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9 November, 2020

Explained: How you can make money from farming carbon

“The biggest misconception is that selling carbon is too hard and you need to use established carbon companies."


FARMERS really can make money out of carbon, the next Elders Presents online event will hear, and tree planting is not the only way.

Ahead of the November 11 online event, carbon pricing expert Raphael Wood of Market Advisory Group said many producers were missing out on opportunities to make money from the carbon market.

“The biggest misconception is that selling carbon is too hard and you need to use established carbon companies,” Mr Wood said. 

“It isn't, and with the right advice, you can do it yourself.”

The second misconception, Mr Wood said, was that carbon farming was commercially unviable.

“Historically, the commercial aspects of carbon farming have been too difficult to pin down because no one really wanted to share that kind of information,” he said.

“But expected returns and costs can all be worked out and feasibility studies can be done.”

Mr Wood said producers could sell carbon in soils involved in commercial agricultural production.

“A 1000-hectare wheat farm that's sequestering three tonnes per hectare per annum is going to be making 3000 carbon credits a year,” Mr Wood said.

“At $20 a tonne, that's $60,000 that will pay for the cost of managing that project and create an income stream to the landholder.”

The caveat was that in order to sell carbon credits, landholders needed to demonstrate practice change, such as increased fertiliser use, that would build carbon levels. 

But those practice changes, Mr Wood said, were the same ones farmers implemented to lift productivity.

“Increasing the soil health brings an increase in productivity and the long-term sustainability of agriculture, so it’s not just the carbon revenue,” he said.

Thomas Elder Institute head Dr Michael Wilkes said the first step for producers interested in entering the carbon market was to establish a baseline.

“Work with an advisor to select the area, conduct your mapping, and develop a land management strategy,” Dr Wilkes said.

“Elders has people on the ground who can help you get that done while making sure all the improvements you make will also make the farm more productive, rather than just ticking boxes.

“We can also arrange to get the audits done and have your project registered without taking a slice of your profits over the next 25 years.”

Dr Wilkes said Elders had fielded an increasing number of inquiries about the carbon market, particularly now that registration for projects to store carbon is for 25 years, rather than 100.

Mr Wood will join experts from Thomas Elder Consulting explaining how to build soil carbon at the next Elders Presents online event on Wednesday, November 11.

There is no cost to participate but registration at https://eldersrural.com.au/tech-services/elders-presents-ag-tech/ is necessary to secure limited places.


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