A national coalition led by the Oklahoma-based Noble Research Institute is announcing plans today to create an environmental services market that will provide financial incentives to farmers to improve the health of their soil.
General Mills is a member of the steering committee for the program as well as the National Association of Conservation Districts, and farm groups in Texas and Oklahoma.
“The agriculture sector wants to participate more in the sequestering of carbon, but the economics need to be there to bridge the gap,” said Jerry Lynch, General Mills’ chief sustainability officer. The plan is to conduct pilot projects in early 2019 with a national rollout to follow. It’s estimated that a market such as this one could mitigate 89 percent of agriculture’s current greenhouse gas emissions by giving farmers an incentive to keep carbon in the soil.
Bill Buckner, the Noble Institute’s president and CEO, says the coalition wants to monetize “soil health to reward those farmers and ranchers who are actively adopting and improving practices that protect our environment.”