In March 2022, GA-FIT held its first auction for voluntary irrigation suspension incentives. The results affirmed strong interest in exploring this type of incentive. The auction and contracting for incentives gave us real-world experience and lessons learned that will guide future planning and policy. The data gathered from the bidding has informed us about the value of the practice, both in terms of dollars and in terms of environmental benefits.
Here are some summary figures on the 2022 auction:
- We had 87 participants who manage 1,100 fields in the Ichawaynochaway Creek Basin.
- Bids were submitted for 294 fields.
- Participants bid on 3 contract options.
We are very pleased that participating bidders represent over 50% of eligible farmers in the Ichawaynochaway Creek Basin and over 200,000 acres of managed farmland.
Participants were generally very supportive of the GA-FIT auction. 78% of our participants said that they would participate in such an incentive auction if it were offered annually. Some participant comments on the auction included:
Overall this is a great idea for our industry and I am excited to see how it works out!
This is a tool in the toolbox to make sure farmers can continue being good stewards and stay in business.
I believe it is a good start to prove that farmers are THE number 1 steward of the environment and this tool will go a long way to show that we are and will continue to strive to maintain our natural resources.
We are processing the data from the auction and will have more to report soon.