Whether it is the Inflation Reduction Act, Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities (PCSC), or
privately backed ecosystem service markets, the past two years have seen unprecedented levels of
funding for farmers to implement conservation practices. While details are still being outlined for the
plans to spend $19 billion over 10years to enhance EQIP, CSP, ACEP, and USDA technical assistance
through the Inflation Reduction Act, contracts are currently being signed for the $3.1 billion dollars
worth of Partnerships for Climate Smart Commodities projects. According to the USDA, the PCSC projects
are expected to reach 60,000 farms, encompassing more than 25 million acres of working land, and will
result in the removal of 60 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. This metric tonnage is equivalent to
removing 12 million gasolinepowered vehicles from the road for one year. Of the 141 projects that were
funded nationally, 22 will be available in Illinois to incentivize climatesmart row crop production, animal
agriculture, and forestry.

Two of ISAs conservation partners were awarded funding under PCSC, the Soil and Water Outcomes
Fund (SWOF) and the Precision Conservation Management Program (PCM). Both programs will be
offering incentives to Illinois farmers to implement conservation practices on their farm.

The Soil and Water Outcomes Fund was founded by AgOutcomes, a subsidiary of the Iowa Soybean
Association, and ReHarvest Partners. They provide outcome based financial incentives to farmers who
transition to onfarm conservation practices such as conservation tillage, planting cover crops, or
nitrogen reductions. Farmer participants provide onfarm data to SWOF, allowing them to calculate the
amount of carbon dioxide sequestered and amount of nitrogen and phosphorus prevented from
leeching into waterways. By stacking multiple positive environmental outcomes of onfarm conservation
practices, SWOF pays farmers of $30.00 per acre. Through PCSC, SWOF received $95 million in funding to
expand across the midwest. Growers interested in learning more about SWOF should visit


The Precision Conservation Management program will be offering multiple conservation practice
incentives to growers in the six PCM regions. PCM participants can choose between up to three incentive
programs depending on their geography. The first incentive program is Farmers for Soil Health (FFSH), a
partnership between the United Soybean Board, National Pork Board, National Corn Growers
Association, and their state level counter parts. FFSH received $95 million from PCSC to increase cover
crop adoption in 20 states. Growers implementing cover crops for the first time can receive $25 the first
year, $15 the second year, and $10 the third year of program enrollment on up to 1000 acres. PCM was
also included in a project lead by Field to Market in partnership with PCMs long term partner, Pepsico.
Field to Market received $70 million to provide conservation funding for growers in over 30 states and
tribal territories. While negotiations are still underway, PCM is slated to receive $8 million dollars to
incentivize the adoption or continuation of conservation practices such as cover cropping, tillage
reduction, and application of nitrogen at the MRTN rate. Pricing varies by practice, but this program is
unique in that it allows farmers who have implemented conservation practices in the past to still receive
incentive payments. PCM farmers will also have access to NRCS RCPP funds for cover crop adoption.
Learn more about PCM and how you can enroll at www.precisionconservation.org.

Enrollment in conservation programs requires some homework on the part of the grower, mostly in the
form of data, to show how your farm is becoming climatesmart. Farmers can expect to provide
information such as field boundaries, previous conservation history, future conservation plans, and crop
management. To help farmers navigate this new space, the ISA Agronomy Team and ILSoyAdvisor
partnered with Moore & Warner Ag Group to develop the Carbon Data Guidebook. It contains advice on
file types, digital tools, the types of practice data needed, and methods to keep track of it throughout
the season. We are excited to publish the guidebook in this issue of the magazine, and a digital version
can be downloaded from

Navigating the conservation funding space can be difficult, and the ISA Agronomy Team is here to help.
We hope to provide more information about ClimateSmart Commodity programs and other ecosystem
service markets through the Illinois Sustainable Ag Partnerships website in the future. In the meantime,
we encourage growers to keep their conservation goals at the front of their minds when choosing which
incentive program is right for their farm. Growers should also be aware that they cannot be paid twice
for the same practice on the same acre when enrolling in federallyfunded conservation programs.
Finally, growers should work with a trusted conservation agronomist when integrating new practices on
their farms.

To discover similar articles to Megan’s in the June Edition of the IL Field & Bean, access the online version at: https://issuu.com/ilsoybean/docs/ill._soy_magazine_june_2023_28pages.

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About the Author: Megan Miller

Megan Miller is the Agronomy Programs Manager for the Illinois Soybean Association (ISA), She works on behalf of Illinois soybean farmers in the development and the implementation of conservation agricultural research and outreach programs. She supports research efforts and helps communicate both in-field and research and validation studies to ISA’s farmer audiences, leads demonstration of conservation agriculture practices, and raises awareness of best management and continuous improvement practices for conservation agriculture in Illinois.

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