Developing a new ecosystem services market is a complex challenge, one that took well over a year to achieve through a seemingly endless series of Zoom calls. So far, Covid has prevented us from holding a kick-off meeting or workshop, but we have been able to launch our first market for dissolved reactive phosphorus in the Western Lake Erie Basin.
Here are the highlights, by the numbers:
- 10 growers in the Maumee, Sandusky, and Cedar-Portage watersheds signed up
- 5,000 acres enrolled in PLUS-UP
- Bayer Carbon Program underwrites DRP credits
Participating farmers are sharing field data from the 2021 cropping season and the winter of 2021-2022 with the National Center for Water Quality Research at Heidelberg University. The Heidelberg team will use those details to calculate the effect of each farmer's conservation practices on dissolved reactive phosphorus loading in the watershed. Farmers will be paid according to the amount of DRP their conservation practices retained on their land.
For our inaugural year, we chose to focus on cover cropping and no-till. We also encourage farmers to apply the 4Rs of Nutrient Stewardship—the right source, right rate, right time and right place—which can also significantly reduce the off-target movement of phosphorus and other nutrients.
CTIC is accepting wait list applications for future years of the PLUS-UP program. Click here to learn more or sign up