Using Market Mechanisms to Reduce the Use of Fertilizers and Pesticides in States Bordering the Great Lakes
This team secured approval from USDA to offer nutrient BMP insurance policies in Wisconsin to reduce use of nitrogen and phosphorus in corn, and it led education and marketing activities to support these policies. The team also developed a Nutrient Management Verification Pilot Program—a ‘warranty’ that provides a financial guarantee that a farmer will not lose money if he adopts a BMP recommendation. Team members then repackaged their guarantees as performance warranties rather than insurance products. In conjunction with the National Crop Insurance Services and the IPM Institute, they launched a website to promote the new nutrient BMP policies. In 2005 the team was able to implement their project on over 1455 acres for fertilizer reduction and over 544 acres for pest control reduction. Since then the product has continued to grow. The team has developed a brochure and fact sheets for outreach and established a new project website. In addition, the team secured a $684,000 USDA Conservation Innovation grant for a water quality trading project. The trading work would build upon their current efforts by using the nutrient demonstrations, the BMP performance guarantees, and the program marketing.