The economic nuts and bolts of providing environmental payments to farmers, ranchers and other rural landowners were discussed at a conference April 17 and 18, 2012, in Washington, D.C. The conference was organized by USDA Economic Research Service, in collaboration with Farm Foundation, NFP and Resources for the Future.  This video of the conference will be available for viewing through April 2013.
Conference presentations examined ways to improve the efficacy of current and proposed approaches for providing environmental payment, toward the goal of increasing the environmental value of the investments while maximizing scarce budget resources. Among the approaches discussed were payments provided by government; private entities responding to government mandates, such as offsets trading; and voluntary efforts by private entities with environmental objectives.

The conference was targeted to policy makers federal and state agency staff, producer groups, environmental organizations, NGOs and academic researchers.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012
9:00 a.m.
Session 1: Introductions
Mary Bohman, USDA Economic Research Service (ERS)
Bill Hohenstein, USDA Office of the Chief Economist (OCE)

9:30 a.m.
Session 2: How Baselines, Quantification and Payments Come Together

Session Chair: John Kadyszewski, American Carbon Registry and Winrock International
Pay-for-Performance: Results from Pilot Studies
Jonathan Winsten, Winrock International
Greenhouse Gas Offsets in a Cap-and-Trade System
John Horowitz, USDA ERS
The Baseline Approach for Water Quality Trading
Josh Duke, University of Delaware

10:45 a.m. Break

11:00 a.m. Session 3: Paying for Expected Enivronmental Outcomes: Tools for Ex Ante Quantification
Session Chair: Diana Pape, ICF International
Karolien Denef, Colorado State University
Carbon Reporting with Forest Vegetation Simulator
Coeli Hoover, U.S. Forest Service
Changsheng Li, University of New Hampshire

12:15 p.m. Session 4: Paying for Expected Environmental Outcomes: Tools for Ex Ante Quantification
Session Chair: Chris Hartley, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
NutrientNet/Nutrient Tracking Tool: Quantifying Nutrient Reductions for Maryland's WQT Program
Mindy Selman, World Resources Institute
Measuring Up: Synchronized Biodiversity Measurement Systems for Markets and Other Incentive Programs
Bobby Cochran, Willamette Partnership
Fort Hood Recovery Credit System
David Wolfe, Environmental Defense Fund

1:15 p.m. Lunch

1:45 p.m.
Session 5: Compliance: How Well Can We Verify Contracted Practices are Carried Out?

Session chair: Rich Batiuk, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Verifying Conservation Practices for Environmental Services
Norm Widman, USDA NRCS
Tree-Planting Contracts
Monty Maldonado, U.S. Forest Service
Remote Sensing of Crop Residue
Craig Daughtry, USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
Verification Site Visits
Bryan Crook, USDA Farm Service Agency, Texas State Office

3:15 p.m.
Session 6: Paying for Actual Environmental Outcomes:
Tools for ExPost Quantification

Session Chair: Molly Brown, National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASA)
Detecting Water Quality Benefits from Conservation Programs
Greg McCarty, USDA ARS
Carbon Sequestration
Ray Hunt, USDA ARS
Northern Everglades Payments for Environmental Services Program
Len Shabman, Resources for the Future

4:15 p.m. Break

4:30 p.m.
Session 7: Strategies to Address Leakage and Stacking
Session Chair: Arun Malik, George Washington University
Brian Murray, Duke University
Stacking Environmental Services from Agriculture
Rich Woodward, Texas A&M University

Reception will immediately follow the last session

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

8:00 a.m. Breakfast

8:45 a.m.
Session 8: Strategies to Enhance Additionality
Session Chair: Dave Newburn, University of Maryland
How well can land use be predicted?
Andrew Plantinga, Oregon State University
How well do past practices predict future practices?
Luba Kurkalova, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
Additionality of Existing Conservation Programs for Working Land
Roger Claassen and Eric Duquette, USDA ERS

10:00 a.m.
Session 9: Reverse Auctions

Session Chair: Nate Higgins, USDA ERS
Conestoga Reverse Auctions
Mindy Selman, WRI
Suzie Greenaigh, Landcare Research NZ
The Wetlands Reserve Program Experience
Noel Gollehon, USDA NRCS
Maryland Blue Crab License Buybacks
Jorge Holzer, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

11:15 a.m. Break

11:30 a.m.
Session 10: Private Markets for Environmental Services
Session Chair: Kitty Smith, American Farmland Trust
Providing Environmental Services from Agricutlure in a Budget-Constrained Environment: The View From A Colorado Ranch
Terry Fankhauser, Colorado Cattlemen's Association
Markets for Hunting: The View From Daybreak Ranch
Jim Faulstich, Farmer/Rancher
Overcoming Transactions Costs: Experiments From Oil and Gas Leasing
Tim Fitzgerlad, Montana State University

12:45 p.m. Lunch

1:30 p.m.
Session 11: Market-Based Regulation of Agricultural Externalities

Session Chair: Adele Morris, Brookings Institute
Environmental Regulation of Agriculture in New Zealand
Suzie Greenhalgh, Landcare Reserach NZEnvironmental Regulation of U.S. Agriculture
Cathy Kling, Iowa State University

2:15 p.m.
Session 12: Further Issues for Improving Provision of Environmental Services

Session Chair: Al McGartland, U.S. EPA
"Nudges" for Increasing Participation in Conservation Programs
Steve Wallander, USDA ERS/OCE
Assurance: Who Bears the Burden if Environmental Goals are Not Met?
Kathy Segerson, University of Connecticut
Putting the Components Together to Create the Northern Everglades PES Program
Sarah Lynch, World Wildlife Fund

3:30 p.m Break

3:45 p.m.
Session 13: Tying Payments More Closely to Performance, Reducing Transaction Costs
and Other Strategies for Improving Cost Effectiveness
Session Chair: To be named
Ann Mills, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Natural Resources and the Environment
Jim Faulstich, Farmer/Rancher
Cathy Kling, Iowa State University
Lynn Scarlett, Resources for the Future

4:45 p.m. Adjourn