Building Capacity of Climate Carbon Knowledge in the Northern & Yorke Farming Community

Building Capacity of Climate Carbon Knowledge in the Northern & Yorke Farming Community

About the Project

Methods and means in which to capture carbon in farming landscapes will be described in two processes; a public conference, A Climate of Opportunity in Agriculture delivered by Ag Excellence Alliance in August 2021 and a peer guided follow up to further explore the most pressing issues relating to Carbon that emerge from the forum, through appropriate methods (ie workshop, field day, soil pit etc).

Topics covered at the conference include tools for understanding methods for carbon trading, soil profiling and potential for carbon storage, industry targets and sustainability frameworks, novel markets and marketing, land management incorporating vegetation into farm landscape etc. An opportunity to submit preferences for follow up will be provided to the audience through the event evaluation using an App to collate in real-time. The highest-ranking issues will be taken to the Farming Systems network to further develop the concept for localised learning.

  • Funder: Australian Government’s National Landcare Program

  • Date: 2020 - 2022

  • Project Lead: Emma McInerney

  • Budget: $34,000

Further Information

Landholders in the Northern and Yorke region will be better positioned to make decisions relating to increasing soil carbon and identifying suitable markets or other targets in which to engage.

Many landholders are confused by carbon trading and don’t understand how they might engage with schemes that reward carbon storage in soils. There is general recognition that soil carbon depletion is occurring across agricultural enterprises which concerns farmers as it relates to soil health and productivity.

The conference in August will provide a broad range of speakers to highlight the ideas and concepts of farmers, researchers and markets for carbon amongst other solutions to address climatic challenges. The conference will collate preferences to inform follow up workshops on topics that participants believe will have the most impact.

The subsequent workshops will take place in two locations in the Northern and Yorke region with expertise sought to contribute theoretic or practical instruction to a group at a mutually suitable time (Feb-April 2021). They will be planned with trusted farmer networks for a better understanding of what the carbon economy has to offer and how they might engage in on-ground opportunities such as the ERF.

As a result, farmers will guide the most important aspects of learning relating to carbon and then encourage peers through farming systems networks to participate in local learning to gain confidence in decision making as it relates to carbon.

Project Objectives
  • To improve soil carbon and landholder understanding of the opportunities that exist for addressing carbon.
  • Landholders and industry representatives will be broadly exposed to carbon opportunities through a conference setting, hearing from scientific experts and farming peers on adopted practices or novel thinking. Exposure to the latest thinking is designed to inspire attendees to seek further information and resources.
  • The secondary workshop setting will further enhance skills and knowledge by targeting the topics that landholders see as most applicable or most in need of understanding better. This will provide a forum for training and detailed learning that would allow attendees to engage actively in a practice that promotes soil carbon.
Importance of Improving Soil Carbon

Improving soil carbon and reducing atmospheric CO2 is one way in which to proactively address climatic realities and may provide some landholders with opportunities in emerging markets.  Alternatively, the ecosystems services value to farmland through increased SOC may appeal to the productivity-oriented producer where SOC is reducing in farming landscapes and affecting the long term productivity outlook.

Having an informed farming community is important. De-mystifying carbon markets and biodiversity credits, SOC potential, consumer trends and sustainability targets will turn scepticism into decision making and confidence. A farming community that understands the options available in regard to carbon will respond more consciously and talk more openly about what it means in a localised context.

Project Activities

The Ag Excellence Alliance will host a conference in August 2021 with a program that addresses climate emergency through opportunities relating to carbon. Speakers with high regard and audience appeal will fill the program, with a clear and practical messaging and a collection of direct actions and resources that attendees can follow up. Having a keynote speaker that will draw this farming community together around carbon is required.

The event evaluation will collate feedback but also identify priority areas for further learning within a localised setting. This will be captured by an App on the day and will inform planning for localised events. Collation and dissemination of data is required.

Two workshop-based events will be held, incorporating feedback from the conference and consult with trusted farming systems groups to ensure community buy-in. Expert presenters are required and will address the topic through theoretical or practical means in a full-day event.