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.

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.

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
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 ExAnte Quantification
Karolien Denef, Colorado State University

Carbon Reporting with Forest Vegetation Simulator
Coeli Hoover,  U.S. Forest Service

DNDC, a Tool for Quantifying Impacts of Farming Management Alternatives on Ecosystem Services
Changsheng Li, University of New Hampshire

Session 4: Paying for Expected Environmental Outcomes: Tools for Ex Ante Quantification
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?
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
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
Brian Murray, Duke University

Stacking Environmental Services from Agriculture
Rich Woodward, Texas A&M University

Session 8:  Strategies to Enhance Additionality
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
Conestoga Reverse Auctions
Mindy Selman, WRI and 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
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
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
“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
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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