Sand County Foundation When land does well for its owner, and the owner does well by his land; when both end up better by reason of their partnership, we have conservation. When one or the other grows poorer, we do not. - Aldo Leopold www.sandcounty.net Use Ecosystem Services to Improve
Environmental Return on Investment Shift to Performance Based, Market Driven Agricultural Conservation Strategies Need to understand Environmental consequence of change in practices Costs of practices Farmer acceptance Then can calculate better environmental investment strategies www.sandcounty.net Agricultural Causes of Nitrogen Runoff
3 Key Functions Altered Nitrogen Discharge Increase Use of Synthetic Nitrogen Move Water Off Landscape Very Efficiently Shift From Forage and Small Grains To Expanded Large Grand Production www.sandcounty.net www.sandcounty.net QuickTime and a TIFF (LZW) decompressor are needed to see this picture.
www.sandcounty.net Nitrogen Application www.sandcounty.net Wetlands Loss www.sandcounty.net Subsurface Agricultural Drainage QuickTime and a TIFF (LZW) decompressor
are needed to see this picture. www.sandcounty.net Disconnect Riparian Functions www.sandcounty.net Top 10% Nitrogen Contribution www.sandcounty.net
Groundwater Contamination www.sandcounty.net How Are Farm Decisions Made? Dont jeopardize future of the farm What can we do? what do we know how to do what do we have capability of doing How do we stay in business How do we maximize yield Largely economic decisions
Maybe good environmental management should help the economics QuickTime and a decompressor are needed to see this picture. www.sandcounty.net US Corn Production For Ethanol Use 5.0 4.5 4.0 3.5 3.0
2007 2008 Fertilizer Prices Index of Fertilizer Prices Paid by Farmers, Jan. 1995 - April 2008 350 325 300 275 225 200
175 150 125 100 Source: National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA. www.sandcounty.net 2008 July 2007
July 2006 July 2005 July 2004 July
2003 July 2002 July 2001 July 2000
July 1999 July 1998 July 1997 July
1996 July 75 1995 1990-1992 = 100 250 Price of Ag Commodities
Commodity Price Change Wheat + 304 % Corn + 170 % Soybeans + 155 % Fertilizer + 228 % April 2008 VS January 2000 National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA www.sandcounty.net
So What do We Do? Becoming a Conservation Capitalist We expect to pay for most things we use We expect farmers to provide water quality for free* Regulatory strategies are resisted and inefficient for not point source issues How do we overcome impediments to more efficient conservation delivery? * See Water as a Crop presentation www.sandcounty.net Improving Environmental Management:
Shifts to Performance Based Incentives Faster Cheaper Less Disruptive www.sandcounty.net Pilot Use of Markets in Innovative Ways Prioritize investments Prioritize subsidies Create trades between sectors
Get farmers in ecosystem service business www.sandcounty.net Conservation Delivery Highly Inefficient Current Farm Bill provides $24 Billion for Conservation Fund Distribution Strategy Designed largely in 1985 - does not target, focus on performance or use market principles Taxpayers are not getting good value Innovation is not encouraged The result is higher costs & lower
environmental quality www.sandcounty.net Overcoming Impediments Creates Performance Data A Comparative Analysis of the Environmental And Economic Performance of Management Alternatives In other words Which practices are most effective at environmental improvement (recognizing location variations) What are the costs of various practices
What is the return on investment www.sandcounty.net Prioritizing Investment Create Incentives for N Loss Reduction Which practices What location www.sandcounty.net Management Options Source Reduction Sink Creation
Change Crops www.sandcounty.net Examples of Source Reduction Nutrient Management Plans Calibrate manure spreaders Improving N application techniques Moving animal concentrations out of waterways Use
of N stabilizers www.sandcounty.net ource Reduction:Nutrient Mgmt Plan Soil Test Determine Agronomic or Economic Need Credit Manure Credit Legumes www.sandcounty.net Sink Creation Wetlands Restoration
Floodplain Restoration Drainage Management BioReactors Cover Crops www.sandcounty.net Sink: Drainage Management Raised Water Table Water Level Control Structure Soil Surface Di
tch Solid Pipe Drain Water Riser Boards (Adjustable) The water level control device is installed in the tile drain near the outlet and at various locations within the field depending on topography www.sandcounty.net Sink: Bio Reactor www.sandcounty.net
Bio Reactor: Installation www.sandcounty.net So What? Demonstrate a variety of management practices in variety of locations Assess farmer acceptance of practices Assess environmental effect of each practice Assess the cost of each practice Evaluate cost effectiveness of various practices In other words, ask the question where do we get a higher return on our environmental investment?
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