Engaging farmers in southeastern Australia into carbon farming through trusted, independent advisors.
The Carbon Farming Knowledge project has proven to be extremely effective in engaging 30 farm advisers, who are the key influencers of farmers across southeastern Australia, in building their knowledge, understanding, and attitude to reducing GHG emissions on farms and storing carbon across the farming landscape. In three years, the project has shifted the advisers and a majority of their farmer clients from ignorance and sceptics of carbon farming to where they are now actively engaged in positive discussions on how farm practices can be changed to reduce emissions and build carbon in soils and vegetation.
A critical aspect of the project has been the interaction between key researchers and farm advisers. Researchers commended the project on being able to: translate the science, helping advisers to understand the context of information completely and distill it down to the important [issues], that advisers would be discussing with their clients.
One researcher involved in all the adviser workshops noted how the conversation changed over the course of the workshops; where you could see the greater in-depth knowledge and [maturity of] knowledge as consultants identified the information most relevant to their clients and farmers.
The researchers noted that farm advisers are incredibly powerful gatekeepers so long as they are dedicated to change. Their participation in the process was noted as vital and that involvement in private consultation has become far more important in the future. Their involvement was also noted as being important in generating awareness of sustainable agriculture and an understanding that they are custodians of carbon. It was important that this message: that it can be a viable business practice, came from commercial consultants, as opposed to a hard sell by the government. Researchers felt this came across in the project process as a balanced message.
Download the below report to continue reading more outcomes from this project.