Natural Resources Conservation Service Awards Conservation Innovation Grant to K·Coe Isom

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Agricultural landowners are discovering that they can diversify their income by earning money helping to conserve natural resources and create habitat for the sage grouse and other fish and wildlife.

“One of K·Coe Isom’s primary missions is to ensure the success of agricultural landowners,” said Director Brian Kuehl. “This grant is part of that mission"

Landowners in seven Western US states who seek to participate in compensatory mitigation programs now have the opportunity to benefit from a fund that lessens their financial exposure in developing conservation programs on their land. That is thanks to a 2016 Conservation Innovation Grant awarded from the Natural Resources Conservation Service to K·Coe Isom, the nation’s leading agricultural accounting and consulting firm.

With the $433,807 matching grant, K·Coe Isom will work with western landowners to stimulate private investment in habitat mitigation markets in California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana. K·Coe Isom and the NRCS will create a pilot-scale catalyst fund to ensure landowners’ cost recovery for land management activities that restore sage grouse habitat.

By guaranteeing cost recovery and enabling landowner financing, the project will reduce investment risk and attract private capital into habitat mitigation markets. In early 2017, K·Coe Isom will select eight western landowners to participate in the catalyst fund. If this effort is successful, K·Coe Isom will work with private capital sources to increase the size of future catalyst funds to benefit additional agricultural landowners.

Many agricultural landowners are discovering that they can diversify their income by earning money helping to conserve natural resources and create habitat for fish and wildlife. This is called compensatory mitigation. Recent federal policies are prompting oil and gas companies, renewable energy companies, developers, and others to pay landowners to assist with conservation.

These programs help protect or restore endangered or threatened species of plants and animals, land, water and other natural resources. There are, however, significant costs to the landowner in the form of surveys and management planning that must be conducted before the landowner can sell mitigation credits from their property. With the establishment of this fund, expenditures by a participating landowner of up to $35,000 will be recoverable whether the project results in marketable credits or not. The grant will be matched by services provided by K·Coe Isom.

“One of K·Coe Isom’s primary missions is to ensure the success of agricultural landowners,” said Director Brian Kuehl. “This grant is part of that mission. We know there is risk associated with compensatory mitigation programs and this catalyst fund is designed to reduce risk and jumpstart projects that will benefit landowners and the environment.”

In a related effort, K·Coe Conservation is working to bring investors and landowners together to create compensatory mitigation projects. K·Coe Conservation has already enrolled landowners with more than three million total acres who are interested in creating conservation easements or other compensatory mitigation projects on their land.

“Now is a really exciting time to be in the business of conservation,” Kuehl said. “But it doesn’t happen without a lot of effort by agricultural landowners. We are very grateful to NRCS for recognizing the value of landowner-investor cooperation and for exploring creative ways to reduce market risk for these landowners.”    

About K·Coe Isom
K·Coe Isom leads, nationally, as consultants and CPAs in the food and agriculture industry—services constituting more than two-thirds of the firm’s business. The firm is embedded throughout the US food-supply chain—from policy to plate—working with producers, input suppliers, processors, packagers, distributors, biofuel manufacturers, equipment dealerships, landowners, lenders, and many agencies and policy organizations that support the industry. The firm also has regional strengths in community banking, construction and real estate development, transportation, education, healthcare, manufacturing, and technology. K·Coe Isom serves domestic and international clientele from 18 coast-to-coast offices.

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Brian Kuehl
@kcoeisom
since: 02/2009
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