Get the Dirt on Carbon

Wheatbelt farmers now have an opportunity to learn how the Carbon Farming Initiative will impact on them. The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) was introduced in August last year by the Australian government. The program was designed to allow farmers to earn carbon credits by storing carbon or reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Natural resource management group Wheatbelt NRM has organised workshops in Hyden, Merredin, Bencubbin and Dalwallinu to help farmers understand the CFI’s implications. Wheatbelt NRM’s Georgie Troup said it was an opportunity to hear from key leaders in agriculture on the issue. “We’ve already seen the CFI in action when a 15 per cent tax offset was introduced for the purchase of minimum tillage seeding equipment,” Georgie Troup said. “What farmers will learn from this seminar will include what activities they can do to generate carbon credits and the steps to achieve these credits. “This could include planting trees for storing carbon whilst at the same time providing other benefits including enhancing biodiversity, stock shelter and reducing wind erosion.” Georgie Troup said the information presented would be specific to the Wheatbelt. “Every region has its own challenges and opportunities and so it’s important to present the right information for each farming situation,” she said. “There may now be opportunities to privately fund tree planting activities or minimum tillage technology by participating in the CFI.” Also speaking at the workshops is Dr Andrew Wherrett, a scientist formerly based at the Institute for Agriculture of UWA, but now a research manager with York-based company Living Farm. Dr Wherrett has visited 100 paddocks across the Wheatbelt testing the amount of carbon in farming soils. His presentation will focus on just how much carbon soils in the region can hold. Farmers can also hear from the executive director of the Australian Farm Institute Mick Keogh. The AFI independently researches strategic policy issues of importance to Australian agriculture. Mick Keogh grew up on a farm in southern NSW and has worked as a farm manager, agribusiness consultant and policy advisor. The Get the Dirt on Farming seminars are being funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Carbon Farming Initiative Communications Program. The seminars will be held on the Wednesday, 26th September in Merredin and Hyden and the Thursday 27th September in Bencubbin and Dalwallinu. For more information call Wheatbelt NRM on 9670 3100.