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Field Notes

Ecosystem Services Payment Programs

As detailed in The Land Institute’s white paper, Perennializing Grain Crop Agriculture: A Pathway for Climate Change Mitigation & Adaption we now have actionable knowledge that perennializing the agricultural landscape provides a major carbon sequestration opportunity. Additionally, perennial polyculture grain cropping systems have the potential to substantially reduce emissions of the potent greenhouse gas (GHG) nitrous oxide from agricultural soils, and to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from farm equipment operations and the synthesis of inputs.

We also know that there are significant barriers for farmers to adopt perennial farming practices. Burgeoning ecosystem services payment programs may help address these barriers. These initiatives range from private-sector carbon markets to public programs that compensate farmers for adopting conservation practices. In the following report, we highlight a few of these programs and what they mean for Kernza® growers. While certain steps need to be taken before many of these opportunities are available, the information here provides the groundwork for growers who interested in enrolling in coming years.

Download the full report here