The Ecosystem Services Market Consortium has received $255,000 from the United Soybean Board to help develop an ecosystem service protocol for the Soy and Corn Belt.
ESMC’s ecosystem services protocols measure soil organic carbon, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality and water use efficiency. Through the partnership, ESMC will work with soybean farmers in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio in a pilot project covering 50,000 acres.
The Consortium will be building on its experience with an initial pilot project in the Southern Great Plains on 12 ranches in Oklahoma and Texas.
ESMC champions a voluntary, market-based approach to incentivize farmers and ranchers to implement conservation practices that provide quantified ecosystem benefits. The resulting environmental credits will be available for purchase by corporations to meet their sustainability goals when ESMC launches its marketplace in 2022.
The Consortium’s long-term goals are to enroll 30 percent of available land in the top four crop regions and top four pasture regions to impact 250 million acres by 2030.