One Page Overview

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OUTCOMES-VERIFIED REGENERATIVE (OVR) SOIL HEALTH PROGRAM

For inclusion in the 2018 Farm Bill

 

Creating a voluntary USDA-NRCS “Outcomes-Verified Regenerative (OVR) Soil Health Program” to serve as a national benchmark for soil health on our working lands.

 

No soil, no farms, no food:

America is losing 1.7 billion tons of topsoil from croplands every year, windswept and washed away 10 times faster than it is replenished. At this rate, America has an aggregated 60 years of harvests left.

Farmers are struggling harder than ever:

U.S. net farm income has dropped by 50% in the last four years. Farmers are increasingly reliant on much-needed, but increasingly costly taxpayer-funded crop insurance.

Food security is national security:

With no topsoil, American farmers, the American economy and American food security are at risk. Billions of dollars in lost revenue, millions of lost jobs and all domestic food production are on the line.

The Outcomes-Verified Regenerative Soil Health Program will usher in a new chapter of conservation and commerce for American agriculture.

 

OBJECTIVES:

  • Provide companies with a clear way to incorporate soil health into their supply chains, giving market-based economic incentives to farmers and ranchers who apply good soil health practices

  • Generate concrete data that establishes the link between soil health and reduced risk for farmers, leading to lower costs, reduced crop insurance premiums and access to capital at better rates

  • Reduce taxpayer cost for essential U.S. crop insurance

  • Create the infrastructure for a “Book & Claim” style marketplace for commodity growers to sell credits for Outcomes-Verified Regenerative yields, giving them direct access to premiums

  • Increase Food Security and economic stability by rebuilding our topsoil and water-holding capacity

 

APPROACH:

Use existing infrastructure to put American agriculture and American farmers first:

  • NO mandatory standards, NO new regulations, NO big government expansion

  • Use the existing USDA-NRCS* voluntary conservation practices, outcomes-testing methodologies, funding and technical assistance

  • Provide a scalable model for conservation that relies on generating market demand, not government subsidies

  • Applies exclusively to American farmers and ranchers

 

*The USDA-NRCS (Natural Resources Conservation Service) is a federal agency that has been helping American farmers implement soil conservation practices since the Dust Bowl.

 


Letter of Support

Dear Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow:

We, the undersigned, support the inclusion of the forward-thinking Soil Health Demonstration Pilot Project (Sec. 2309 of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018) in the final version of the 2018 Farm Bill.

We also believe that the legislation could be improved on immensely––and simply––with the attached amendment, which would have this pilot project result in more than just a report to Congress.

The amendment will direct this 5-year demonstration pilot project to result in a powerful tool for farmers, businesses and landowners: a voluntary, outcomes-verification program that farmers with good soil health outcomes can use to show, in a trusted way, that they are achieving results, reducing risk and improving profitability.

This will:

  1. Give businesses an innovative new way to incorporate soil health into supply chains and give farmers a market based incentive to adopt conservation practices

  2. Use verified outcomes data to further quantify the link between specific conservation practices and reduced risk for farmers and ranchers

  3. Assist agricultural producers in improving farm resilience, increasing profitability, rebuilding our rapidly eroding topsoil and ensuring national food security

  4. Give business and government meaningful outcomes data and tools to quantify conservation benefits and tangibly demonstrate the attainment of sustainability targets

We support the attached amendment language to create benefits across the agriculture value chain and urge you to include the language in this final version of the Farm Bill.

Sincerely,

To learn more and sign the letter, please contact aria (at) landcoreusa (dot) com


Legislative Fact Sheet Summary

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OUTCOMES-VERIFIED REGENERATIVE (OVR)

SOIL HEALTH PROGRAM

 

Legislation that authorizes the creation of an Outcomes-Verified Regenerative (OVR) Soil Health Program as a pilot program within USDA-NRCS.

Purpose:

  1. Providing an innovative new way for businesses to incorporate soil health into supply chains and giving farmers a market based incentive to adopt conservation practices

  2. Giving business and government meaningful outcomes data and tools to quantify conservation benefits and tangibly demonstrate the attainment of sustainability targets

  3. Assisting agricultural producers in improving farm resilience, increasing profitability, rebuilding our rapidly eroding topsoil and ensuring national food security

  4. Using verified outcomes data to further quantify the link between specific conservation practices and reduced risk for farmers and ranchers

 

Key elements of the OVR Soil Health Program:

1. Establish Program: Direct the NRCS to establish a voluntary NRCS “Outcomes-Verified Regenerative (OVR) Soil Health Pilot Program” for agricultural producers that sets forth the practice and outcomes requirements as well as testing guidelines, needed for participation in the program

 

2. Program Benchmarks: The NRCS will work with producers to approve an “OVR Plan” with the specific practices that will be used to achieve soil health outcomes and gain full/good standing in the OVR program.

  1. To gain full standing in the program, a producer must have verified increases of the following soil health indicators:

- SOM (soil organic matter)

- Water infiltration

- Water quality

*Exception: producers with verified “high levels” of the above indicators, can access full/good standing without showing increases.

 

b) Thereafter, to maintain full/good standing in the program, a producer must have verified increases of:

- SOM increase every 2-3 years

- Water infiltration

- Water quality

*Exception: producers with verified “high levels” of SOM and water infiltration (as determined by the NRCS) can simply maintain those levels.

 

3. OVR Plan Development & Support: The Secretary will instruct the NRCS to create a priority funding pool for the implementation of existing NRCS practices/programs (e.g. EQIP, etc) for producers enrolled in the program and/or working to maintain good standing

 

4. Third Party Support: NRCS shall be authorized to appoint appropriate and qualified third-party providers, such as technical service providers (TSPs), state conservation districts, certified crop advisors, certified range consultants, etc. to carry out activities relating to outcomes-verification if necessary.

 

5. Crop Insurance Eligibility: No practice that is part of a producer’s approved OVR Plan will make them ineligible for crop insurance.