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Biodiversity credit program open for MO farmers

Several Missouri farm groups are teaming up with the Ecosystem Services Market Consortium to launch a biodiversity credit program that pays farmers in the state for conservation practices.

Missouri Corn and Soybean’s Clayton Light compares the biodiversity credits to carbon or water quality credits with the program intended to help establish a market.

“And see and study the best way to develop a credit that can be certified, verified, and sold and hold up to questioning down the road,” Light said. “So, we want it to scientifically sound, enough to where people feel comfortable purchasing this in the future.

He said the program is targeting a wide range of land types including lower profitable areas of crop fields like along tree lines…

“Maybe putting a pollinator buffer there, grass waterways, introducing a few more species of blooming plants into that area and keeping some of those areas, maybe, not mowed and things like that,” he said. “Just to be a little more friendly for these pollinator species.”

Light tells Brownfield the two-year program is a low-risk way for farmers to test the waters of conservation credits.

“There may not be a buyer at the end of this pilot for these credits,” he said. “We really hope there is, and we have good leads and think we’re going to get some buyers. But we’re offering incentive payments that [are] funded by the Missouri Department of Conservation.”

Light said incentive payment rates are now being broken into tiers and established. Enrollment is open indefinitely.

The project is being launched by the Missouri Corn Merchandising Council, Missouri Soybean Merchandising Council, Missouri Department of Conservation, MFA Incorporated, and ESMC.

Clayton Light Interview

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