Well, a methodology - or to put it more exactly, an ‘approved’ methodology - is the ‘recipe book’ you need to follow to put a Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) ‘project’ on the ground. Everything you need to do is in this book. Great idea, but there's one small problem - it's written in Greek!
Okay, so not really Greek – but they are hard to understand. The Government-developed ones have ‘tools’ to help navigate this, but privately funded ones will rely on you having to rely on them. However, the entire CFI had at its heart (and I hope it doesn’t lose its heart) the desire that any farmer could take an approved methodology off the virtual shelf, and do a project on their farm.
Now, truth be told, there are quite a few other hurdles to be overcome - becoming an offset entity, getting a project approved, having the funds to put a project on the ground and self insurance being a few. Still, it is possible.
Far more likely that farmers should band together - make a co-operative, for instance - get the economies of scale so necessary in any market, AND a larger pool of carbon - so importance for insurance! This way, even non – landholders who have a passion for the soil /trees and other potential trading areas could be part of what we call in the marketing world the ‘Brand Community’.
Your co-op would have a name, and a branded carbon credit - for example, the ‘you beaut, fantastic, once in a lifetime’ Regional Credit. We are exploring this co-operative structure as a way of ensuring that its not just the big guys who can be traders/owners/custodians of this new space.
Do you think the co-operative structure is a good one for gathering such a group together? It may not even just be for the CFI - it could explore other market potentials as well. Its all part of our vision to keep the money in the regions, and keep this local, before control whizzes out of our hands again.
News from the biosequestration 'enablers' - Let's get biological sequestration mainstream!
Personally, I like the sound of a Biological Farming CRC. We aren't in this product space, so let me know if these are good or bad developments. Do we need some Standards?
Composts, soil conditioners and mulches Standard
The new revised Standard AS 4454 for composts, soil conditioners and mulches includes proposed minimum requirements for products labelled as a composted or pasteurized product. It also proposes physical and chemical requirements and documentation that includes information and health warning to be supplied to the consumer. Guidance is given on best practice for composting and vermicast systems designed to produce a quality product achieved by following an approved process.
The rhizosphere, microbiota and plant health
(can’t comment on this either – haven’t had a chance to look at it)
The journal Plant and Soil
has compiled its second virtual issue of theme-related papers, this time on research results dealing with the rhizosphere, microbiota and plant health. The first virtual issue covered biochar research.
News from the grants space
All agencies have now cottoned onto the fact that the carbon space is where the money is! And competition is huge. Congratulations to all those successful so far. I swear to God we're going to be ready for the next round – hopefully with a bunch of you and a structure to support it all!
I also swear to God we need the approved Government soil carbon measurement system for these as well. Please be advised that there is NOT one at the moment, so any measurements you might use are NOT the ones which will be required for a soil carbon Methodology. Might the one you use be adapted? Not sure.
We're happy to take any comments/queries
on the measurement issues, however we can’t get a definitive reply from the Department because the measurement meth is coming. Seems the demands of the funding rounds are ahead of the official measurement protocol.
Soil carbon project funding
Over 100 research and demonstration projects across the country worth $72.5 million has been announced under the first round of Filling the Research Gap and Action on the Ground grants. The projects will trial and demonstrate a range of on-farm technologies and practices that store carbon, reduce or mitigate emissions of nitrous oxide and methane and improve farm productivity.
Biodiversity Fund grants announced
Several NSW landholders, councils, CMAs and landcare groups have been funded millions to improve biodiversity in their area in the first round of the Federal Government’s Biodiversity Fund. One of the largest grants was $2.6m for Connecting Riverine Communities in the Namoi, a collaborative project between NSW DPI and Namoi CMA.
NEW, NEW, NEW!
Draft methodology funding guidelines for comment. Now, take note! This is an important funding one. Please also note that the dates in this are wrong - it is NOT due to start on July 1 now- so there is a little more time.
We now know we need a methodology - and we know that they are hard to do. After all, do you know how to write up your sequestration or nitrous oxide reduction innovation in Greek? However, here is a grant that reckons it's here to help!
It was this grant round that sent us scurrying to alert innovators to get onto the Positive List – because one piece of this puzzle is that to get a ‘meth’ up and running, the activity needs to be on the Positive List. As reported last newsletter
, several innovators are going through this process. Please let me know if you’d like to be pointed in the right direction.
So, the Federal Government has published draft funding guidelines for the development of carbon farming methodologies, and these are now available for stakeholder comment.
The stated aims of this Grants round is:
- The objective of the MDP is to expand the opportunities for land managers under the CFI through the development of methodologies that meet CFI requirements.
- The program will achieve this objective through support for methodology development projects that have the following characteristics:
- The project involves a methodology that has potential for application across an region or industry because the abatement activity or activities:
- have significant abatement potential
- are cost effective and easily adopted, and/or
- have co-benefits for agricultural productivity, biodiversity or natural resource management.
- The proposed methodology has the potential to be approved under the CFI
We’ll keep everyone in the loop, but in the meantime, get ye to the Positive List!
A request we've received
I can neither recommend nor criticize this product - but, we are the ones willing to foster innovation. Please let me know if anyone takes it up. Maybe its one for the next round of Action on the Ground...
Dear Louisa: thank you for your assistance.
Hibrix Sales Pty Ltd is seeking farmers willing to carry out trials with the Hibrix Organic Liquid Fertiliser. The farmer follows the normal NPK system but reduces the fertilizer and herbicide inputs by 50% and replaces it with the Hibrix sprayed on the ground.
The farmer is not at risk and is assisted by the Hibrix Growth System that monitors the program. Normally farmers dedicate 20 hectares to the trial. Hibrix Sales Py Ltd provides the product, the farmer pays only the delivery from Perth to site.
Any broadacre crop is satisfactory. The farmer needs no change of equipment.
Event we'll be attending - Sydney Soil Security Symposium
Sounds dry, but I do believe these guys are attempting to move to a greater understanding of the soil. Has a good session the evening before entitled ‘why aren’t we talking about soil?’ (why indeed?)
The University of Sydney’s 2012 Agriculture and Environment Research Symposium willdiscuss the development and establishment of international research and policy agreementson soil security.
You probably all know this story, but wouldn't it be good if we avoided the same problem in the soils debate? Can we be leaders, just for once?
Two major solar technologies that were starved of funds in Australia have succeeded offshore; thin-film solar photovoltaic technology was picked up by a young Chinese PhD student attending the University of NSW. He returned to China and developed Suntech Power, the world’s largest producer of solar PV panels. It has made Dr Zhengrong Shi one of the richest men in China - The Conversation 160412.
Coal Seam Gas companies in Queensland are examining the possibility of growing saltbush as fodder, irrigated by the saline water extracted with the gas - ABC 260412.
Do you need an Australian Financial Services Licence for your Carbon Farming Initiative Plans?
Feel free to contact us
with any queries on the CFI; experiences, struggles or just anything you'd like to share.
‘Til next time... Remember, as Kit Pharo
said, “everything you get from the government was taken from someone else.” - hopefully someone who can afford it!