FFAR-Funded ESMC Launches Eco-Harvest, an Ecosystem Services Market Program



  • Soil Health

The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) and the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) announce the launch of ESMC’s ecosystem services market program, Eco-Harvest. This program rewards producers for beneficial environmental outcomes from regenerative agriculture. ESMC generates and sells credits for increased soil carbon, reduced greenhouse gases and improved water quality from agricultural production systems. Eco-Harvest’s outcomes-based program generates high-demand credits that meet the needs of corporate agricultural supply chain partners in the US. ESMC’s unique supply chain and public-private partnership business model allows for member co-investment and cooperation at scale, while recognizing and rewarding producers for the public benefits resulting from environmental stewardship on private lands.

In 2019, ESMC received a grant of $10.3 million from FFAR for the research needed to develop this market program. ESMC and its members matched the grant to fund research and development projects and programming in the public-private partnership for a total investment of $20.6 million. This launch signifies the readiness of ESMC’s Eco-Harvest market program, which is an end-to-end digitized and advanced technology program and platform to generate high quality, third-party verified credits for soil carbon removals, avoided and reduced greenhouse gases and water impacts from US farms.

Today is a red-letter day for farmers, scientists and the environment. ESMC is a poster child for how collaborative funding and research catalyzes innovation. This consortium is an amazing opportunity to support soil health research, incentivize adoption of soil health practices and provide a science-based methodology to measure the impact of these practices. LaKisha Odom, Ph.D.
Scientific Program Director Soil Health

“Four years ago, ESMC and our partners set out to build a next-generation ecosystem service market to recognize and pay farmers for their ecological services. Through planning, due diligence and FFAR and member support, we created our public-private partnership in 2019 and have since implemented pilot projects with producers around the country to test and refine the market program and to build an advanced digitized platform to generate high quality science-based credits. We conducted research, worked with experts, tested technologies and developed innovative technologies and systems for accurate monitoring, reporting and verification. Today, we are thrilled to announce the launch of Eco-Harvest – built with the generous support of FFAR, our members, our technology partners and the many producers whose engagement, input and feedback have led to this launch,” said Debbie Reed, ESMC Executive Director.

“This launch signals that many regions and systems of the country are now ready to move to scaled, market-based projects,” continued Reed. “But we will not stop innovating. The ESMRC – our research and innovation pipeline – will continue to invest in high priority production systems, regions and tools and technologies that will expand market project delivery in the future. Our plan is to be operational in every region and major production system in the country by the end of 2025.”

With the program launch, ESMC is targeting up to 500,000 acres enrollment. Current Eco-Harvest market program regions include the Midwest Corn and Soy Belt, the Northern Great Plains, the Southern Great Plains and the Great Lakes regions. Production systems included in launch include corn, soy, wheat and alfalfa cropping systems. Producers pay no fees and do not have to purchase subscriptions or inputs to participate. For more information on Eco-Harvest, visit www.ecosystemservicesmarket.org/eco-harvest.

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Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research

The Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) builds public-private partnerships to fund bold research addressing big food and agriculture challenges. FFAR was established in the 2014 Farm Bill to increase public agriculture research investments, fill knowledge gaps and complement USDA’s research agenda. FFAR’s model matches federal funding from Congress with private funding, delivering a powerful return on taxpayer investment. Through collaboration and partnerships, FFAR advances actionable science benefiting farmers, consumers and the environment.

Connect: @FoundationFAR | @RockTalking

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