Environmental Solutions for cleaner air and water
Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS
Ecosystem markets place an economic value on the environmental benefits ecosystems provide- like purifying water, maintaining better air quality, sequestering carbon to control climate change and protecting biodiversity.
By assigning an economic value to ecosystems, farmers can be paid to produce environmental benefits through certain conservation practices on their land.
Paying farmers for these benefits is among the most cost-effective and shovel-ready solutions for protecting our environment in the near term.
How We are Helping
We are involving agriculture in the development of
these markets in strategic areas across the nation. Our goal is for farmers to treat the production of environmental services as part of their whole farm income. By coupling these ecosystem service markets with risk management tools like our BMP Challenge, we are working towards the significant adoption of conservation practices in agriculture- while maintaining or increasing on-farm income.
Two Ways Ecosystem Services Can Work
Federal or state incentives for farmers to maximise ecosystem services on their land
1) Government payments that reward farmers for stewardship in the form of conservation payments
2) Government tax benefits such as conservation easements on farmland
Markets that determine a value for the environmental benefits and have a system to buy and sell those benefits in the form of credits.
1) Voluntary markets such as the Chicago Climate Exchange
2) Regulatory markets such as federal cap and trade legislation
Federal Farm Policy and Ecosystem Markets
Guide to Environmental Markets for Farmers and Ranchers [PDF]
How Ecosystem Markets Can Transform Agriculture and Protect the Environment [PDF]
Conservation Markets Workshop and Listening Session for Agriculture