FFAR Renews ESMC Partnership to Grow Ecosystem Services Market Program
- Soil Health
The agriculture sector contributes about 11% of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which impacts climate change. Adopting regenerative practices that are more conservation and rehabilitation focused, America’s farmers and ranchers can play a key role in reducing GHG emissions, as well as protecting our nation’s natural resources.
To facilitate this transition, the Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research (FFAR) awarded $10.3 million in 2019 to the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) to support the Ecosystem Services Market Research Consortium (ESMRC), ESMC’s research arm. ESMC and its members matched FFAR’s grant for a total investment of $20.6 million in the research program. ESMRC completed the necessary research, development, demonstration and deployment activities required to initiate an innovative ecosystem services market program. The resulting program, Eco-Harvest, launched in May 2022 and is dedicated to scaling beneficial soil health, climate and natural resource outcomes from U.S. agriculture. Eco-Harvest program regions include the corn and soy belt, Northern Great Plains, Southern Great Plains, Southeast and Great Lakes regions for corn, soy, wheat, oats and alfalfa cropping systems.
Today, FFAR announced an additional investment of $5.15 million in ESMRC for research that creates sound social, economic and environmental outcomes to benefit producers, local communities, supply chain companies and consumers through the scope and scale expansion of Eco-Harvest. ESMC is matching the award for a total $10.3 million research investment.
With this grant renewal, ESMRC will conduct the research, development, demonstration and deployment activities that facilitate Eco-Harvest participating in all major U.S. agricultural regions; expanding the crops and livestock production systems it supports; developing incentives to increase in-field biodiversity; and improving program access to and engagement with traditionally underserved producers and their communities. This component will include social science research and engagement of relevant membership and representational programs and groups.
FFAR’s leadership in cutting-edge public-private partnerships was essential to help establish and launch Eco-Harvest. As we expand our ecosystem services program through this FFAR investment, we will utilize the successful approach developed in our initial FFAR grant – conducting real-world pilot and demonstration projects – to ensure our program incentivizes producers to adopt regenerative agriculture, meets the needs of corporations working to reduce their supply chain footprints and creates measurable beneficial outcomes for society.Debbie Reed
ESMC’s Executive Director
FFAR is thrilled to support and build on the ESMRC research we funded in 2019. This consortium has a proven track record of conducting necessary research, alongside industry stakeholders, to expand adoption of cost-effective, efficient and measurable soil health practices to new producers. These practices are critical in protecting farmers’ livelihoods and the environment, while increasing productivity.LaKisha Odom, Ph.D.
Scientific Program Director Soil Health
Eco-Harvest is an ecosystem services market program that financially rewards participating producers for using regenerative agriculture practices that generate beneficial environmental outcomes including increased soil carbon, reduced greenhouse gases and improved water quality. Producers pay no fee to participate and have autonomy to decide which Eco-Harvest menu of specific practices and systems is best for their operation. The measured and verified outcomes from these practice changes are purchased by U.S. agricultural supply chain corporations to reduce their environmental footprint and meet their sustainability goals. Producers are paid for these measured outcomes.
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 the U.S. Department of Agriculture’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.
Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC)
Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC)/Ecosystem Services Market Research Consortium (ESMRC) is a non-profit public-private partnership that is transforming decarbonization along the agricultural supply chain through collective action. Our 70+ member organizations spanning the agricultural supply and value chains have collaboratively invested, tested, and launched a harmonized, standardized ecosystem services market for agricultural supply chains. Eco-Harvest, ESMC’s voluntary market program, is an accredited end-to-end digitized solution to decarbonize agriculture and to meet additional natural resource needs of corporates who are making significant investments and operational changes to achieve standards-based, reportable outcomes documenting their progress annually. The program incentivizes, quantifies, and verifies (through independent third-party experts) carbon, greenhouse gas and water outcomes annually, paying farmers from the sale of Scope 3 outcomes to corporates. www.ecosystemservicesmarket.org.