Presentation on theme: "Performance–based Incentives for Conservation in Agriculture (PICA)"— Presentation transcript:
1 Performance–based Incentives for Conservation in Agriculture (PICA) Lisa Lurie, RCDSCCPresentation to the CARCD Conference November 14, 2014In partnership with:Sustainable ConservationPreservation Inc.UC Cooperative ExtensionRCD Monterey CountyNRCSParticipating growers and shippersThe PICA project is funded through the CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant program with partner match and in-kind contributions.
2 PICA in a nutshell Water Quality Water Quantity PICA is a voluntary program assisting growers in tracking water use and nitrogen movement on their farms to demonstrate and incentivize environmental performanceObjectiveIndicator(s)Target(s)MeasurementIncentivesWater QualityReduce nitrate leaching & nitrate in storm runoffWater QuantityReduce water pumped from aquiferProgram goals:Develop a transferable public-private partnership model to test and refine practical performance metrics to improve on-farm water and nutrient management and to demonstrate environmental benefits of management changes. Confidential on-farm environmental performance monitoring and reporting can give growers useful tools to optimize agricultural inputs while providing consistent documentation to demonstrate achievement towards buyer sustainability standards and regulatory requirements.Environmental objectives we are focusing on:Water Quantity: reduce water pumped from aquifer. Indicator: Water use efficiency. Measurement: water pumped per irrigated acre compared to crop ET),Water Quality: Reduce nitrate pollution in surface water. Indicator: Nitrate runoff in stormwater. Measurement: sample runoff during at least two storm events, andWater Quality: Reduce nitrate pollution in groundwater. Indicator: Proxy of potential leaching of nitrogen below the root zone. Measurement: Ratio of nitrogen input vs. plant N uptake.
3 PICA metrics Water Use Efficiency Ratio Total water applied (irrig+rainfall) / crop specific evapotranspiration (ETc)Nitrogen Use Efficiency Ratio (as indirect measure of nitrate leaching)[N fertilizer applied + change in soil mineral N+ N water*ETc]/[N in plant biomass (fruit and vegetation)]Nitrogen and sediment loss in storm runoffNitrate Concentration and Total Suspended Solids in runoff leaving the farm
4 Background and Context Grower need: increasing regulatory pressure, increased sustainability reporting burden, seeking information to improve management efficiency, risk management, evidence of practice effectiveness/no negative production impacts to justify investments/management changesAgency need: improve ability to demonstrate conservation outcomes of public and private investmentsPublic need: critical resource concerns of limited water supply and water quality impairmentsOpportunities: Community Water Dialogue, WIN network, industry-led sustainability tracking initiatives (SISC, WGA, etc.), Driscoll’s leadership with RCDSCC in scoping concept of performance-based incentives leading to larger public-private partnership (SusCon, Preservation Inc, UCCE, more diverse growers)
5 performance-based metrics Benefits ofperformance-based metricsProvide measures to optimize water and fertilizer application and reduce costs, manage riskProvide documentation to meet buyer sustainability reporting requirementsProvide documentation to meet regulatory requirements.Useful in combination with practice-based incentives to document conservation benefits of investmentPractice incentives will still play a role in overcoming cost barriers toimplementing some practices but the performance based incentives canreward effective use of those practices and new innovations over time.
6 PICA Accomplishments to date Preliminary framework for metrics and incentives developed and partially piloted inMetrics and monitoring methodology revised and piloted on 10 strawberry farms for growing season in the Pajaro Valley and Elkhorn Slough watershedsWork with private industry and public agencies to explore potential incentives for the programStarting pilot with 13 new ranches
7 2013-2014 Pilot Growers 10 Strawberry Ranches 6 Companies 200 + acres How do these growers make irrigation decisions?Feel methodFlow meterDU evaluationsSoil moisture monitoringHow do these growers make fertilizer decisions?Soil lab analysisleaf petiole analysisPCA recommendationsSpectrum of sophistication of methods for record keeping
8 Metrics are only as useful as the quality of recordkeeping
9 Annual Sampling Schedule (Pilot) Pre-Plant (late summer / fall)Confirm water meter function, take initial readingDetermine monitoring locations for surface runoffDetermine monitoring locations for soil NO₃-N (lbs/acre), collect first sampleDocument fertilizer pre-plant application (lbs/acre)Throughout growing seasonRecord readings from water meter (either main or block level) (AF)Measure and report NO₃-N during 2-3 runoff events (ppm)Measure and report soil NO₃-N (lbs/acre) (once or twice)Document fertilizer applications (lbs/acre)Measure irrigation water N concentrationPost-HarvestMeasure and report soil NO₃-N (lbs/acre)Take final water meter readingMeasure N in plant biomass (fruit and vegetation)
10 Monitoring Performance Water QuantityWater Applied (AF)/Crop EvapotranspirationWater Quality – Stormwater runoffFlowTurbidity (lab)Nitrate Concentration (lab and quick test)Water Quality – Potential Nitrate LeachingSoil nitrate (nitrate quick tests)Irrigation water NFertilizer N applicationN in plant biomass (fruit + vegetation)N Use Ratio
11 Monitoring Performance Lessons we are learning – insert lessons on stormwater sampling in particularINSERT picture of paper towel data tracking
12 Incentive Structure Options Practice incentivesPractice implementationFarm-level ObjectivesAmbient-level ObjectivesPerformance incentivesType of Incentive:On FarmPractice IncentivesPrivatePerformance IncentivesPublicPurpose:Public and private support to accelerate adoption of new management practicesReward achievement of outcomes that provide short-term financial advantage or long-term business viabilityReward achievement of farm level outcomes that collectively will provide public goodExamples:Cost-share on practicesEducation and TrainingTechnical supportGrower: cost savings from reducing inputsBuyer: sustainability reportingContract preferencepricing for crop qualityLenderLand-ownerWater District:Pricing/rebatesRegulatory Agencies:Alternative reporting
13 What incentives do participating growers most value? Data to inform managementKnowing where you stand relative to peersRegulatory reliefCost offsetsCrop Pricing (linked to yield, quality, shelf life)Based on feedback from our Grower Advisory CommitteeSummarize value proposition info from SureHarvest report
14 Next PhasesDevelop a fully functional self-assessment program for berries in the Pajaro ValleyAdjust monitoring methodology, implement on more ranchesPilot incentives with private industry and public agenciesAdapt the PICA model to pilot with other crops and transfer to other geographic locationsDevelop business framework to sustainably manage PICA (including technical assistance, data management, performance reporting)Integrate the PICA model of farm-level performance assessment with industry sustainability tracking and other regional initiatives looking at ambient level metrics, performance and incentives.Explore performance metrics for soil health and climate change resiliency
15 Lisa Lurie – email@example.com 831-464-2950 x 27 Questions?Lisa Lurie – x 27The PICA project is made possible through funding provided by the CDFA Specialty Crop Block Grant program and partner match and in-kind contributions from Sustainable Conservation, Preservation Inc., RCD of Monterey County, NRCS, Driscoll’s Berries, and participating growers. Thank you to all our supporters and partners!