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Missouri Partnership Project

Project Summary

The Missouri pilot is a partnership among the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, and MFA Incorporated and offers the state’s corn and soybean farmers a low-risk opportunity to participate in a voluntary agricultural carbon and water quality market. The ESMC market program quantifies and certifies carbon and water quality credits resulting from the adoption of eligible conservation practices on enrolled acres. Once credits are quantified, verified, and certified, ESMC makes the credits available for purchase to interested buyers. In October 2021, the pilot added a biodiversity component which allows producers to also earn biodiversity credits. For more information, please visit www.mocarbonpilot.com.

This pilot project and partnership is made possible through support from Missouri soybean and corn farmers’ checkoff investments, as well as contributions from MFA Incorporated.

More Information

Project Details

Project Launch Year: 2021

Project Location (State): Missouri

Credits/Assets Generated: Scope 3 Carbon/GHG, Scope 3 Water Quality, Biodiversity

Production System(s): Corn and Wheat

Targeted Acreage: 5,000

October 2022 Update: Missouri Biodiversity Project Continues Opportunities to Increase Conservation

In a collaborative partnership with conservation stewards, the Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council (MSMC), Missouri Corn Merchandising Council (MCMC), Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), MFA Incorporated, Pheasants Forever/Quail Forever and ESMC are once again offering a biodiversity credit program to the Show-Me State’s growers.

In its second year, the biodiversity project provides opportunities for Missouri’s corn and soybean farmers to earn biodiversity credits by expanding pollinator habitats as part of ESMC’s national ecosystem services market program.

Missouri farmers working to create or enhance pollinator habitat within existing or new field borders, buffers, waterways, or on other non-productive agricultural grounds are eligible. Once credits are quantified and verified, ESMC makes the credits available for purchase to interested buyers.

The average payment from last year was $105 per acre for qualifying enrolled land.

“This program is a fantastic way for corn and soybean farmers to create some extra income on unproductive acres on their farm, all while providing crucial habitat for beneficial native pollinators and other wildlife,” said Brady Lichtenberg, conservation programs manager for MSMC. “Missouri Soybeans is excited to offer farmers the opportunity to participate in a voluntary private market program designed to help improve the land and wildlife habitat for future generations.”

Corn and soybeans are the most widely grown crops in North America. Though not essential to corn and soybean production, pollinators such as native bees commonly forage in these fields. As more farmers continue to adopt precision technology to better utilize productive acres, information from the biodiversity pilot project can help make informed decisions on land management in less-productive areas.

“Creating healthy habitat for pollinators benefits people, crop production, soils, water and wildlife,” said Jason Jensen, MDC community private lands field chief. “By working with like-minded partners and producers, we all achieve the goal of profitable farming through sustainable conservation practices. The biodiversity pilot allows producers to increase conservation practices on their working lands with relatively little investment or risk.”

The biodiversity pilot project is the latest in a portfolio of more than 15 projects ESMC has launched to test and refine its market program. The pilots test ESMC’s processes for credit generation and sales and ensure all other program aspects are operational and meet grower and buyer needs.

“Our members are seeking opportunities to credibly demonstrate increased biodiversity outcomes in their agricultural supply chains,” said Debbie Reed, ESMC executive director. “We are excited by the interest from producers, producer organizations and buyers looking for credible biodiversity impacts from our market program. Based on the results of this project in Missouri, we will increase opportunities for ESMC’s members to invest in biodiversity in agricultural lands throughout the country.”

This is the last year of this biodiversity pilot, with only one year of commitment from farmers willing to participate. Incentive payments will be offered to interested farmers to offset initial costs and keep this a low-risk opportunity.

Missouri farmers interested in learning more about the biodiversity project and creating pollinator-friendly landscapes are encouraged to visit http://www.mocarbonpilot.com.

October 2021 Update: Biodiversity Component Launched

Missouri corn and soybean farmers have a new opportunity to expand pollinator-friendly landscapes through a first-of-its-kind pilot project that quantifies and certifies biodiversity credits. The pilot is launched in partnership with the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, Missouri Department of Conservation, MFA Incorporated and ESMC. The pilot offers farmers an opportunity to participate in an innovative program to earn biodiversity credits along with agricultural carbon and water quality credits as part of ESMC’s national ecosystem services market program.

Missouri farmers working to create or enhance pollinator habitat within existing or new field borders, buffers, waterways, or on other non-productive agricultural ground are eligible. Once credits are quantified, verified, and certified, ESMC makes the credits available for purchase to interested buyers.

“This two-year pilot project will benefit the natural resources of our state while recognizing the efforts of farmers working to improve sustainability practices on their farms,” says Clayton Light, conservation manager for the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council and Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council. “Many of the conservation practices also provide soil health benefits, reduce erosion, improve water quality, and capture carbon in the environment. It is exciting to offer farmers the opportunity to participate in a new, voluntary private market program designed to help improve the land and wildlife habitat for future generations.”

Corn and soybeans are the most widely grown crops in North America. Though not essential to corn and soybean production, pollinators like native bees commonly forage in these fields. As more farmers continue to adopt precision technology to better utilize productive acres, information from the biodiversity pilot project can help make informed decisions on land management in less productive areas.

“Agriculture can play a key role in increasing the diversity, quality, and quantity of pollinators and wildlife,” said Bill White, community and private land conservation branch chief with the Missouri Department of Conservation. “By incorporating certain practices on areas of the farm otherwise not used in production, farmers can help provide for species such as monarch butterflies, bobwhite quail, migrating grassland birds, and native bees while supporting sustainable agricultural systems.”

The biodiversity pilot project is the latest in a portfolio of more than 10 projects ESMC has launched to test and refine its market program for full market launch in 2022. The pilots test ESMC’s processes for credit generation and sales and ensure all other program aspects are operational and meet grower and buyer needs.

“Our members have asked for opportunities to invest in increasing biodiversity through their agricultural supply chains,” notes ESMC Executive Director Debbie Reed. “Through ESMC’s unique nonprofit public-private-partnership, we’re creating an opportunity to increase biodiversity while adding to the current demand for carbon, water quality, and water conservation credits. Our ability to stack credits and compensate farmers and ranchers is a value-added opportunity for all our members.”

Missouri farmers interested in learning more about the pilot biodiversity project and creating pollinator-friendly landscapes in tandem with the current carbon pilot program are encouraged to visit www.mocarbonpilot.com.

May 2021 Update: Soil Sampling Has Started on Enrolled Fields

The project, launched in early 2021, aimed to enroll 5,000 corn and soybean acres and has already exceeded the targeted acreage. Carbon soil sampling began in May, with additional sampling to take place in the fall of 2021. The sampling will establish the baseline for producers introducing practice changes this year.

© 2022 Ecosystem Services Market Consortium

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