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Free ecosystem market webinars available for farmers

Free ecosystem market webinars available for farmers

The Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership will host four webinars in June and July

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

An industry organization is hosting online presentations to help farmers and industry advisors make informed decisions about emerging market opportunities.

The Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnership will host a four-part webinar series in June and July to provide information about the ecosystem market.

“It’s monetizing the benefits of managing our environment,” Jean Brokish, the event coordinator, told “That includes sequestering greenhouse gases, improving soil to reduce runoff or implementing cover crops.”

A lot of the dialogue surrounding climate incentives for farmers revolves around carbon sequestration but there’s another avenue available as well.

Part of the webinar series will explore water quality markets, Brokish said.

“We’re going to highlight examples of municipalities and water quality credits through the Sand County Foundation and (Rural Investment to Protect Our Environment), who advocate to compensate farmers beyond just carbon,” she said.

The first two dates in the webinar series are Tuesday, June 22 and Thursday, June 24.

On June 22, attendees will hear from input suppliers like Bayer, Corteva and Nutrien about ecosystem market programs each company offers farmers.

On June 24 the webinars will explore markets and data platforms available from CIBO, Farmers Business Network and Land O’ Lakes.

The webinar dates in July are set for Tuesday, July 13 and Thursday, July 15.

“We’ll be highlighting some grain buyers like Cargill and General Mills and PepsiCo will be presenting,” Brokish said. “From those three companies we’ll be wanting to hear how agriculture helps them achieve their sustainability goals.”

Each webinar in the series will go from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm CDT.

Brokish hopes people who attend the webinars will leave feeling they have enough information to make the right decisions for their farms.

“We’re not here to say one thing is better than the other,” she said. “We wanted to bring together all of these different companies and ideas to provide farmers with the right information for them to use how they see fit.”

Businesses and the ag industry are becoming involved with ecosystem markets because of consumer demand.

Today’s consumers want to know where food comes from and want confidence food is produced in a sustainable way, Brokish said.

“Consumer preferences have changed and millennials care where their food comes from and more environmentally aware than previous generations were,” she said. “Around 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies have some sort of sustainability pledge and it’s consumer trends that have been driving this.”

Amazon, Microsoft and Nestle, for example, are companies that have joined The Climate Pledge. Companies who join commit to being net-zero carbon by 2040, 10 years ahead of the Paris Agreement’s goal of 2050.

Interested farmers can sign up until after the first webinar.

Brokish encourages producers to register even if they may not be able to attend because the webinars will be recorded and sent out to registrants.

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