Monday, May 07, 2012

Soil carbon calling 42,000 farmers

The Government’s Caring for our Country program has made huge changes already and now it aims to recruit 42 000 farmers to improve soil practices across 70 million hectares by 2013. Trends in the adoption of practices that increase carbon in soils, reduce acidification and erosion are being tracked on 33,000 farms. The targets include 50% to 70% groundcover. The number of graziers monitoring ground cover levels has increased from 70% per cent in 2007–08 to 79% per cent in 2009–10. But those setting groundcover targets decreased from 40% to 31% in the same period. What is to stop a grazier from abandoning their groundcover target and graze their pastures harder when things get tough? It costs to maintain groundcover. That is where soil carbon offsets come in. We need as much land ‘under contract’ for soil carbon sequestration as possible. How? By getting as many graziers engaged in soil carbon sequestration by making the deal more farmer friendly. It’s hard to see a future government putting another $2 billion into research and extension for these issues. Look around you. Where can the money come from? Where it is now. The Big Emitters. King Coal. We stand at a unique time in history, where need and providence collide. What a tragedy if we don't reach out and take it.

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