An emphasis on knowledge-sharing will give farmers the tools to increase engagement in carbon farming, the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt, said today. 

“Farmers have told us they are up for change, but they want to know what they need to do and where they can get the information to do it,” the Minister told the Forum, which is being hosted in Cairns by the Carbon Market Institute. 

Establishing carbon credit projects on farmland can help farmers get through tough times, in addition to delivering important environmental benefits, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt, said today. 

Carbon farming can also be a great way “to insulate against dry or unprofitable times”, Minister Watt told a Carbon Farming Industry Forum that also heard from a wide range of farm sector speakers on their decarbonisation efforts.  

The government’s Carbon Farming Outreach program is designed to help farmers “understand their options and make informed decisions about the best way forward for their operation”, he added.  

The federal government has also awarded an $87 million grant to establish a new Zero Net Emissions for Agriculture CRC that will officially launch on July 1, and its chief executive Richard Heath told the Forum the federal funding had been matched by another $87 million from 73 partners of the CRC. 

The level of funding and in-kind support going to the CRC has a total value of about $300 million, which demonstrates the widespread recognition of the need for urgent action in the farming sector, Heath said. 

Heath said the CRC would focus on four work programs – low-emissions plant solutions, towards methane-free cattle and sheep, whole farm and mixed enterprise systems analysis, and delivering value from net zero. 

It will also establish a network of 25 demonstration sites around Australia, showing what can be achieved in different types of farm operations, he said. 

Sam Brown, chief executive of Agricultural Innovation Australia, described to the Forum AIA’s first of its kind greenhouse gas accounting framework, which allows mixed farming businesses to establish their whole of business carbon footprint. 

The AIA’s founding members include Australia’s 15 Rural Research & Development Corporations.  

Sarah Hyland, Grain Growers’ policy manager for sustainability and natural resource management, is running a program of “carbon curious” dinners for members, introducing them to key concepts, including the preparation of emissions baselines. 

Hyland noted the significance of export markets for the Australian grains industry, and Carly Burnham, director and finance manager at Queensland cattle company Bonnie Doone Beef, described how she and her family began to focus on its beef business as an ecological operation and to “put the environment first”.  

“Through our practice changes, our pasture management, we have doubled our productivity so we are a lot more resilient economically,” she said. 

Achievements through that process have included an allocation of 96,000 Australian carbon credits from a soil carbon project.  

The Carbon Market Institute will be attending the Sustainable Agriculture Summit 2024, hosted by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. 

The Carbon Farming Industry Forum continues today in Cairns, featuring speakers representing farmers and land managers, including Traditional Owners, as well as regulators, and investors.   

Ahead of the opening day at the Forum, CMI released its third annual Carbon Farming Roadmap report, which evaluates the progress of all Australian jurisdictions in fostering growth & ambition across the industry, as well as facilitating transparency and integrity. The full report is available here. 

About the Forum 

The Carbon Farming Industry Forum will take place in-person at the Shangri-la The Marina from May 20-22 in Cairns. The Forum Program includes interactive plenaries, workshops and networking spread across two days, Tuesday 21st and Wednesday 22nd May 2023. 

Under the umbrella theme of “Connecting Country, Community & Climate”, the 2024 Forum will focus on the following key themes providing a framework for discussions: 

  • Carbon Farming Market Developments, Optimising Policy Frameworks & Market Design 
  • Agricultural & Land Sector Decarbonisation 
  • The Nature & Climate Nexus 
  • Communicating Benefits & Building Capacity 

The Forum is a national event convening the major stakeholders across the land-sector carbon credit supply chain to reflect on industry progress against the Carbon Farming Industry Roadmap. 

About the Carbon Market Institute  

The Carbon Market Institute (CMI) is a member-based institute accelerating the transition towards a negative emissions, nature positive world. It champions best practice in carbon markets and climate policy, and its around 150 members include primary producers, carbon project developers, Indigenous organisations, legal, technology and advisory services, insurers, banks, investors, corporate entities and emission intensive industries. The positions put forward constitute CMI’s independent view and do not purport to represent any CMI individual, member company, or industry sector.  

For further information, contact Thomas Hann on 0408 880 536 or 

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