Carbon farming highlights farmers’ custodian role

Farmers spend their days managing carbon in the landscape, but most farmers probably never think of their role in these terms. The Australian farm sector may only account for 2% of Australia’s gross domestic product, but takes responsibility for the environmental management of over 50% of Australia’s land mass. One of the mechanisms for Australian farmers to be recognised for their efforts towards sustainable land and natural resources management includes participation in carbon farming projects.

Recently the Institute launched a Carbon Farming Tools webpage that includes links to short videos on carbon science, carbon markets and on-farm case studies. There are also PowerPoint presentations, case study analyses and an online question and answer portal that can assist farmers and advisors to learn more about carbon farming activities and find answers to questions. The Institute has also enhanced the capabilities of the FarmGAS Calculator with an extra financial modelling tool, which enables farmers, researchers and advisors to compare the emissions reductions and financial performance of various carbon farming projects by generating marginal abatement cost curves. The information generated by the new FarmGAS Financial Tool provides a quick comparison of the cost effectiveness of different methods of greenhouse gas mitigation and carbon sequestration.

Interviews with farmers operating beef, sheep and grain farming enterprises form the central component of the Carbon Farming Tools online resources. The farmers discussed different emissions reduction activities that might be applicable for their specific farm. These activities included planting trees, dietary supplements for livestock, nitrogen fertiliser inhibitors, improved livestock genetics and general changes to farm practices.

Essentially, discussion about these different emissions reduction activities was used in the video production, case study reporting, PowerPoint presentations and the development of modifiable model farms preloaded on the FarmGAS Calculator.

One of the clear outcomes of the carbon farming tools project was that the case study farmers saw carbon farming as a way to show the general public that they were responsible custodians of the Australian landscape and environment. This was highlighted by the following statement made by one of the case study farmers:

We need to do these sorts of things to educate people around the farms as well as in the cities as to what farmers do – we look after the land. If we abuse our land and degrade it, it won’t give us the return that we need to live.

The decision support tools have been launched on the Institute’s Carbon Farming Tools webpage. A DVD of the carbon farming videos is available free of charge from the Institute. If you would like to order a copy please contact the Institute via email at or telephone on 02 9690 1388. 


Images:  Hipnotic Content, AFI

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