Carbon farming’s future on video

The Australian Farm Institute (AFI) has been actively involved in monitoring carbon policy and providing decision support tools targeted to farmers, and other stakeholders involved in Australian agriculture and carbon farming projects. AFI is currently undertaking a project which will extend the FarmGAS calculator platform to include videos, presentations, case studies and a web portal to support participation in the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI). One part of the project that the Institute has been heavily involved in is the development of videos that will be available online and in an interactive DVD format as of June 2014. The videos will contain information on the Australian Government’s carbon policy; providing details on the carbon cycle, agricultural greenhouse gas emissions, carbon farming projects, and including four different case studies of farmers from different industries across Australia.

The project is supported by funding from the Australian Government. The government has invested in 24 projects valued at $21.3 million, from 2012–13 to 2016–17, to assist and encourage farmers and land managers to participate in land sector emissions reduction activities and the CFI.

The project undertaken by the AFI aims to inform and educate farmers, land managers and their key influencers about greenhouse gas emissions, carbon policy, on-farm abatement opportunities and participation in the CFI. The Institute has already worked with, and filmed, individual farmers on-site and collected and analysed farm details for each farmer, including general production characteristics and greenhouse gas emissions. The Institute provided each farmer with a report on greenhouse gas emissions modelling for their specific farm in return for the farmer’s cooperation in interviews and farm land video footage. The Institute and an external film crew undertook one day on-site visits in November 2013, interviewing farmers from Emerald (Qld), Jingellic, Goulburn and Wagga Wagga. Each of these case studies focused on a different enterprise: cattle, sheep, cropping and mixed enterprise.

Scientist, Assistant Professor and carbon farming specialist, Richard Eckhard was interviewed as well as industry expert Peter Castellas, CEO of the Carbon Market Institute. They provided views on agriculture’s involvement in carbon farming and the development of CFI methodologies, which should help with reducing agriculture emissions in the future.

Project Plan

The project’s key activities include:

  • Identify, test and review online decision support tools available to farmers and extension advisors.
  • Produce informative videos on the CFI, which include background information from farmers, scientists and industry experts.
  • Collect industry (farm related) data to create case studies to support key messages from the videos and other extension materials.

The interactive videos will be broken down into three parts, each having a set of subheadings, where the audience may select certain chapters to view. Segments will be classified under the following headings; introduction to the carbon cycle, carbon projects and farm case studies.

The tools will be available online and 500 DVDs produced, with 100 copies distributed to extension officers and remaining copies available upon request from AFI. The information available on the DVD can be used by extension officers, agricultural businesses and farmers, when making decisions on carbon farming projects.

The decision support tools will be publically launched in mid-2014, with prior testing by farmers’ extension officers scheduled for March 2014. Email advice regarding the launch will also be distributed to AFI’s members and contact list. AFI invites farmers, industry participants, extension officers and researchers to contact the AFI at info@farminstitute.org.au to learn more about this project.

Back to February 2014 Insights contents page.

Images:  CSIRO, USDA