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Providing Environmental Services from Agriculture

The economic nuts and bolts of providing environmental payments to farmers, ranchers and other rural landowners were the subject of a conference April 17 and 18, 2012, in Washington, D.C.  The conference was organized by USDA Economic Research Service, in collaboration with Farm Foundation, NFP and Resources for the Future.  A video of the conference is available for viewing through April 2013.  CLICK HERE to view the video.

Presentations examined ways to improve the efficacy of current and proposed approaches for providing environmental payment, toward the goal of increasing the environmental value of the investments while maximizing scarce budget resources.  Among the approaches discussed were payments provided by government; private entities responding to government mandates, such as offsets trading; and voluntary efforts by private entities with environmental  objectives.

The conference was targeted to policymakers, federal and state agency staff, producer groups, environmental organizations, NGOs and academic researchers.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Session 1:  Introductions
Mary Bohman, USDA Economic Research Service (ERS)
Bill Hohenstein, USDA Office of the Chief Economist (OCE)

Session 2:   How Baselines, Quantification and Payments Come Together

Session Chair: John Kadyszewski, American Carbon Registry and Winrock International

 

Pay-for-Performance: Results from Pilot Studies

 Jonathan Winsten, Winrock International 

 

Greenhouse Gas Offsets in a Cap-and-Trade System

 John Horowitz, USDA ERS

 

Lessons Learned in Designing the Northern Everglades PES Program

 Sarah Lynch, World Wildlife Fund

 

Session 3: Paying for Expected Enivronmental Outcomes:  Tools for Ex Ante Quantification

Session Chair: Diana Pape, ICF International

 

COMET

 Karolien Denef, Colorado State University

 

Carbon Reporting with Forest Vegetation Simulator

 Coeli Hoover,  U.S. Forest Service

 

DNDC

 Changsheng Li, University of New Hampshire

 

Session 4: Paying for Expected Environmental Outcomes: Tools for Ex Ante Quantification

Session Chair:  Chris Hartley, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

 

NutrientNet/Nutrient Tracking Tool: Quantifying Nutrient Reductions for Maryland's WQT Program

 Mindy Selman, World Resources Institute 

 

Measuring Up: Synchronized Biodiversity Measurement Systems for Markets and Other Incentive Programs

 Bobby Cochran, Willamette Partnership

 

Fort Hood Recovery Credit System

 David Wolfe, Environmental Defense Fund

 

Session 5: Compliance: How Well Can We Verify Contracted Practices are Carried Out?

Session chair:  David Walker, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

 

Verifying Conservation Practices for Environmental Services

 Norm Widman, USDA NRCS

 

Tree-Planting Contracts

 Monty Maldonado, U.S. Forest Service

 

Remote Sensing of Crop Residue

 Craig Daughtry, USDA Agricultural Research Service  (ARS)

 

Verification Site Visits

 Bryan Crook, USDA Farm Service Agency, Texas State Office

 

Session 6: Paying for Actual Environmental Outcomes:  Tools for ExPost Quantification

Session Chair:  Molly Brown, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASA)

 

Detecting Water Quality Benefits from Conservation Programs

 Greg McCarty, USDA ARS

 

Carbon Sequestration

 Ray Hunt, USDA ARS

 

Northern Everglades Payments for Environmental Services Program

 Len Shabman, Resources for the Future

 

Session 7:  Strategies to Address Leakage and Stacking

Session Chair:  Arun Malik, George Washington University

 

Leakage

 Brian Murray, Duke University

 

Stacking Environmental Services from Agriculture

 Rich Woodward, Texas A&M University

 

 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Session 8:  Strategies to Enhance Additionality

Session Chair:  Dave Newburn, University of Maryland

 

How well can land use be predicted?

 Andrew Plantinga, Oregon State University

 

How well do past practices predict future practices?

 Luba Kurkalova, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University

 

Additionality of Existing Conservation Programs for Working Land

 Roger Claassen and Eric Duquette, USDA ERS

 

Session 9: Reverse Auctions

Session Chair: Nate Higgins, USDA ERS

 

Conestoga Reverse Auctions

 Mindy Selman, WRI

 Suzie Greenhalgh, Landcare Research NZ

 

The Wetlands Reserve Program Experience

 Noel Gollehon, USDA NRCS

 

Maryland Blue Crab License Buybacks

 Jorge Holzer, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

 

Session 10:  Private Markets for Environmental Services

Session Chair: Kitty Smith, American Farmland Trust

 

Providing Environmental Services from Agricutlure in a Budget-Constrained Environment: The View From A Colorado Ranch

 Terry Fankhauser, Colorado Cattlemen's Association

 

Markets for Hunting: The View From Daybreak Ranch

 Jim Faulstich, Farmer/Rancher

 

Overcoming Transactions Costs: Experiments From Oil and Gas Leasing

 Tim Fitzgerald, Montana State University

 

Session 11: Market-Based Regulation of Agricultural Externalities

Session Chair:  Adele Morris, Brookings Institute

 

Environmental Regulation of Agriculture in New Zealand

 Suzie Greenhalgh, Landcare Reserach NZ

 

Environmental Regulation of U.S. Agriculture

 Cathy Kling, Iowa State University

 

Session 12: Further Issues for Improving Provision of Environmental Services

Session Chair: Al McGartland, U.S. EPA

 

"Nudges" for Increasing Participation in Conservation Programs

 Steve Wallander, USDA ERS/OCE

 

Assurance: Who Bears the Burden if Environmental Goals are Not Met?

 Kathy Segerson, University of Connecticut

 

 

Session 13:  Tying Payments More Closely to Performance, Reducing Transaction Costs

                         and Other Strategies for Improving Cost Effectiveness

Session Chair:  Marca Weinberg, USDA Economic Research Service

 

Ann Mills, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment

Jim Faulstich, Farmer/Rancher

Cathy Kling, Iowa State University

Lynn Scarlett, Resources for the Future

 

 

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