American Farmland Trust, along with Ohio Corn and Wheat, Ohio Soybean, and Nutrien Ag, are partnering with the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund (SWOF) to offer farmers in the Upper Scioto River Watershed (USRW) the opportunity to sell both carbon and nutrient water quality credits.
“By stacking a water quality credit payment on top of a carbon credit payment, the SWOF is offering significantly more money per acre than the current carbon-only credit payments,” said Mark Wilson, Farming for Cleaner Water project manager for American Farmland Trust.
The Soil and Water Outcomes Fund provides financial incentives directly to farmers who transition to on-farm
conservation practices that yield positive environmental outcomes like carbon sequestration and water quality
improvement. We provide significant per-acre payments to farmers and landowners by selling these environmental outcomes to public and private beneficiaries.
Farmers and landowners are uniquely positioned to implement conservation solutions. These solutions generate value well beyond the farm, and the Soil and Water Outcomes Fund is structured to fairly compensate for that value. Through this program, farmers determine what practices to implement and USRW estimates the environmental outcomes. Once the outcomes are verified, farmers receive payment.
SWOF is different from most government incentive or cost share programs. Payment is based on the environmental outcomes produced, not the practices implemented. This approach offers an opportunity to sell environmental outcomes as a commodity, similar to grain. More environmental outcome “yield” generated from the
practices implemented means higher payments.
Participating farmers typically implement practices including:
• Cover crops
• Land retirement
• Conversion to pasture
• Extended rotations
These practices enhance financial resiliency to farm operations through diversified revenue streams and
promote ecological resilience through improvements in soil health. Environmental outcomes are sold by the Soil and
Water Outcomes Fund to beneficiaries including corporations seeking to offset greenhouse gas emissions in their supply chain, and public entities such as municipal water utilities or state departments of agriculture seeking to improve and safeguard water quality.