Noble Land Stewardship Program
The Noble Research Institute Land Stewardship Platform is intended to provide an institute-wide opportunity for collaboration within and among the Producer Relations, Applied Systems, Research and Education cornerstones. Additionally it will provide a mechanism for cooperators to capitalize on their land management activities and accomplishments. Capitalizing on land management activities comes in many forms, from simply having the site specific, real time information enabling timely economic decisions within their own operation to participation in industry partnerships with financial incentives.
The Land Stewardship Platform will focus on four management pillars which include:
1) Ecological efficiencies
2) Production efficiencies
3) Soil resource management
4) Water resource management
These four management pillars provide the framework for an effective land stewardship strategy and outline the direction of measured management activities at the farm level. All four management pillars are based on and encompass nationally recognized soil health building principles.
The functionality of ecological processes such as the carbon and water cycles are often the determinant of ecological health on agricultural lands. Furthermore, the impacts to ecological indicators such as plant cover, species composition, and biological diversity are largely governed by land management decisions (Teague et al., 2011). Biological diversity is commonly referenced within the industry as a driver of ecological health (Laurila-Pant et al., 2015). How those ecological indicators are managed outlines the production efficiency. Production efficiencies outline the relative amount of production balanced by the amount utilized. Soil and water resource management are principal to the success of any ecologically focused stewardship effort. Specifically, indices such as soil organic carbon (the main component of soil organic matter) have impacts across the ecological spectrum and are often utilized as quantifiable measures of biologically active and properly functioning ecosystems (FAO, 2017).
The foundation of this effort is enabling producers to be better land stewards. In order to capitalize on land stewardship activities and accomplishments, producers must have a management plan and be measuring on farm actions and responses. Through the Producer Relations consultation effort, a stewardship management plan will be the overall guiding document for each participant. The stewardship management plan will encompass all land uses on the operation and provide specific planned and scheduled practices that address resource issues and meet landowner objectives. The stewardship management plan must meet minimum stewardship requirements by land use as outlined by Producer Relations. It should be noted that this stewardship management plan is still a plan and should be flexible enough to deal with environmental fluctuations and market volatility.
It is often said that we cannot manage what we do not measure. The hallmark of this program is the on farm measurements defined in the monitoring plan outlining the agricultural and ecological benefits. These data must be searchable, reportable and able to be aggregated at the landscape scale. This defines the need for a state of the art Agricultural Database System. These data will be further refined within a producer portal, organized by stewardship pillar and utilized in ecological calculators defining ecosystem service values.
In addition to the consultation assistance and data management services, participating producers will receive a Noble Land Stewardship Certification. The certification process will verify, based on scientific standards, the stewardship principles and practices utilized by land use (i.e. rangeland, cropland, pasture, etc.). This certification label will be continual once accepted with a biannual certification review. The certification approval and recertification process will be conducted and approved by the appropriate Noble Research Institute consultation team. This certification will allow producers opportunities to receive industry specific premiums for their products and participate in potential ecosystem service financial markets as they develop.
For more information please feel free to contact Jeff Goodwin at firstname.lastname@example.org
located in Cleveland & McClain Counties, Oklahoma