More than 500 farmers, landholders and Indigenous representatives gathered virtually last Friday for the Carbon Market Institute’s 5th annual Carbon Farming Industry Forum, where employment generation was high on the agenda.

They will discuss how to maximise employment, environment and Indigenous benefits as well as how to maximise impact for farmers and agricultural exporters.

Speakers included National Farmers’ Federation CEO Tony Mahar and Meat and Livestock Australia managing director Jason Strong.

With standardised international trading rules due to be confirmed at next month’s COP 26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Carbon Market Institute CEO John Conner said the day was coming when farmers would be able to access international markets and carbon money for their hard work.

“Carbon farmers are involved in trying to stop emissions of heat trapping gases into the atmosphere, as well as drawing them down into vegetation and soils, and that’s something we’re going to need a lot more of to get to net zero emissions,” he said.

“It’s a win for farmers because it’s a stream of carbon revenue that can build resilience to some of the climate shocks and it’s a win for those farms and the environment because you build up the health of the ecosystem more generally.”

Nadia Campbell, who also spoke at the forum, believes the project has even resulted in better quality beef through improvements to their grazing operation such as upgraded pastures and reduced soil erosion.

“It’s also given us a diverse income stream. In times of drought when you’re running lower numbers of stock it is certainly comforting knowing you’ve got another form of income coming in through carbon. It’s also allowed us to invest and put in improved water infrastructure and fencing on the property.”

“I really can’t fault it. It’s dovetailed perfectly into our business, it’s enhancing our ecological health, it’s enabling us to help the environment. It’s improving the quality of land for our cattle as well.

“We provide protein to the world and are paid for that but now we can also be paid for the carbon we sequest. My message for other farmers and especially graziers is to make hay while the sun shines.”

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