soy farmers in Illinois and Michigan for conservation practices that result in measurable climate impacts. The project will test and streamline the creation and sale of environmental credits from organic farming systems – ESMC’s first project focused solely on organic farming systems. In 2022 the project enrolled over 2,700 acres of organic corn and organic soybean crops.
Participating farmers are implementing practices – including tillage reduction, nutrient management, cover crops, and conversion of cropland to grassland – that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and increase soil carbon. Outcomes from these practices will generate Scope 3 soil carbon removals and reduced GHG credits that can be sold to corporate buyers. Once producers are enrolled in ESMC’s innovative and digitized Eco-Harvest program, ESMC quantifies credits and arranges independent third-party credit verification by a global certification body, SustainCERT. Corporate buyers can purchase these verified credits to meet their supply chain sustainability targets. Read the full announcement here.
Join Our Team: ESMC/ESMRC is Hiring
ESMC/ESMRC is hiring for three positions – two Project Managers and a Policy and Engagement Manager. Read more on the positions and apply.
The Project Managers will join our team in a virtual office environment and will serve on a team of additional Project Managers to plan, coordinate, implement and lead pilot projects and market projects. They will work collaboratively as part of the larger ESMC/ESMRC team and with ESMC/ESMRC members and stakeholders. These are ideal positions for candidates experienced in working with producers to implement regenerative agricultural practice changes and who are interested in joining a quickly growing and innovative organization. Both Project Manager positions are remote contracted positions within the US.
The ESMC/ESMRC Policy and Member Engagement Manager will serve as ESMC/ESMRC’s lead on public policy issues that are relevant to ESMC/ESMRC’s mission and vision and the success of our agricultural ecosystem services market program. The Policy and Member Engagement Manager will identify public policy opportunities, obstacles, and barriers to a fully optimized ecosystem services market program and work to engage our members and stakeholders to achieve beneficial outcomes. The position is a contract position based in Washington DC.
ESMC in the News
Scaling Regenerative Farming: An Action Plan
Sustainable Markets Initiative (November 3)
The Agribusiness Task Force of the Sustainable Markets Initiative put out a comprehensive report and assessment of how to scale regenerative agriculture around the world. It includes a number of case studies and information on markets. A few ESMC Legacy Partner members, Mars, McDonald’s and PepsiCo, were leaders on this report. ESMC was pleased to be a contributor. Read and download the report here.
iSelect Deep Dive: Carbon MRV in Agriculture
YouTube Video (October 2022)
Last month, ESMC’s Debbie Reed participated in a panel to discuss the technologies, organizations and producers that are working together to create a climate-smart future for agriculture. Additional speakers included executives and sustainability leaders from EarthOptics (an ESMC Legacy Partner member) as well as Continuum Ag and Vence. Watch the full session.
ESMC Member and Funder News
Most Food Companies Have Weak or No Water Management Programs, Report Says
Food Dive (November 23)
A report published by Morningstar said 60% of packaged food companies have weak or no comprehensive water management practices in their direct operations and 43% in their supply chain. The financial services firm analyzed the practices of 114 packaged food companies around the world. The report singled out General Mills (an ESMC Founding Circle member) and Tyson Foods (an ESMC Legacy Partner member) as two CPGs managing water risks and contributing to solutions above the industry standard through their operations and supply chains. Read the full article.
Is Regenerative Agriculture the Future of Farming or the Next Greenwashing Fad?
Fast Company (November 15)
The potential for regenerative agriculture, also sometimes called carbon farming or climate-smart agriculture, has spawned a growing wave of support. Food companies, from McDonald’s to PepsiCo and General Mills (all ESMC members), are pouring money into the space. Nestlé is investing more than $1 billion over five years to increase the use of regenerative agriculture in its supply chain. Read the full article.
Danone North America Shares Progress on Regenerative Agriculture Program, Covering Nearly 150,000 Acres and 75% of its Dairy Milk Volume
PR Newswire (November 1)
ESMC Legacy Partner member Danone North America announced the year five results of its multi-year, multi-million-dollar regenerative agriculture program, which includes both dairy milk and almond milk sourcing. Since its launch in 2017, the program has expanded its reach to 144,771 acres, greatly exceeding the company’s goal to reach 100,000 acres by 2022. Read the full article.
Other News of Note
COP27: Key Outcomes for Food, Forests, Land and Nature at the UN Climate Talks in Egypt
Carbon Brief (November 24)
The COP27 summit in the Egyptian coastal resort of Sharm el-Sheikh made history by including food, rivers, nature-based solutions, tipping points and the right to a healthy environment in an overarching COP “cover decision” for the first time. Read the full article.
EPA Floats Sharply Increased Social Cost of Carbon
E&E News: EnergyWire (November 21)
EPA has proposed a new estimate for the social cost of carbon emissions, nearly quadrupling an interim figure that has already drawn legal challenges from a host of Republican-led states. The metric puts a price tag on the damages created by each metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions. Agencies can then use it as part of their analyses of the costs and benefits of more stringent climate regulation on sources ranging from power plants and automobiles to the oil and gas sector. The Biden administration has been using the Interagency Working Group’s interim value of $51 per metric ton of CO2. But earlier this month, EPA quietly proposed increasing that number to $190. Read the full article.
Farmland Values Hit Record Highs, Pricing Out Farmers
New York Times (November 13)
Small farmers are now going up against deep-pocketed investors, including private equity firms and real estate developers. Read the full article.
New Guide Explains How to Measure Soil Organic Carbon
Iowa State University (November 10)
Soil organic carbon plays a wide range of crucial roles in agriculture and in the evolving world of carbon credits and carbon markets. Soil organic carbon impacts crop productivity, soil health, the movement of water and the removal of contaminants. To help landowners and others better understand soil organic carbon, Iowa State University Extension and Outreach recently published a new resource called “Measuring Soil Organic Carbon: A Crucial Iowa Resource.” This four-page guide defines soil organic carbon, explains how it is measured and the roles it plays in agriculture and the environment. Read the full article.
There’s Room for Improvement in a Popular Climate-Smart Agricultural Practice, Stanford-Led Study Shows
Stanford News (November 8)
Federal subsidies promote planting cover crops to store carbon in agricultural soils, among other benefits, but the approach as currently practiced can reduce yields in the U.S. Corn Belt, researchers find. Their analysis highlights the need to better implement the practice. Read the full article.
Could This Cheaper, More Climate-Friendly Perennial Rice Transform Farming?
NPR (November 7)
Thousands of farmers in China have started to grow a remarkable new version of rice, one that realizes an old scientific dream. It’s a perennial form of the grain, which doesn’t have to be planted anew each season, but emerges year after year from long-lived roots in the soil just as many wild grasses do. Researchers at Yunnan University in Kunming, China, worked for more than two decades to create this rice, and have now revealed details of their success in the journal Nature Sustainability. Read the full article.