Today marks an important milestone in the transition of agriculture from a source of greenhouse gas emissions to significant carbon sink. Corporate Carbon is proud to receive the first carbon credits issued for a soil carbon project under the Emissions Reduction Fund.
'Not only will these soil carbon credits be the first to count towards Australia's national targets under The Paris Agreement but they are the first soil credits worldwide to be eligible under Paris', said Corporate Carbon Managing Director, Matthew Warnken.
The credits were received by the Grounds Keeping Carbon Project, which showcases the work of a Victorian innovation and farming system that creates soil carbon in pastures at rates comparable with forests. The Soilkee Pasture Renovator combines cultivation, mulching, aeration and mixed species seeding to improve grazing systems and build soil carbon effectively. The higher the soil carbon levels the more productive and healthy the farm.
'We are very proud to have achieved this formal recognition for Soilkee', said founder, inventor and Gippsland farmer, Niels Olsen. 'The opportunity for expanding regenerative farming and building soil carbon at scale is phenomenal and we are now ramping up our production to deliver on this potential.'
The soil carbon credits were presented to Corporate Carbon and Niels and Marja Olsen, on their Hallora farm, at an issuance ceremony by the Chair of the Clean Energy Regulator David Parker. 'He said, 'Soil carbon capture and sequestration is an innovative emissions reduction measure. There is a triple win in aiding international efforts to address climate resilience, improving soil health and food productivity, and the bottom line for farmers. This project is an example of the co-benefits that can be achieved under the Emissions Reduction Fund, and a beacon of innovation in the Agricultural sector,' Mr Parker said.
Australia is in a world leading position on soil carbon due to the bipartisan support of successive Australian governments and the work of the Clean Energy Regulator and the Department of the Environment and Energy. 'This first issuance of credits is as much a recognition of the cumulative effort from early soil carbon farming pioneers and practitioners, as it is a vote of confidence in the ability of soil carbon to deliver millions of tonnes of abatement in the future', said Mr Warnken.
Corporate Carbon also announced the formal launch of AgriProve, a one-stop solution shop for soil carbon projects. 'AgriProve now becomes the special purpose vehicle for developing soil carbon projects,' said AgriProve Executive Director Gary Wyatt.
AgriProve has an ambitious agenda as the Soilkee commercial model is poised to be mainstreamed. 'Our immediate goal is to involve 100 farms, on 100 hectares, increasing soil carbon by one per cent over 100 months. The longer-term plan is to grow soil carbon farming exponentially', Mr Wyatt said.
Farmers, landholders, project owners and developers that are interested in implementing soil carbon projects should contact AgriProve.
AgriProve is a special purpose vehicle established by Corporate Carbon, Australia's largest multi-sector carbon contractor under the Emissions Reduction Fund. We have a range of solutions to facilitate participation in the ERF and are working with many of Australia's leading emissions reduction project developers and owners.
Soil organic carbon is directly related to agricultural productivity - the higher the soil carbon levels, the greater the productivity. This is a function of soil carbon improving water holding capacity and nutrient availability for soils, in addition to improving conditions for soil biological activity. There are a number of active management practices that can build soil organic carbon levels and farmers can get paid for the soil carbon levels they build.
The Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) is the Australian Government's mechanism for purchasing carbon abatement, in the form Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) from carbon projects. Soil carbon projects can register under the Measurement of Soil Carbon Sequestration in Agricultural Systems. This is a measurement-based methodology where any agricultural operation can implement new activities to build soil carbon and receive carbon credits for the measured increases in soil carbon.
There are essentially five steps to running a soil carbon project:
We fast track project registration by initially registering projects in our name and transferring the registration at a later date, reducing upfront paper work and providing flexibility for farmers. To get started our Expression of Interest and Consent form needs signing by all landholders on project property titles. This form also acts as a management record of past activity.
The EoI and Consent gives us 18 months exclusivity and the legal right to register and operate the project for ERF purposes. However, it is conditional reaching of commercial terms to purchase carbon credits.
The main commitment is maintaining the land in an agricultural system for 25 years after first credit issuance. There is a 20 per cent discount of carbon credits issued, however this is seen as a preferable to a hundred year obligation.
Soilkee provides a combined cultivation, aeration and multi-species seeding solution to improving grazing systems. It works through activating a number of virtuous cycles:
The advantage of Soilkee is that it provides a programmable 'treatment' program for farmers to follow with measurable results. Furthermore, growing additional feed has benefits for any farming systems operating under a certification program such as organic or biodynamic in that it removes the risk of requiring additional off-farm inputs that also need to be certified.
Soilkee agronomic features are well documented in the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority soil pasture demonstration involving Soilkee, pasture aeration and a control site. (see www.wgcma.vic.gov.au/for-landholders/gippsland-soil-trials. The results show exceptional performance in dry matter yield increases and percentage coverage of perennial rye and clover.
These factors are the basis for Soilkee's improved agricultural productivity.
AgriProve is an authorised reseller of the Soilkee Pasture Renovator. Soilkee machines ordered through AgriProve will receive a $5,000 credit towards the costs of soil sampling under a registered ERF project
DISCLAIMER: Information contained on this site is for general information purposes only. AgriProve is happy to provide further information but does not accept any liability for relying or not acting on this generic advice.
© AgriProve Pty Ltd 2018