Ecosystem Services Market Consortium Monthly Newsletter November, 2019

ESMRC Working Group Leaders, Members, Science Advisors Announced
As announced in the October newsletter, the Ecosystem Services Market Research Consortium (ESMRC) Working Groups will enhance the scientific underpinnings for the voluntary ecosystems services market that ESMC will launch in 2022. The ESMRC is the research arm of the ESMC, and its four working groups are tasked with overseeing and guiding research, development, demonstration and deployment needs to increase rigor and reduce costs for the fully functioning science-based, standards-based, and outcomes-based ESMC marketplace for agriculture. Working group Co-Leads, Members and Science Advisors are as follows:

Working Group 1: Quantification of Soil C and Net GHG in Protocols, Pilots and Certification – Co-leads: Ryan Sirolli of Cargill and Chris Adamo of Danone North America. Members: Ashley Allen, Mars, Inc.; Maria Bowman, Soil Health Partnership; Jamie Burr, Tyson Foods; Mike Crist, Tatanka Resources; Paul Duncan, Anuvia Plant Nutrients; Sara Fox, Nutrien; Jaff Hanratty/Steve Rosenzweig, General Mills; Tom Stoddard, Native Energy; and Stephen Wood, The Nature Conservancy. Science Advisors: Mark Ritchie, Syracuse University; Stephen Del Grosso, USDA Agricultural Research Service and Mariko Thorbecke, Quantis.

Working Group 2: Quantification of Water Quality and Water Quantity in Protocols, Pilots and Certification – Co-leads: Kris Johnson of The Nature Conservancy and Alex Echols of the Campbell Foundation. Members: Keira Havens, Pivot Bio; Michelle Perez, American Farmland Trust; Heidi Peterson, Sand County Foundation; and Truke Smoor, Cargill. Science advisors: Peter Kyveryga, Iowa Soybean Association; Sally Flis, The Fertilizer Institute and Paul Reig, World Resources Institute.

Working Group 3: Monitoring, Reporting and Verification (MRV) Technologies; MRV Platform; and Gridded Land Ledger– Co-leads: Jason Weller of Land O’Lakes and Mike Komp of the Conservation Technology Information Center. Members: Ben Brown, Arva Intelligence; Chad Ellis, Noble Research Institute; Allison Grantham, Grow Well Consulting; Kristen McKnight, NativeEnergy; and Rachel Orf, National Corn Growers Association. Science Advisors: Daniel Northrup, Benson Hill; William Fox III, Texas A&M and Jia Deng, University of New Hampshire.

Working Group 4: Soil Carbon Research to Quantify and Achieve Ecosystem Service Capacities of Soils – Co-leads: Hannah Birgé of The Nature Conservancy and Cristine Morgan of the Soil Health Institute. Members: Dan Froehlich, Anuvia Plant Nutrients; Jacob Penner, NativeEnergy; and Catherine Steward, USDA Agricultural Research Service. Science advisors: Jen Moore-Kucera, American Farmland Trust; Ron Turco, Purdue University and Mahdi Al-Kaisi, Iowa State University.

ESMC Members Gather for Second Meeting in Washington, DC, this Week 
The second convening of the ESMC members occurs Thursday and Friday, November 14 and 15, in Washington, DC. Representatives from our more than 40 member organizations across the agricultural supply chain and value chain will continue to align on high priority needs to establish the fully functioning ESMC market by 2022. Members will review existing ESMC Protocols and discuss plans to further refine protocols. Pilot project planning and implementation will also be discussed. Working Group Co-leads will report on progress and next steps in their plans and activities.

Welcome New Members 
ESMC is pleased to announce six new members to the Consortium! Syngenta has joined as a new Founding Circle member along with five new Legacy Partner members, including: Almond Board of California; Arizona State University; Arva Intelligence; Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture; and Open Team. With these additions, ESMC numbers 41 members – 15 Founding Circle members and 25 Legacy Partners – Thank you to all our members and collaborators for joining in our public-private stakeholder driven project!

ESMC Joins Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture 
ESMC is excited to be a new member of Field to Market and looking forward to continued opportunities for engagement and collaboration as a member of the Civil Society Sector.

ESMC Spotlighted in the Financial Times
In a Special Report “Food Sustainability,” an article in the London-based Financial Times identified the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium (ESMC) as an advocate for a market-based approach to sustainable farming and highlights our work as a U.S. coalition to develop an Ecosystem Services Market due to launch in 2022. Read the article, Food production that does not cost the earth: Market-based tools to make an environmental supply chain financially viable, by Sarah Murray, Financial Times (September 25, 2109), here. It is through the strength of our coalition and the efforts of all ESMC members that the market will succeed.

ESMC Member News

American Farmland Trust and Danone North America Testify at House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis
Two ESMC member organizations testified at an October 30 hearing held by the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis on the topic of “Solving the Climate Crisis: Opportunities in Agriculture.” Jennifer Moore-Kucera of American Farmland Trust and Tina Owns of Danone North America were two of four speakers at the hearing providing testimony. View the full hearing or read the opening statement and full testimonies here.

ESMC and ESMC Member Speak at U.S. EPA Listening Session 
ESMC team member Bruce Knight and Steve Rowe of ESMC member company, Newtrient, presented oral comments at the U.S. EPA “Water Quality Trading under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System” Listening Session in Washington, DC on October 21. Knight spoke about the ESMC effort and expressed appreciation for EPA’s policy advancements to support trading mechanisms for water quality.

ESMC Members collaborate to Launch PED Talks Video Series
Do you know what a PED is? ESMC members including the Conservation Technology Information Center, Soil Health Institute, Soil Health Partnership, the Soil Science Society of America (of the Tri-Societies), and USDA NRCS have collaborated with the Soil and Water Conservation Society to launch a series of PED Talks on soil health. Soil peds are aggregated particles of sand, silt, clay and organic matter. PED talks combine various soil-related topics to explain and highlight progress on ensuring healthy soils in the future. Read more here. Visit the PED Talks channel on YouTube here.

Look for ESMC at . . . 
November 13 is the date of the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research (FFAR) “Dialogue on Agricultural Data Ownership and Maximizing Value” in San Antonio. Caroline Wade of the ESMC team will be making remarks at this event focused on addressing challenges and opportunities related to data ownership and the advancement of policies and practices that address needs of all stakeholders.

Field to Market 
November 19 – Stay tuned for an ESMC award announcement during lunch at the Field to Market Meeting in Indianapolis! Don’t miss it!

2019 Sustainable Agriculture Summit
November 20–21 – ESMC team members, Bruce Knight and Debbie Reed, will be participating in the Sustainable Agriculture Summit in Indianapolis. Over 500 food and agriculture supply chain leaders, including many ESMC members and partners, will gather for this year’s meeting to explore key drivers in defining and advancing sustainability across the industry. Debbie Reed will serve on the panel, Driving for Economic and Environmental Benefits through Climate Smart Agriculture, on November 20th.

Northeast Region Agribusiness & CCA Conference
December 3 – 5 at the Northeast Region Agribusiness & CCA Conference in Syracuse, New York.  ESMC team member, Tom Driscoll, will speak on the opening panel, Emerging Topics in Agriculture – Challenges Ahead. In his presentation, “Creating a Market for Stewardship,” he will speak about opportunities for farmers and CCAs to participate in the ESMC.

Other News of Note 

Ceres Report Calls for Major Food Companies to Use Water More Efficiently
Ceres recently released the third edition of Feeding Ourselves Thirsty. While highlighting improved scores in water management practice of major food companies, it also calls for companies to adopt far stronger practices to reduce their demands and impacts on limited water resources, calling corporate action insufficient in an increasingly water-stressed world. Read more here. The full report and executive summary may be downloaded here.

Dual Role of Deep Soils in Global Carbon Cycle
A new study by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst shows that deep soils both sequester and release carbon. The study explores the impacts of environmental changes on deep soil carbon and the role of deep roots as a weathering agent that breaks rocks and minerals, resulting in both the potential for increased carbon storage at depth but also release of stored carbon from minerals. Researchers point out that “findings will have global ramifications for agricultural stakeholders that have held up the benefits of carbon sequestration in soils as their contribution to fighting climate change.” Read more here about this study that was published in October in Science Direct Journal.