PERTH, AUSTRALIA – Tuesday 27th August 2019
Most farmers will be aware that soil organic carbon plays a significant role in soil health and the effectiveness of rainfall. Most farmers have also watched their soil carbon levels decline over time and no real answers have been put forward on how to increase it.
Louise Edmonds of Carbon Sync believes the answer lies in a practice called Regenerative Agriculture. She has been sponsored by DPIRD to participate in the week long Curtin Ignition Business Accelerator Program to put her assumptions through the mill and her ideas past some seasoned entrepreneurs and investors.
Regenerative Agriculture appears to be the buzz around town these days but what is it exactly? There are five key principles:
- maintain a living root in the soil year-round
- increase plant biodiversity
- keep the soil covered
- minimise disturbance and
- integrate livestock.
Regenerative agriculture has been shown to improve rainfall infiltration and water use efficiency, decrease crop loss from pests and disease, reduce weed burdens, improve nutrient cycling, reduce reliance on external fertility and chemical inputs, build resilience to the extremes of weather; floods, droughts and frosts and improve all indicators for biodiversity, resulting in lower cost, lower risk operations.
Something that is not well known is that Australia has one of the most advanced carbon markets in the world. We have nationally legislated methodologies and carbon credits are currently purchased by the Federal Government, State Governments, big companies that have compliance obligations (under Australia’s version of an emissions trading scheme called the Safeguard Mechanism) and voluntary buyers.
Even more exciting is that in 2018 the Australian Government approved a soil carbon storage methodology that pays farmers based on how much carbon they can store in their soil.
From Louise’s perspective the soil carbon methodology is a game changer for Agriculture.
“Soil carbon is a new commodity, you can grow it while growing your crops and your livestock. It is an additional income stream and the most powerful insurance policy against a changing climate. Healthy soils are healthy because of the carbon present” says Louise.
“The potential for farmers to play a really significant role in reversing climate change is real. If every farmer in the wheatbelt of WA adopted these practices and removed just two tonne of carbon per hectare per year we could remove 150% of WA’s greenhouse gases every year”, she says.
Louise intends to run a pilot project across the wheatbelt. The invitation is for sixty farmers from Geraldton and Esperance to participate in a farm-scale commercial pilot to demonstrate what can be done. The pilot will deliver four years of education and training to farmers in the programme. The training will be delivered by some of the very best people in the world in the field of regenerative agriculture.
“Farmers will be intensively supported, our team will have boots on the ground, supporting farmers through the process every step of the way.” says Louise
While the program is still being finalised Louise invites anyone who is interested to visit her landing page at www.carbonsync.com.au and submit an expression of interest to be updated as the programme develops.
To find out more, please register your interest in our programme.