At the end of 2021, Australia committed to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, in line with what was pushed during COP26—the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow. Long before these government promises were made, thousands of Australian farmers were already benefiting from regenerative practices. 

Those at the forefront of sustainable farming in Australia are reaping the benefits of sequestering soil carbon at scale, improving productivity, profitability and environmental health. According to our Founding Director, Dr Terry McCosker OAM, there is a huge opportunity for farmers to play a significant role in addressing our country’s climate and biodiversity crisis.

Markets and Money

Terry McCosker
Dr Terry McCosker OAM

Across Australia, investors and shareholders are looking to demonstrate they are offsetting climate risk and meeting their ESG (environmental, social and governance) goals. No longer just a tick-box exercise, businesses are looking to invest in real change and pivot their practices.

“In the last 12 months, I have regularly received calls from financial institutions, high net worth individuals, funds, and emitters, all asking how they can get involved in regenerative agriculture. Food corporations, responding to consumer demand, also want to source regenerative produce,” says Dr McCosker. 

There is no denying the Australian agriculture market is shifting, and those who embrace the change are sure to benefit the most.

From Problem to Solution

Kale and Karin Robinson, Hillsborough Station, Ravenswood North Queensland
Kale and Karin Robinson, Hillsborough Station, Ravenswood North Queensland

While reducing emissions is essential, agriculture can also draw down carbon from the atmosphere and store it in soils and vegetation, becoming an asset to producers and the environment. This transitions properties from a source of emissions to a carbon sink. They move from being part of the problem to part of the solution via regenerative farming. 

“Regenerative approaches store carbon, improve soil health, increase biodiversity, increase water holding capacity and improve drought resilience. They also provide access to new income streams from biodiversity credits and other co-benefits. So it’s a win, win, win,” says Dr McCosker.

Expanding Regenerative Farming in Australia

In 2016, RCS became a key partner in Project Pioneer, a project aimed at demonstrating how the switch to regenerative grazing can benefit family businesses, the environment and regional communities.

Through this project, RCS spent five years training and empowering more than 150 grazing families to transition to regenerative systems over 1.3 million hectares in catchments of the Great Barrier Reef. 

These farms reduced sediment runoff to the reef, maintained ground cover above 70% and improved carrying capacity and productivity by 14%. All during one of Queensland’s toughest droughts.

Largest Global Soil Carbon Study

Bonnie Doone Reds, RCS graduates Grant and Carly Burnham, Bonnie Doone, Monto in Central Queensland also have a soil carbon project with Carbon Link. Their recent test results look very promising.
Bonnie Doone Reds, RCS graduates Grant and Carly Burnham, Bonnie Doone, Monto in Central Queensland also have a soil carbon project with Carbon Link. Their recent test results look very promising.

Our Founding Director also chairs Carbon Link, a carbon developer with over 100,000 hectares in soil carbon projects on 30 properties in QLD and NSW—numbers that are continually growing. 

According to Terry, the measurements so far are showing very promising results, despite severe drought.

“This is very exciting because it is the largest longitudinal study of soil carbon at scale anywhere in the world. Once we can share the results, it will have significant implications for the soil carbon industry in Australia and globally.” 

All Carbon Link projects are registered under the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund.

Author:

Alexandra de Blas

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Terry McCosker Founder of RSC Australia and the popular Grazing For Profit School. Terry is picture working with course participants of soil health and farm management principles.

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