Building carbon-rich soil improves the productivity, profitability and resilience of your property – and you can be paid for it.
Landholders can earn an income from carbon credits by registering a project with the Australian Government’s Emission Reduction Fund.
The five most popular methods are:
- Measurement of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural systems
- Human-induced regeneration of a permanent even-aged native forest
- Avoided clearing of native regrowth
- Beef cattle herd management
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from fertiliser in irrigated cotton.
This article focuses on the measurement of soil carbon sequestration in agricultural systems because it allows all eligible farming enterprises to create carbon credits while making the land more productive.
The value of carbon credits really is ‘the cream on top’ of the real benefits realised through improved moisture and nutrient-holding capacity as soil organic carbon increases. The tradeable unit is called the Australian Carbon Credit Unit (ACCU), which represents 1 tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent. (CO2e).
To generate ACCUs, you must register and plan the project, outline eligible management changes, and measure baseline current soil carbon levels. Many third-party carbon project registration bodies offering these services charge up to 30 per cent of the credits for the 25-year lifetime of the project.
This may result in a higher cost overall. You can, however, engage a consultant directly and register your own soil carbon project so you retain ownership of all those carbon credits, capturing their full value as the global carbon market develops.
The Thomas Elder Consulting (TEC) approach to carbon farming is to focus on soil health and the whole farming system benefits, while preparing your business to collect carbon credits through generating land management strategies and baselining soil carbon levels.
TEC has an approved advisrr under the Queensland Land Restoration Fund – Carbon Farming Advice Rebate program. The Carbon Farming Advice Rebate program assists eligible applicants with the cost of accessing advice about undertaking a carbon farming project on their land through the Land Restoration Fund with rebates of up to $10,000.
A $5,000 advance payment from the Federal Government is also available to assist with baseline soil sampling costs when registering projects through the Carbon Farming Initiative.
Article written by TEC agricultural consultant, Peter Spies who specialises in soils.