Monday, November 19, 2007

Climate candidate sends out SOS


Michael Kiely, the Climate Change Coalition candidate for the seat of Parkes in next Saturday’s election, is sending up a flare for help. He has only this week to campaign and needs to recruit polling place helpers.

“I’ve been too busy fighting Climate Change to run a conventional campaign,” says Michael Kiely, organiser of the Carbon Farming Expo & Conference last Friday and Saturday in Mudgee. It attracted close to 400 delegates from every state of Australia and New Zealand. Scientists and ‘carbon farmers’ told the audience that soil can play a dramatic part in the battle to stop rising world temperatures.

“There are 5.5 billion hectares of soil controlled by farmers around the globe. If they were able to sequester an average of one tonne of carbon per hectare, they could soak up the entire annual emissions of the world,” says Mr Kiely.

The Kiely Family have been campaigning for more than 2 years to have farmers rewarded for growing soil carbon. Michael is standing for the Climate Change Coalition to put the issue at the top of the agenda.

“I couldn’t have run the world’s first carbon farming conference to bring the top scientists and farmers together while pushing a political barrow. It would have risked disrupting the conference,” says Mr Kiely.

“As it was, we invited my chief opponent Mark Coulton of the Nationals to address the conference to prove we weren’t a political front. And I did not announce my candidature until the end of the conference. This puts me and the Climate Change Coalition party at a disadvantage. But the conference was a great success.””

The Conference heard of three programs for trading soil carbon credits and two programs for selling “carboncredited” wool and other produce.

The delegates voted unanimously for the Government to provide $10 million for more research in soil carbon and for every farmer to have their soil carbon tests done for free to encourage them to join the ‘carbon farming’ movement and start absorbing more CO2.

The Climate Change Coalition was founded by Patrice Newell who is a candidate for the Senate in NSW.

For more information, call 02 6374 0329

ABC Country Hour Conference Coverage on Podcast


You can hear the New South Wales Country Hour's extensive coverage of the Conference by going to

There you will find a Real AUdio file of the show. (If you haven't got Real Audio, Google it and download it. It's free.)

Friday, November 16, 2007
Country Hour at Mudgee Carbon Farming field day

Report: David Claughton/Michael Condon

The Country Hour broadcast from the world first Carbon Farming Expo and Conference held today.

Around 400 farmers from every state in Australia as well as New Zealand have converged on Mudgee in Central Western New South Wales to meet with scientists to hear about the latest advances in farming with a view to storing carbon. The topics for discussion include what price might be paid by for carbon stored in the soil or in grasses or crops that farmers grow.

Conference Organiser Michael Kiely has appealed for 10 million dollars in federal government money to continue research and prove what many scientists and farmers believe is true about soil carbon. He says the science is now showing that you can store carbon, measure and quantify it and that it helps farm production and the environment, while the multi-national companies responsible for polluting the environment are keen customers of carbon credits, but the Federal Government is not interested.

He also says the market for carbon credits is "exploding" in Chicago. 55-60 polluters are involved in the trade as a way of balancing their carbon producing activities.

Michael Kiely, conference organiser
Storing carbon in the soil

Report: Alison Manning

Senior soil scientist with Dept of Environment and Climate Change Brian Murphy says soil carbon can be measured in the field by taking soil samples and measuring the bulk density and the carbon level in the laboratory. It's time consuming and not always accurate.

Another way is to look at land management practices to estimate soil carbon levels.

Carbon contracts run for about 5 years but storing carbon in the soil can vary with things like drought which reduces the ground cover.

In this report: Brian Murphy, senior soil scientist, Dept of Environment and Climate Change
Carbon Cocky award

Report: Michael Condon

Tonight the Carbon Cocky of the year will be announced. Col Seis, who lives 20 kms north of Gulgong, and Gus Hinkman from Cowra are both finalists.

Judges are looking for farmers using best practice and that includes maintaining a lot of ground cover to build carbon in the soil and farming differently with perennial grasses. Broadly described as conservation farming, the techniques results in better use of water and nutrients and dramatic improvements in the health of the soil. The farmers say they are looking after the landscape with a view to improving the productivity of the land and earning some carbon credits down the track. They believe they are heading in the right direction, with some big carbon levels increasing from 1.8 to 4 per cent.

Other farmers at the event are also committed to conservation farming. Richard Maykem from Gyra is working in a cold, wet intensive farming operation. He has tried to manage his farm holistically and says "I got interested in the Landcare movement first, then heard about rotational grazing systems coming out of Africa".

Richard Langley runs a cropping property with some livestock. He's been continuously cropping for 20 years using a stubble retention program, in line with Conservation farming principles. "We haven't burnt for 20 years...when you start you're on your own. People will shake their heads, but you'll have a gut feeling you're doing the right thing, and later others will make the change."

Soil Scientists

Report: Michael Condon

Some of the progressive farmers are way ahead of scientists, we're here to hear about what they're doing and why it's working. We are working with the landholders to outline five golden rules for building the carbon levels in the soil. They include maintaining ground cover, avoiding compaction of the soil, using perennial plants.

There are a number of incentives for farmers to take up conservation farming which include some developed by the Catchment Management Authority and payments to farmers from carbon trading for taking carbon out of the air.

In this report: John Lawrie and Ian Packer, Catchment Management Authority

Carbon Cockies of the Year

From Left to Right: Robert & Maree Goodear of Merewa won Carbon Cocky for the Hunter, Anne and Ray Williams of Magomadine" Coonamble won Carbon Cocky of the Plains (sponsored by Landmark), Martin Royd of Braidwood won Carbon Cocky East of the Divide, Col Seis of Winona, Gulgong won Carbon Cocky of the Slopes (sponsored by Country Energy) and
Michael Inwood of "Toulon" Bathurst won Carbon Cocky of the Tablelands (Sponsored by Holistic Management Australia). Each case study will be written up and posted on the Carbon Farmer site with other materials (

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Numbers limited to 450 for "Carbon Farming Conference"

"YOU MUST PRE-REGISTER FOR THE 'CARBON FARMING' CONFERENCE," say the organisers. The building has a safety limit of 450 attendees. Already more than 200 have registered and the last week is usually when a rush of registrations come in, according to many experienced event organisers

"We will try to cater for everyone who turns up, but we can't guarantee that latecomers won't be observing proceedings in a marquee on a screen," says Louisa Kiely, who is managing the registrations.

Registrations can be made by calling 02 6374 0329, by EFTPOS, credit card, money order or cheque.

Ex-Head CSIRO Climate Science says "Yes" to soil carbon trading

When the Coalition spoke to Dr Graeme Pearman at a DPI climate change seminar in Orange 6 months ago, he poured cold water on the concept of soil carbon trading, saying the amounts that could be captured and stored were too small and the measurment issues to great to overcome. He was following the "AGO Line".

What a difference 6 months makes. In The Land, (8/11/07), he says he can see the day when 'carbon trading will become so important that methodologies will be obtained so that landholders who can accumulate carbon in their soils will be compensated for it." He urged 'carbon farmers' to engage quickly with the issue or face the same losses the landholders forced to stop clearing native vegetation made because they were not signed up to a trading market.

Dr Pearman is the former head of the CSIRO's Climate Science unit. He is now based at Monash University. ABC 4Corners reports that Dr Pearman was silenced on 6 occasions by CSIRO management when he tried to talk publicly about the need to reduce emmissions an the need for a market in carbon. He was eventually told he had no future with the CSIRO. (Many of our national institutions has been politicised by the Howard Government, according to many independent reports, including the Buerau of Meteorology and the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics. The Bush Administration has also subverted the US Environment Protection Authority and other bodies.

Guests of Honour for Carbon Farming Expo & Conference

Special Guests of the Carbon Farmers of Australia are individuals whose work has championed the positive role primary producers can play in restoring farmland ecologies to health. Agriculture is mankind's greatest interface with nature. Rather than abandon this relationship, these champions place the landholder in the driver's seat for regenerating Australia's natural resource base.CHRISTINE JONES has risked all in the cause of soil carbon. She inspired the formation of the Carbon Coalition Against Global Warming and has in train the most comprehensiive soil carbon trials across Australia, under the banner of the Australian Soil Carbon Accreditation Scheme. PETER ANDREWS also sacrificed all for his vision of a restored landscape based on managed hydrology, now known as Natural Sequence Farming. MICHAEL MOBBS, who wrote Sustainable House, is an environmental lawyer who promotes the concept of carbon farming and importance of the relationship between city and country, based on sustainable living.

Latest Program: Carbon Farming Expo & Conference 16th-17th Novermber, 2007

DAY ONE. Friday 16TH November., 2007

8.00am to 9.00am Registration

9.00am to 9.15am Chairman’s Introduction: Climate Change Challenges & Opportunities - Gary Allan, Project Leader, Climate Risk Management, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI)

9.15am to 9.45am Carbon Farming: The Big Picture From Soil Carbon Capture to On Farm Emissions - Michael Kiely, “Uamby” Goolma, Convenor, Carbon Coalition Against Global Warming

9.45am-10.15am Soil Carbon Trading: Opportunities for Australian Farmers - Mike Walsh, Senior Vice President, Chicago Climate Exchange

10.15am-10.45am Techniques and Costs of Measuring Soil Carbon – Dr Brian Murphy, Senior Soil Scientist, Department of Environment and Climate Change

10.45am-11.15am Monitoring Soil Carbon Statewide (incl. On Farm Soil Watch Kit) – Greg Chapman, Scientist, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI)

11.15am– 11.45am MORNING TEA.

11.45am-12.15pm Combinations That Move The Carbon Needle: Grazing Management, Pasture Cropping, and Biological Farming - Col Seis, “Winona” Gulgong

12.15am-12.45pm Biological Farming In Action - Cam McKellar, “Inveraray Downs”, Spring Ridge

12.45-1..45pm LUNCH.

1.45pm- 2.15pm Biochar’s Promise - Adriana Downie, Scientist, Best Energies

2.15pm – 2.45pm Growing Soil Carbon by Rehydrating the Landscape - Craig Carter, “Tallawang”, Willow Tree

2.45pm – 3.15pm A Carbon Farmer in Parliament?– Mark Coulton, Candidate for Parkes, National Party of Austrlalia

3.15pm- 4.00pm. AFTERNOON TEA

4.00pm- 4.30pm Day One: Bringing It All Together - Ian Packer, Soils Officer, Lachlan Catchment Management Authority

4.30pm – 5.00pm Question Time. All speakers to be available.

5.00pm – Drinks: Inaugural “CARBON COCKY OF THE YEAR” award presentation. Sponsored by Landmark, Country Energy, and Holistic Management International/Australia


9.00am- 9.15am Introduction to Day 2 - Gary Allan, Project Leader, Climate Risk Management, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI)

9.15am-10.15am Soil Carbon Calculators – Dr Jeff Baldock, Senior Research Scientist, CSIRO

10.15am – 11.00am Soils, Animals, Crops and Emissions – John Friend, Scientist, NSW Department of Primary Industries.

11.00 – 11.30am MORNING TEA.

11.30 –12.15pm Treading Lightly on the Land (On Farm Efficiencies) - David Marsh, “Allendale” Boorowa

12.15 – 12.45pm Emissions Reductions and Trading Opportunities:
CarbonCredited™ Produce. - Louisa Kiely, “Uamby” Goolma, Carbon Farmers of Australia

12.45– 1.45pm LUNCH.

1.45am – 2.15am CMA Visual Audit Protocols For Voluntary Soil Carbon Trading - John Lawrie, Co-ordinator - Slopes, Central West Catchment Management Authority

2.15 – 3.15pm A Guide to Soil Carbon Trading Systems: Carbon Farmers of Australia, RCS CarbonLink, Australian Soil Carbon Accreditation Scheme, The Fourth System. (Michael Kiely, Carbon Farmers of Australia; Rod Rush, RCS CarbonLink,)

3.15 – 3.45pm Where Do We Go From Here? – Michael Kiely, Convenor, Carbon Coalition Against Global Warming

3.45 -4.15pm Question Time.

4.15 Close.

*Please note: This program is subject to change at any time.


The Organisers thank all the Speakers for their valuable contribution, all the Delegates who travelled from all States of Australia, the Exhibitors who supported this event, and the Sponsors who made it possible. A special word of appreciation to the many CMAs who supported the Conference. And to the small band of committed individuals who are always there when there’s work to be done: Thank you.