Ecosystem Services Market Consortium and The Fertilizer Institute launch pilot

The Fertilizer Institute and the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium announced at Commodity Classic plans to test improved nutrient stewardship as a means of increasing farmer profitability through the ecosystem services market being developed by the ESMC. This pilot project will test the ESMC’s protocols and data intake procedures and other program aspects while TFI will identify potential buyers for the ecosystem service impact credits generated.

The Fertilizer Institute will work with farmers enrolled in their 4R Advocate Program in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and South Dakota. TFI’s 4R Advocate Program links nutrient stewardship, including precision agriculture and variable rate application, to farm profitability and has collected production data, including fertilizer applications, from participating producers for four years.

4R Nutrient Stewardship principles incorporate the right source, right rate, right time, and right placement of fertilizer and are a proven framework that helps American farmers increase production and profitability while enhancing environmental protection and improving sustainability.

ESMC’s science-based, outcomes-based protocols and program generates credits for soil carbon, net GHG, water quality and water use efficiency. The collaborative effort with TFI will enable ESMC to secure producer intake data information to establish baseline attributes and to quantify impact changes over time; to capture, store and manage data required for ESMC asset generation; and to evaluate strengths and gaps in meeting corporate reporting needs and requirements for GHG and water risk, water quality, and water use efficiency.

"This pilot presents TFI and its members with an opportunity to prove the financial cost-effectiveness and environmental benefits of 4R Nutrient Stewardship principles," said Corey Rosenbusch, TFI President and CEO. By overlaying the ESMC platform currently under development to generate ecosystem services impact credits with TFI’s existing 4R tracking of nutrient stewardship and profitability, the pilot is intended to show a significant correlation between these goals.

"This landmark-setting pilot is an example of industry collaboration coming together to resolve our thorniest environmental challenges with common sense market-based solutions to reward producers," said Debbie Reed, Executive Director of the ESMC. ESMC is launching several more pilots this winter and spring in the Midwestern corn and soy region, focusing on row crop and grain production systems. The ESMC is building a national-scale ecosystem services market designed and conceived for the agricultural sector. It plans a 2022 full market launch of its Ecosystem Services Market. ESMC seeks to enroll 30 percent of available working lands in the top four crop regions and top four pasture regions to impact 250 million acres by 2030.