The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) will conduct pilot tests of its full market delivery approach in a methodical buildout leading up to its targeted 2022 market launch. Working with its extensive network of partners and collaborators, the pilots will test and refine ESMC’s integrated ecosystem services credit protocol and new technologies in each major geographic region and agricultural production system as the effort is scaled across the United States. Through these pilot projects, ESMC will quantify environmental assets generated by participating producers and arrange the sale of credits or assets through the ESMC market so that farmers are recognized and rewarded for their documented impacts to soil carbon, net greenhouse gases, water quality and water use conservation.
The first three-year pilot was launched in 2019 in the Southern Great Plains on rangeland and farmland in Texas and Oklahoma. This initial pilot partnered with participants of the Land Stewardship Program of the Noble Research Institute, involving 12 operations covering over 40,000 acres. It is anticipated that the first sale of soil carbon credits from this pilot will occur in the spring of 2020.
Working with General Mills and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, ESMC is expanding its pilot efforts in the Southern Great Plains in 2020. Farmers participating in the General Mill’s regenerative agriculture program in the Cheney Reservoir watershed and who opt in to data tracking and field measurements will be eligible for inclusion in the ESMC pilot project. Read more about this collaborative pilot here.
In collaboration with The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), ESMC will be testing improved nutrient stewardship and its protocols and data intake procedures through another pilot launching in 2020. TFI will work with farmers enrolled in their 4R Advocate Program in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and South Dakota. Read more about this collaborative pilot here.
Additional pilots in the Midwest are in development for 2020.
ESMC’s due diligence in its market buildout includes planned expansion with members and collaborators on a continual basis. By 2022 when ESMC launches the full market, the program will have launched pilot projects in all or most major agricultural production systems and geographies in the United States and will continue its build-out post-launch as well.
A map outlining regions where ESMC is building out the market and pilot testing is found here.
Check back for future updates.