Fore more than a decade Michael and Louisa Kiely have being promoting the benefits of carbon farming, both productivity and economic.
They are Carbon Farmers of Australia directors and believe primary production landholders could increase their on-farm income by selling the carbon improvements in their soil.
“If you’re selling a cow you’ve got to sell the cow, you can keep its dung and urine and make use of those but once the cow’s gone it’s gone,” Mrs Kiely said.
“Let’s say you had your soils measured and there was 10 tonnes of carbon per hectare in them.
“Then you did your lupins or other cropping, composting, all of those that are known to increase your soil carbon and then at the end of a period of time you measure it again and you’ve got 20 tonne per hectare.
“It’s the resource, or product, that you can sell but keep the benefits on farm.”
Carbon Farmers of Australia want to increase awareness of options available, and move the discussion away from just growing trees.
“Photosynthetic activity is where the magic happens,” she said.
“Every blade of grass is a solar panel and they are taking in the CO2 from the air, reducing the load that is in the air, they’re using it in their own structures and taking it down into the roots and down to the microbial life down below.”
“The beauty of improving the soil carbon is that as the carbon improves the water holding capacity improves and the structure improves.
“A long time ago maybe farmers would do things for the co-benefits, improve the soil and increase the productivity, but now there’s a market that will reward it as well.”
Mrs Kiely said the government has a $2.5billion fund – Emissions Reduction Fund – to buy carbon but there was also a growing secondary market driven by companies looking to offset their carbon emissions.
A two-day carbon farming conference will be held in Albury in August 2019.