As a result of the Carbon Farming Knowledge project funded by the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture through the Outreach & Extension program of the Carbon Farming Future initiative, there are now thirty independent farm advisers across South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania who have the skills and knowledge to support farmers and industry networks on:
- The Emissions Reduction Fund and the risks and opportunities for farm businesses to participate in the ERF.
- Greenhouse gas management and practices to reduce emissions on farms
- Opportunities to sequester carbon and improve carbon management in farming systems
The Emissions Reduction Fund
The Emissions Reduction Fund is a voluntary scheme that aims to provide incentives for a range of organisations and individuals to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce their emissions. It is enacted through the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Act 2011, the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Regulations 2011 and the Carbon Credits (Carbon Farming Initiative) Rule 2015.
A number of activities are eligible under the scheme and participants can earn Australian carbon credit units (ACCUs) for emissions reductions. One ACCU is earned for each tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2-e) stored or avoided by a project. ACCUs can be sold to generate income, either to the government through a carbon abatement contract, or in the secondary market.
- There is a farm adviser near you who was involved in the Carbon Farming Knowledge project. If you want to know more about carbon farming and how it applies to your business give them a call to find out more.
- This website provides regular updates on carbon farming technologies and policy as it becomes available. Sign up to receive the Latest News blogs as they are posted on line.
Regional Connections is a Port Lincoln based company that specializes in the development, management and delivery of projects concerning sustainable agriculture, natural resource management and climate change.
The company managed the delivery of the Carbon Farming Knowledge project with a consortium of five other highly experienced farm consultants from across SA and Victoria. The project used proven extension and adoption methodologies to ensure effective change in attitudes and practices of farmers being influenced in the project. The project went beyond getting a research message out to farmers – it worked through a complex topic, understanding its implications for farming enterprises and equipped many advisers to engage and support farmers in carbon management into the future. A critical element
underpinning the project was that the advisers already had a trusted relationship with their farmer clients and understood the individual bus
iness circumstances of the farm.
The Carbon Farming Knowledge project consortium team: Peter Cousins, Mark Stanley, Bill Long, Cam Nicholson, Mick Faulkner and Harm van Rees.
Contact Regional Connections if you would like to learn more about carbon farming and the Emissions Reduction Fund. Specifically designed workshops can also be ran for grower groups that can meet the individual needs of the audience. firstname.lastname@example.org
What did the Carbon Farming Knowledge project achieve?
The emphasis of this project was to build farm adviser knowledge, with the expectation this would lead to changes in the knowledge, beliefs and ultimately actions of their farming clients. It was assumed that a difficult subject like climate change required more than just a transfer of knowledge, it also needed time to make sense of the information and identify what actions might be appropriate to fit an individual farming business. This required time for one to one discussion. The established trust and confidence that already existing between client and advisors was recognised as an inexpensive way to enable those discussions to occur (Coutts et al, 2016) if the advisers could be better informed about the agricultural sources leading to climate change and what could be done about reducing them.
It is clear from the project evaluation that a very large change in knowledge and understanding has occurred at both the advisor and farmer level. Three adviser surveys conducted during the project (not reported here) showed a massive shift in knowledge as well as confidence in identifying and knowing what actions a farmer could take. This has translated into farmer knowledge, with a profound shift recorded in farmer knowledge on the impacts of climate change on their farm business. The increase in knowledge, whether it was from a very low or a moderately high starting base, was statistically highly significant. The change in both advisor and farmer knowledge occurred in just over two years.
The extension model used will leave a lasting legacy. Most change on farm requires the operator to (i) want to change, (ii) know how to change and (iii) have the capacity to implement change because there are appropriate practices to adopt that are profitable. The Carbon Farming Knowledge project has rapidly influenced the first two of these three criteria by achieving a positive shift in the recognition that change is required and by providing the knowledge, via the adviser, to identify what change is appropriate for an individual farm business. Unfortunately, the possible actions that could be used to capture Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) were, and remain, very limited for most broad acre farmers.
SA Government Climate Leaders Award
Regional Connections was awarded the SA Premier’s Climate Change Council SA inaugural Climate Leaders Award in December 2017.
The award was won on the back of the success of the Carbon Farming Knowledge project managed by Regional Connections.
The award recognised achievements by industry to adapt to climate change, reduce emissions, raise awareness and to help develop a low carbon economy. The award was recognition for three and a half years of dedicated work that was put into delivering the project.