Soil Carbon Scheme a World-First for South Australian and Victorian Farmers

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Author: Jess Davis | Published: August 10, 2017

Farmers in Victoria and South Australia are taking part in a world-first carbon capture scheme to generate a new source of income.

The farmers won a bid under the latest round of the Federal Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) announced in April.

One of the farmers, Mr Farmer Steven Hobbs, said the scheme was a bit tokenistic, but that ”a little bit of tokenism was better than none”.

“Unfortunately, there’s a lot of double standards in the way our Government is approaching our emissions and it’s very tokenistic in many respects,” he said.

But Mr Hobbs said it was a good first step that the Federal Government had recognised soils were capable of storing carbon.

Farming Soil Carbon

The ERF is an auction available to farmers and land managers for projects to capture carbon, similar to the capture of methane in landfill or piggeries.

For soil carbon, farmers are paid roughly $10 for each carbon credit based on how much carbon they can sequester in their soil over a 10-year period.

Farming is like mining soil, said project leader Deane Belfield, Director of Regenerative Australian Farmers.

Mr Belfield said a lot of carbon had been released through farming over time and the plan was to try to reverse the process.

“The incentive for the farmer is to implement regenerative farming practices, to draw down the carbon into the soil, and that’s what they get paid for,” he said.

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