CARBON & REGEN FARMING
Improving farm soil health for increased productivity, profitability and resilience.
Carbon Farming is a whole farm approach to optimizing carbon capture on working landscapes by implementing practices that are known to improve the rate at which CO2 is removed from the atmosphere and stored in plant material and/or soil organic matter. Carbon Farming is a framework for engaging with the agroecosystem processes that drive system change. Carbon farming explicitly recognizes that it is solar energy that drives farm ecosystem dynamics and that carbon is the carrier of that energy within the farm system. Carbon farming is synonymous with the term ”regenerative agriculture” when that term is explicitly rooted in an understanding of the underlying system dynamics and positive feedback processes that actually make a “regenerative” upward spiral of soil fertility and farm productivity possible.
There is an ongoing debate as to whether farmers should retain their registered carbon credits as the market moves towards ‘carbon neutrality’ requirements.
Carbon credits can only be used once to offset emissions. Some people are cautioning against the sale of farm-generated carbon credits to third parties as for a farmer’s ledger to be accurate the credits may be required to offset the farm’s own emission footprint.
Whole of Farm Emission Assessment
To be ‘carbon neutral’ a farm firstly must account for their existing emission footprint. This includes emissions from energy, methane from animals & slurry and nitrate oxides.
Once the farm and its operations have been measured then every action to reduce this existing operational footprint can be used to move towards net zero or even negative carbon emissions.
Australia’s rural industries and businesses have potential to participate
in carbon markets that are rapidly being developed around the world.
International top 500 companies are quickly learning how they can
participate in formal and voluntary carbon schemes, undertake
abatement activities and sequester carbon through creating carbon
sinks or purchasing carbon credits; agricultural communities and
business have an opportunity to be part of this conversation.
The ‘Making cent$ of carbon and emissions on-farm’ booklet focuses on practical actions that farm businesses can take now to improve their emissions performance.
In many cases, actions to reduce emissions or increase carbon on farms have multiple benefits for farm businesses, such as increasing farm health and profitability.
Agriculture Victoria has packaged together the latest science around soil carbon. This updated resource in booklet form, now includes links to 70 research references and soil carbon reports relevant for Australian agriculture. If you are trying to better understand the fundamentals of soil carbon in agriculture, this is a great new resource to start your journey.
The Victorian Government has commenced the On-Farm Emissions Action Plan Pilot as part of its commitment under the Agriculture Sector Emissions Reduction Pledge to provide practical information, tools and services to support farmers to understand and reduce emissions.
Many farmers appreciate the value of well-designed tree plantings and healthy carbon-rich soils for their farms. There are also many other positive benefits from farm trees and healthy soils that deliver economic and productivity benefits to farmers. However, many are also wondering if selling carbon credits from their trees or soils is a worthwhile activity.
Agriculture Victoria run regular webinars on topics relevant to primary producers and others working in agriculture.
A range of topics discussed include:
- Seasonal risk
- Climate change projections and impacts
- Adaptation opportunities
- Innovative farming practices
- Soil moisture monitoring.
Webinars are free for anybody to view.
VIEW AGRICULTURE VIC WEBINARS>
Photo and text courtesy of Cam Nicholson
The Victorian Farmers Federation is actively engaged in farm demonstrations, data collection, analysis and information sharing about regenerative agriculture, carbon neutrality and natural capital farm ledgers.
We are especially keen to foster conversations with stakeholders from the local community, policy decision-makers and anyone with an interest in the well-being of the rural economy.