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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



 Karolien Denef, Colorado State University


Carbon Reporting with Forest Vegetation Simulator

 Coeli Hoover,  U.S. Forest Service



 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



 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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