Over the last two decades, Tim Gieseke has worked to understand the ecological and economical balance needed within agriculture.

Many of the ideas and conclusions from that quest are contained in his new book, EcoCommerce 101, The Emergence of an Invisible Hand to Sustain the Bio-Economy, Bascom Hill Publishing Group, $37.95)

The book, Gieseke says, is “a culmination of 20 years of seeking solutions, five years of focusing on a solution, and a year to appreciate the depth of its potential.”

After earning his masters degree, he worked with local, state, and national conservation policy issues and their relationship to production agriculture. In the early 1990s, he began farming in south central Minnesota, where he integrated his conservation experience within an agro-economic system that was at a 30-year low point and received firsthand experience in the dependency that agriculture has on federal farm policy.

He founded Ag Resource Strategies LLC as a vehicle to assist in the development of an outcome-based resource management process for agriculture, agribusiness, and agri-industry, as well as to align those activities with the governmental and non-profit organizations that provide the necessary support for effective resource management to occur.

“Imagine a farmer sitting down to evaluate his production plan for the year,” Gieseke says. “He considers the price of traditional agricultural commodities and how to produce them in certain quantities.

“Now, add a value for soil conditioning, water quality, habitat, and carbon sequestration indices. For example, what if a water quality score of 80 meets the criteria for multiple beneficiaries? It may meet the objectives of a USDA incentive program, and/or an EPA Total Maximum Daily Load regulatory assurance requirement.

“It may also provide market access via Walmart’s sustainability index, generate a tax rebate from the local watershed district, or become an eligibility requirement to engage in a water quality trading program for a waste water treatment plant.