Reliable Profits for Environmental Stewardship
RIPE is innovative. Unlike federal conservation programs that pay only a portion of the costs incurred by farmers investing in stewardship practices – and unlike climate proposals that only offer carbon sequestration payments that are less than the energy cost increases incurred by the policy – the RIPE Roadmap offers a reliable revenue stream, paying farmers a profit above the cost of the stewardship practice and energy cost increases.
The following stewardship practices are examples of measures that would qualify for payments because they represent opportunities in all agricultural sectors, have established assurance protocols that are science-based and farmer-friendly, and are widely-accepted as best management practices for greenhouse gas benefits, water and soil health.
- Cover crops
- Precision nutrient management
- Organic production
- Improved manure management
- Grazing optimization
- Water conservation
A longer list of stewardship practices will be available for farmers and ranchers to select from, and will include options for small, medium and large farms of all types in all regions.
The RIPE model eliminates the need for extreme and intrusive verification protocols that are frequently used in carbon farming protocols. Evaluation and verification will be completed at the program level with regional and national studies – just as is currently done with existing protocols such as USDA EQIP and CSP. There is no need for the extremely strict verification protocols nor the “additionality” concerns that plagued prior environmental policies with high costs and farmer opposition because the payments are not tied to the level of regulated sector pollution – as is the case in water trading or carbon offset systems. This proposal uses program-level evaluation that provides reasonable assurance, the way most government programs do.