Allowing ag to get stuck in on carbon

Allowing ag to get stuck in on carbon

Amy Walker, assistant manager at Breakfast Creek Station and John Fargher, Agriwebb, conduct soil samples.

Amy Walker, assistant manager at Breakfast Creek Station and John Fargher, Agriwebb, conduct soil samples.


The ag sector does not need further duplication in order to create a viable carbon farming industry according to an ag-tech leader.


ALLOWING agriculture a free rein to get on with managing the opportunities and challenges presented by capturing and trading carbon will help develop the fledgling industry and dispel myths that carbon farming is only a niche field.

This is the opinion of John Fargher, the co-founder of a livestock farm management software company AgriWebb.

"There is the skill out there, there is the capacity and there is the interest, what we would love to see is government allow the businesses already out there to get on with rather than trying to reinvent the wheel," Mr Fargher said.

"Within the carbon sector there are some gaps that need filling but a lot of the ingredients for a successful sector are already there and could benefit from support through the initial stages of the industry getting off the ground."

He said farmers could be initially put off by the concept of capturing carbon, thinking that because they were not organic or because they were commercially orientated they would not be in a position to consider entering the carbon trading field.

"I think that is a critical thing, getting out and communicating that what they are doing is regenerative and it can fit within that framework of carbon farming.

"The old principle of leaving the land in better shape than when you got there, which all farmers strive towards, is at the heart of regenerative ag principles , the farmers just might not have recognised it."

"Boosting carbon levels is important in a commercial sense anyway, it allows the soil to better mineralise nutrients such as nitrogen so it is something farmers are looking at regardless of specifically looking at carbon storage opportunities."

In terms of how farmers actually participated he said he saw two methods.

"For those more comfortable with the procedure they can do their own reporting and get their own credits or you could employ someone to do the heavy lifting and process it for you."

Mr Fargher said he felt the Australian livestock sector was well positioned to take advantage of carbon opportunities by virtue of its set-up.

"We're predominately grazing based rather than feed lots and this pasture based system allows us to work to capture carbon."

"In the higher rainfall areas there are soils with good carbon levels, while in the drier grazing environments the sheer sizes of the properties will mean it can be worthwhile even though the capture per hectare is lower."

He said a key to unlocking marketing and carbon capture benefits would be having systems in place to allow the progress being made to be clearly demonstrated.

"We also have the scope to be fully traceable which can help us tell our story and perhaps command a premium for our product in the marketplace as well as help with the requirements for carbon projects."

"I think we will see a growth in people paying a premium price for premium product - demand will increase."

He said getting farmers set up to take advantage of the opportunities would be one of the challenges.

"To prove your sustainability credentials you need to be able to have the data, so having a workable system is critical."

Mr Fargher said he would love to see a shake-up of how funding for regenerative agriculture projects was allocated.

"In my eyes at present even if money is out there, it doesn't go to good use, we are seeing too much duplication.

"The guys are already out there, they've found a problem, found a need and a solution and gone to market.

"Why go out and recreate that? Even within the RDCs (research and development corporations) there is a lot of doubling up, and I think the funds could be used more efficiently."

"We don't need to go building something new in a lot of cases, go with the provider who is already there and work collaboratively, have the whole community pulling together."

The story Allowing ag to get stuck in on carbon first appeared on Farm Online.


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