Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Healthy Farms Healthy Food Healthy Families Seminar

Agricultural activist and Carbon Farming supporter Vicki Poulter is behind the 'Food and Health the Way Evolution Intended'

SEMINAR SERIES NOVEMBER 2011 Sydney - Armidale - Gold Coast

With Nora Gedgaudas, Author of international best-selling book:"Primal Body, Primal Mind - Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life"

Plus local food, farming and health guest speakers including Costa from SBS Garden Odyssy, Dr Ron Ehrlich and Dr Eric Davis - Holistic health practitioners, Bruce Ward and Tony Lovell - Regenerative Farming/Holistic Management, David Mason-Jones - author of 'Should Meat be on the Menu?' (yes, but it must be grass-fed!!), Aaron Mackenzie (Lifestyle and movement coach), Rob Pekin from Food Connect - community supported agriculture, Rob Blomfield (farmer who now feeds himself as one of his prize livestock)), and more.... These full day seminars will challenge and inspire you

Sydney: Sat 12 November Matthews Theatre, University of NSW Armidale: Wed 16 November Arts Theatre, University of New England

Gold Coast: Sat 19 November Cerum Theatre, Bond University


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Carbon farming to stay, opposition says

"THE opposition has clarified its warning to business not to buy future carbon permits, saying yesterday its advice did not apply to those generated through changes to agricultural and land management practices," reports Rural Press outlets such as The Land and STock & Land. Shadow environment spokesman Greg Hunt said the Coalition's promise to repeal the carbon price scheme would not affect carbon offsets generated through the recently established Carbon Farming Initiative. "I said on the floor of the House at the time that the Coalition will continue the carbon farming initiative," Mr Hunt said. "The Direct Action Plan supports abatement through putting carbon back into soil in what could be a once in a ­generation opportunity to replenish the land."

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Selling the Carbon Tax: What a Joke!

Tony Abbott is like the Springboks and Julia Gillard is like the Wallabies. He is beating her all over the field, in every phase of the game, except on the scoreboard. His latest foray is the attempt to turn the purchase by business of carbon offsets into a plebiscite on the Carbon Tax and a vote of no confidence in the Government. He warned businesses not to invest in carbon offsets, because a future Coalition government will rescind the carbon tax.
"We give businesses fair warning not to buy forward permits under a tax regime that will be closed down," he told a tax forum in Sydney. It remains to be seen if this will be another in the series of 'A-Stunt-A-Day' which Mr Abbott has used to brutal effect against the Government or whether it will catch hold as a long term strategy. Inventiveness sets him apart from his competitors. Tony is at heart a showman. It is all scripted, even the throwaway lines. The best the Government can do to respond is to quote from its well-worn Catechism of Tired Incantations: Mr Abbott is 'irresponsible'. Business will not invest with such uncertainty'. Aural wallpaper. As if being right matters. Delivering the best one-liner is what matters.

Malcolm Turnbull is as despairing as anyone of the Government's failure to sell the carbon trading system to the nation. "The advocacy is just woeful," he told the Guardian last week. Abbott is the master of framing the debate. "The carbon trading debate [in Australia] has become a cost of living debate," Turnbull added. It will increase the cost of living by just 0.7%, he said. It's not enough to be right, and it is bad to be righteously right. It's best to be funny. Who can forget Bob Hawke's response to Malcolm Fraser's warning to the voters before the 1982 election that they should hide their money under the mattress. "You can't hide it under there," said Hawkie. "That's where all the Reds are." Humour lightens the debate, cuts through the noise, and is remembered. But it's all in the delivery. Stand up comedy training for the Gillard Cabinet. What a joke!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Day of Historic Victory or Disaster

The Carbon Tax legislation passed the House of Representatives yesterday while we were at Parliament House briefing all sides of politics on the soil carbon offsets methodology submitted at the Carbon Farming Conference. The vote was either a victory for rational thinking and a defeat for irrational hysteria or vice versa, depending on your point of view. There is the small consideration of $2bn to be channeled into land management (additional to any monies farmers earn from the Carbon Farming Initiative). Some people have been convinced that the Carbon Tax will mean the end of the world as we know it. Some individuals and organisations have quoted amounts by which prices will rise and jobs will be lost that are based on gross misrepresentation of the facts. There has been an epidemic of distortion spread by otherwise responsible bodies. The ACCC should be prosecuting them for false and misleading statements.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Is “Trade” the best option?

Some people dislike the notion of trading offsets as a way to reward farmers for environmental services. They give the following reasons: 1. Farmers should be doing the right thing anyway (ie. provide environmental services for free). 2. “Someone will make a lot of money out of it…” (ie. traders on-selling the units). 3. “It’s all bullsh--!” (ie. anything with the word ‘carbon’ in it is too hard to understand and is therefore a rort). One thing most people agree on is that our soils are degrading and farmland is badly in need of restoration. Our food production capacity is declining. If you think about it, there is no way we will get the maximum number of farmers to make the necessary changes to their management of soils without a system of incentive that is acceptable to the greatest number and is likely to last long enough to get the job done. The system that offers this is trade in offsets.

1. Farmers have demonstrated little enthusiasm for ‘doing the right thing anyway’ on the grounds that no other sector of the community is asked to work for free and, besides, they already do a lot for free. 2. The majority of farmers have not engaged in taxpayer-funded land management incentive programs in more than two decades in which billions of dollars were invested by governments in restoration programs. 3. Tax and spend programs last only until the next election cycle as politicial priorities change. 4. Farmers are comfortable growing and selling commodities. That’s what they do. They happily deal with middle men and there are windfall profit opportunities from futures trading. So the answer to the question, “Is Trade the best option?” is Yes. If you seriously want to see our agricultural soils restored and enriched, out waterways cleaned, our landscapes regenerated and biodiversity flourish – as soon as possible across the largest percentage of the 60% of the nation’s landmass used for agriculture - you'll support trade. No ideological position or personal squeamishness should stand in the way of the fastest, most complete shift in land management towards restoring health to our soils.

Here’s to the crazy ones

We were honoured by many tributes from speakers and delegates, including this touching dedication by Professor John Crawford who quoted Physicist Richard Feynman: “Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them... about the only thing you can't do is ignore them, because they change things, they push the human race forward; and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do." John then said: “When I first met the Kielys I thought they were crazy!” The night before, at the Conference Award Dinner, we were inducted into the Hall of Fame cum laude, with a standing ovation which was a very humbling experience. Our thanks to Master of Ceremonies Jeremy Bradley (crazy), John Crawford (also crazy) and everyone who contributed to or took part in Carbon Farming Week. You are all crazy!

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Aggregation: piggy in the middle?

Many people are interested in the role of the Aggregator in the Australian farm offsets market. The role is strategic because Aggregators form the interface between supply and demand. There is no doubt that the role is important, despite the fact that the Legislation does not mention it, placing the responsibility for the supply side management on the shoulders of the “Project Proponent”, ie. the Grower. Most Growers can’t assemble enough tonnage to deal cost effectively with the market direct. But even a corporate landholder with sufficient land too deal direct will need specialist advice. The average landholder will have to deal through an aggregation service. Organisations with memberships have access to potential growers/suppliers and bureaucracies which can supply the necessary arms and legs. Banks may see synergies, especially since the legislation defines the offset unit as a financial product and therefore those giving advice or dealing in them must have a Financial Services Certification. To give advice tat maximises the Growers opportunity, the aggregator must understand how to draw up a Carbon Farm Plan that integrates practices and boosts emissions reductions and amounts stored in soils. There are five options facing Growers: 1. Deal Direct with a big polluter. 2. Engage an aggregator as an agent. 3. Sell the rights to your units to an aggregator or agent. 4. Join an aggregation as a member. 5. Sell direct to the farm gate market. Aggregators will need to have sound knowledge of the five pieces of legislation that established the Carbon Farming Initiative. They will need a sophisticated data management system, an education function, an outreach program, and connections with local services such as measurement and auditing. At the same time, they will need to engineer costs out of their services to keep middleman costs down and prices competitive.

Aggregator Briefing: An Introduction to Carbon Farming – A One Day Workshop. Delivered by Carbon Farmers of Australia. FarmReady Approved. Call 02 6374 0329

The Massive Power of Soil Carbon Revealed

Could soil carbon sequestration absorb the world’s fossil fuel emissions? They have the capacity, according to soil scientist Margaret Torn from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). co-author Schmidt, M. et al., Persistence of soil organic matter as an ecosystem property, in: Nature, 6 October, 2011. “ The fluxes between soil carbon in the form of organic matter and carbon in the atmosphere as CO2 are very large. A small change in carbon cycling can have a huge affect on atmospheric CO2 concentrations, and therefore a huge feedback to climate change. As an example, a ten percent change in the soil carbon flux to the atmosphere would roughly double the net CO2 input. And if soils released only 0.3 percent of their carbon stores, it would equal year 2010 fossil fuel emissions.” Is the reverse true? If we were able to increase the soil’s store of carbon by 0.3% that we could absorb the world’s entire fossil fuel emissions?

Dramatic findings about soil carbon

An international team of scientists have put a big question mark over important elements of the conventional paradigm of soil carbon. They cast doubt on the popular view that temperature increases automatically mean higher rates of Carbon escaping from soil. They cast doubt on the resistance of lignin and biochar to decomposition. They cast doubt on biochar’s capacity to increase soil carbon. And they recommend that scientists study soils at 3m because there is a lot going on down there. For many years, scientists thought that organic matter persists in soil because some of it forms very complex molecular structures that were too difficult for organisms to break down. An international team of 14 researchers headed by Michael Schmidt, a professor of soil science and biogeography at the University of Zurich, has now revealed that recent advances, from imaging the molecules in soils to experiments that track decomposition of specific compounds, show this view to be mistaken. For example, the major forms of organic matter in soils are in the forms of simple biomolecules, rather than large macromolecules. The team contends that the average time carbon resides in soil is a property of factors like physical isolation, recycling, or protection of molecules by minerals or physical structures like aggregates, or even unfavorable local temperature or moisture conditions, can all play a role in reducing the probability that a given molecule will decompose. Current models used to predict how global soil carbon will respond to climate change use simple factors like temperature dependence that indicate acceleration of decomposition in a warmer world. The decomposition-warming feedback predicts large soil carbon losses and an amplification of global warming, but in fact the authors argue this approach is too simplistic. The degradation speed isn't determined by the molecular structure of the dead plant debris, but by the soil environment in which the degradation takes place,” says Schmidt. For instance, the physical isolation of the molecules, whether the molecules in the soil are protected by mineral or physical structures and soil moisture influence the degradation rate of soil organic matter. Furthermore, the researchers are able to show that, contrary to the scientific consensus, there is no humic matter in the soil and this should therefore not be used for models. The new results cast a critical light on bioengineering experiments with plants containing high amounts of lignin or plant charcoal (biochar), with which more carbon is supposed to be stored in the soil in the long run. “Compounds such as lignin, which we thought were stable, may only last five years in soil, while proteins, which we thought were decomposable, may last more than one thousand years,” says co-author soil scientist Margaret Torn from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). Paper: Michael W. I. Schmidt, Margaret S. Torn, Samuel Abiven, Thorsten Dittmar, Georg Guggenberger, Ivan A. Janssens, Markus Kleber, Ingrid K√∂gel-Knabner, Johannes Lehmann, David A. C. Manning, Paolo Nannipieri, Daniel P. Rasse, Steve Weiner & Susan E. Trumbore: Persistence of soil organic matter as an ecosystem property, in: Nature, 6 October, 2011, DOI: 10.1038/nature10386

Your Grandchildren: Why the world needs soil carbon trading

“Without your efforts Australia would have no Carbon Farming Initiative and no network of amazing farmers. In no small way you will leave a legacy of nationwide land regeneration at precisely the time we, and the rest of the world, needs it. “ - John W Crawford, Judith and David Coffey Chair in Sustainable Agriculture, Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, University of Sydney

The reason why we have racked up private debts of more than $500k campaigning for the last 6 years “to see the day soil carbon is traded safely and farmers paid fairly for what they sequester’’ is simply this: the prospect of a financial return from carbon farming will be enough to capture the attention of the great majority of farmers - who currently are not available to the sustainability message - for long enough for them to consider land management practice change. If they decide against it at least they have given it a fair hearing (and prepared themselves for the inevitable conversion somewhere down the line). We are promoters of trade for three reasons; 1. we believe only rapid and widespread soil sequestration has the capacity to stall global warming long enough for the global community to transition to a low carbon energy system; 2. we have a soils crisis that must be addressed for food security reasons; and 3. the profit motive is more influential and widespread in its application and rapid in its effect in changing behaviour than education and encouragement, ie. business as usual. We live by the principle that, if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got. The single-minded focus on soil carbon as a key performance indicator simplifies the communications and behaviour change tasks because the co-benefits inevitably follow on attempts to raise soil carbon levels (co-benefits include improved soil structure, ground cover, water efficiency, nutrient availability, buffering against drought, and biodiversity above and below the ground). Once the average farmer gets over their negativity about soil carbon and trading (the result of the relentless misinformation campaign by those who fear being made redundant by the privatisation of soil health management when the opposite will be the effect) CMAs and Landcare groups will have their work cut out for them handling the rate of enquiries. As for middlemen, every commodity market has them, they are essential, and farmers can select which program they go with. Ie. it will be competitive. As for merchant bankers making money, that can only occur if the units are on-traded by the buyer. Farmers can choose to sell only to buyers who will 'retire' them, thereby removing them from circulation. If merchant bankers are making money, it is a sign that the market is flourishing and farm landscapes are being restored at a rapid rate. It will not be a gold rush, as some predict. It will take at least 5 years to develop and bed down the processes required to protect the farmers' interests. That is where Carbon Farmers of Australia fits in: Advocacy, Representation, and Ethical Aggregation.

Friday, October 07, 2011

In defence of Scientists

Carbon Farmers Michael Kiely has spent six years disputing the science of soil carbon, claiming the scientific community is wrong. But he is a strong defender of scientists and their personal integrity, unlike many who dispute climate science. “They claim that climate scientists are faking their findings in order to grow rich. This is a joke. The sort of person who only wants to get rich doesn’t spend 10 years studying at university to come out with a PhD, lucky to get a job for $60,000.” A recent ABCTV Catalyst program revealed that scientist were receivind death threats from climate denialist. The program showed British Lord Christopher Monckton telling a howling crowd in Australia: “To the bogus scientists who have used the bogus science that invented this bogus scare, I say, we are coming after you, we are going to prosecute you, and we are going to lock you up.” Broadcaster Alan Jones has made inflammatory claims

“It should ring alarm bells for politicians who are whipping up hysteria about climate change that scientists are receiving death threats simply for doing their jobs,” he says. “The scientists that I deal with are genuine, honest, and more dedicated to being right than getting rich. Our complaint is that they are too conservative.”

“We rely on science to keep us up in the air in aircraft and to save the lives of our family members in hospital when they are ill. But when it comes to climate science, we think the opinions of some guy down the pub carries more weight than the findings of the majority of research scientists working in the field.”

Carbon Cocky of the Year victim of abusive emails/calls

John Ive, named National Carbon Cocky of the Year at the recent Carbon Farming Conference, reported on ABC Radio Country Hour NSW today that he had been subject to intimidating calls and emails. Mr Ive, who has been recognised by 25 awards over 30 years as a progressive farmer, speaks to many groups of farmers. He says the abuse has arisen over the issue of Climate Change. This intimidation and death threats received by scientists is disturbing. The mullas of the denial are so desperate to regain power that they are willing to destroy our peaceful democratic traditions that seperate us from cultures where political violence is standard procedure. Allan Jones, the Murdoch Press and the dog whistlers of the Parliament are giving people with extreme views permission to take extreme action. Hence scientists get death threats. We are entering a dark period of our history. I have faith in the good nature and peaceful instincts of the average Australian.

Soil As Movie Star

Professor John Crawford showed amazing footage filmed by a micrscopic camera sent down to cruise through the pores in the soil. Amazing footage.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

China faster than promised

Do the Chinese know something that we don't? Climate Spectator reports that China's quick adoption of clean energy will help it exceed emissions-to-GDP targets agreed last year, said scientists with Climate Action Tracker. "China is set to not only meet its Cancun Agreement emissions intensity pledge, but is likely to go beyond it," the independent research group said, referring to the December 2010 global climate change accord.

Is the soil carbon machine pumping 50% more CO2?

Photosynthesis – the process that creates soil carbon – could be taking up almost 50% more CO2 than previously estimated, according to a report in Nature, the British scientific journal. An international team of scientists have reset the bar for CO2 draw down from 120 billion tonnes per year to between 150-175 billion tonne annually… between 25% and 45% increase. This would logically mean the world’s soils have even greater capacity to store carbon. But even though they have no evidence to support the contention, the researchers declare there is no increase in soil carbon sequestration. The report's lead researcher Lisa Welp, from the University of California's Scripps Institute of Oceanography, said: “The extra CO2 taken up as photosynthesis is most likely returned right back to the atmosphere via respiration.” The leader of the CSIRO Changing Atmosphere research group, Paul Fraser, said “it doesn't mean they hold more carbon, they (plants) probably respire faster.” “Probably?” “Most likely?” Is this based on evidence? “I'd love to be able to say it does mean that but we just don't know that, that's in the next few steps (of research),” said Dr Fraser. There are two possible reactions to the higher rates of photosynthesis. One is to dismiss the possibility that it means good news for those of us who believe soils have the capacity to be a secure bridge to a low carbon future. The other is to accept these findings as further proof that there is a new paradigm that suits the times. Opposition spokesman on climate action, Greg Hunt, is among the latter when he says: the scientific evidence has moved more strongly in favour of the enormous potential of land and agriculture-based emissions reductions.” Which do you choose: the past or the future?

Gratitude to Steve Jobs

Professor John Crawford quoted physicist Richard Feynman in a touching tribute to Louisa and I during his presentation at our Conference last week. “Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them... about the only thing you can't do is ignore them, because they change things, they push the human race forward; and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do."

These words were used in an ad campaign for Apple Computer. And they describe Steve Jobs, a man who changed my life in 1984 when he launched the Macintosh. He made it possible for me to enter the Computer Age. That made me grateful and made Mr Jobs and his products charismatic to me. Steve Jobs made a difference.

Richard Feynman, Physicist

Farmers get ready to trade carbon

Farmers get ready to trade carbon


When the first Carbon Farming conference was held five years ago, it was just a dream. Five years on and the carbon farming intiative (CFI) legislation dominated the topics at this year’s conference. Convenor Louisa Kiely, who is the director of Carbon Farmers Australia and a Goolma district farmer, said the change was amazing. “We have been able to start moving away from theory towards rewarding practice,” Mrs Kiely said. “When we started five years ago this was just a dream- can soil carbon ever be a mainstream mitigation strategy? This is a turning point- by this time next year trading will be a reality.” Mrs Kiely said the change in attitude to carbon farming was evident with some of this year’s delegates. She said there was quite a bit of interest from new exhibitors and sponsors, while farmer delegates included a mix of innovators as well as those who were finding out more. Speakers at the conference included federal senator Matt Thistlewaite who said the CFI would give a lot of opportunities. “By 2020 the credits created by this initiative could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars for rural and regional Australia,” he said. Senator Thistlewaite said the scheme would provide economic value for those who adopt best practice. “The aim of the scheme is not only to recognise and encourage practices existing and taking place but also to encourage further uptake in those who aren’t currently doing those practices,” he said. For farmer Jeremy Bradley, who has a property on the north coast of NSW, this scheme has the benefit of providing financial incentives to farmers to change to carbon friendly practices. “Carbon is the driver of soil fertility,” he said. “Everything works better with carbon and hopefully we can get paid to put it there. “If people are paid to sequester carbon it is a huge step for food security.” Mrs Kiely said that farmers do hold a lot of power in shaping the future. “It is slowly starting to sink in that soil is the largest carbon sink under the control of man and farmers control over 50 to 60 per cent of that land mass,” she said. “That makes farmers very important in the future.”

The Science on Soil Carbon is NOT in

The 19 finalists in this year’s Carbon Cocky of the Year Award all have one thing in common: they mix and match a combination of land management practices to enrich their soils. “This could explain why carbon farmers report higher rates of carbon sequestration in their soils than government research agencies that only ever study the effect of a single practice at a time,” says Michael Kiely of awards organiser Carbon Farmers of Australia. For example, the winners of the Carbon Cocky of the Year Award, Yass district graziers John and Robyn Ive, combine controlled grazing with water-spreading, strategic tree plantings, and soil additives (such as sewage ash and poultry manure). Braidwood grazier Martin Royds, winner of the Best Practice Award, combines grazing management, pasture cropping, and soil treatments, including Biodynamic preparations, compost teas, and worm juice. Spring Ridge mixed farmer Cam McKellar, winner of the Outstanding Leadership Award, combines direct drill, controlled traffic, fish emulsion, humates and molasses/sugar as a microbial stimulant, as well as composting and cover cropping.

This is the on-farm reality that has yet to be studied and, until it is, we must say that the science of soil carbon is not yet in. When research reports tell us our soils can only accumulate carbon at a tiny amount per year, they are actually saying ‘We can only manage to sequester this much using this one practice’. While the CSIRO has measured soil carbon increases up to 0.3tonne/hectare as the maximum possible, carbon farmers such as pasture cropping pioneer Col Seis from Gulgong have recorded increases of up to 9 tonnes/hectare using the same laboratories for analysis. It is common for skilled carbon farmers to report 2%-3% increases in soil carbon over the past decade, which included the worst drought in living memory.

Carbon Graziers often combine grazing management with pasture cropping and soil amendments. Carbon Croppers combine no-till with mulching and crop rotations, cover crops, composts, and even animals as four-legged composting units. In the 5 years the Awards have been running, a rising trend has been the adoption of on-farm composting or production of worm juice nutrients and the integration of trees in the landscape. The Ives have counted 250,000 new trees on their 250 ha property, with direct production benefits. The Carbon Cocky of the Year Award was judged by experts from the Department of Primary Industries and the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, plus last year’s winner, and presented at a gala dinner as part of the Carbon Farming Conference, 28-29 September, 2011 in Dubbo NSW.

There was a high level of innovation among the entries: “One finalist composts almond hulls and back-loads his truck with hulls for delivery as a feedstock to a feedlot where he collects manure for his composting operation. Another has invented a process called ‘delving’ which brings clays up into the top horizon of sandy soil for better carbon sequestration,” he says.

The Carbon Cocky of the Year Awards started 5 years ago with the support of the Central West and Lachlan CMAs as a means of encouraging practices that promote soil health. This year the Awards attracted entries from Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria as well as NSW.

Despite the image of innovative farmers lacking the data required by ‘evidence-based science’, the finalists were keen to prove their claims by providing data.

If we could only allow entries featuring grazing and cropping practices that are based on ‘best available science’ we could not hold these awards because science has yet to study the combinations that carbon farmers use. In fact the best available science is being conducted by farmers in the biggest laboratory of them all: in the paddocks of Australia where a practice either works or it doesn’t and the amount on the cheque the farmer receives is the final test result. Word of mouth does the rest.

Most of the practices chosen by carbon farmers are not endorsed by peer-reviewed science. Yet most of the winners of all the ‘farmer of the year’ awards programs use grazing management which is not supported by research.

Carbon Cockies mean business

“Sustainability is not an environmental goal. It is a practical business goal,” says Louisa Kiely of Carbon Farmers of Australia, the organiser of the Awards. “Cooperating with Mother Nature is good business because there can be no economy without an environment that works.”

A profile of the Carbon Farmer is emerging from the winners of the Award in the 5 years it has been conducted as part of the Carbon Farming Conference:

· Unconventional in their thinking.

· Curious to find a better way.

· Open to possibilities.

· Inventive approach to solving problems.

· Independent of the opinions of others.

· Passionate about finding solutions.

· Concerned about the future.

· Generous with their time.

The following are the winners of the National Carbon Cocky Awards 2011:


WINNER: John & Robyn Ive, “Talaheni”, Yass

SPONSOR: Best Environmental Technologies

PHOTO: The Ives receiving their Award from Darryl Paulus, General Manager of Best Environmental Technologies.

John and Robyn Ive run a 250 ha family farm in Murrumbateman, specialising in ultrafine wool production, Angus cattle and farm forestry. John was named Conservation Farmer of the Year in September 2009 by the Conservation Agriculture and No-till Farming Association NSW and won the UN World Environment Day Triple Bottom Line Award 2004. Features of the property management include extensive plantings (250,000 trees) to address salinity, withdrawal of 25% of the property from agriculture, replaced by woodlots and corridors, with a simultaneous increase of biodiversity and no loss of production despite the reduction in operational space. John’s focus is on soil moisture which he has measured for nearly 20 years on his farm, “Talaheni”. Recently he has integrated these results with those predicted from daily estimates over these two decades from ten global climate agencies. He has achieved benefits from adopting procedures for increasing soil carbon over the past 30 years on the family farm where soil carbon has lifted from two per cent to near seven per cent before slipping in 2010. Further he recognises that sequestration can increase rainfall infiltration. With soil moisture a priority, John Ive is targeting ways of reducing run off, improving soil structure and increasing water use efficiency of pastures by encouraging and planting deeper rooting perennial pastures. John was chosen as a Climate Champion as part of the GRDC’s climate change adaptation education and outreach program. Congratulations, John and Robyn.



WINNER: Martin Royds,”Jillamatong”, Braidwood

SPONSOR: YLad Living Soils

PHOTO: Martin receiving his Award from Rhonda Daly of Ylad Living Soils.

Martin Royds farms 2900 ha “Jillamatong” near Braidwood NSW. He has incorporated the best ideas from a wide range of sources into his farm plan, including Holistic Management, Biodynamics, and Natural Sequence Farming. He practices Pasture Cropping and produces 90% of his own fertilisers using worm farms, compost heaps, compost teas and biodynamic preparations. Biodiversity plantings along ridges increases fertility and attracts birds and insects while stock process and leave fertility at the top of slopes, attracted there to the shade after feeding on lowland pastures. Leaky weirs in erosion zones spread water to rehydrate flood plains and promote pasture growth. Compost heaps on the slopes leach nutrients down the slope. A mineral trailer allows stock to self select supplements including sea weed, lime calcium, and wattle bark (tannins) to reduce methane. Stock can also self-medicate by browsing medicinal herbs, shrubs and trees. Pastures have more than 80 species of grasses, legumes and forbes. Martin has a multi-level enterprise, featuring fertilisers, truffles, yabbies, fish, beef and timber. He has reversed erosion gulleys to slow water, process nutrients and then spread fertility up the landscape by using stock management, paddock design and tree planting. Congratulations, Martin.



JOINT WINNER: Cameron McKellar, “Inveraray Downs”, Spring Ridge


PHOTO: Cam McKellar receiving his Award from Daniel Linklater, representing N/C-Quest.

Cameron McKellar conducts a very successful biological farming operation on his 1300 ha property “Inveraray Downs” at Spring Ridge, NSW. Ten years ago he shifted from chemicals to natural fertilisers such as kelp and fish emulsion before introducing his own composting system to avoid fluctuations in prices. Soil organic matter registered 3% in the top 30cm and 2.5% in the 30-60cm profile, up from less than 0.5% in the late ‘80’s. Cam combines dryland and irrigation cropping under no-till cultivation, including slashing of stubble. He also runs a herd of Belted Galloways which are also used to process stubble. A small woodland area is managed for timber and biodiversity. He tests his soils every 6 months. Cam has been an active member of the Carbon Coalition and hosted many delegations on site visits, most notably the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott and former Governor General, Major General Michael Jeffery. Congratulations, Cam.



JOINT WINNER: Charlie Arnott & Dick Richardson, “Hanaminno”, Boorowa


PHOTO: Charlie Arnott receiving his Award from Daniel Linklater, representing N/C-Quest.

Charlie Arnott & Dick Richardson manage the 2127 ha “Hanaminno”, near Boorowa, NSW. They practice pasture cropping, large scale tree planting, holistic management of stock, pastures, water and soil, use no chemicals or inorganic fertilisers, minimal machinery use, retain ground cover at all times and do not supplementary feed stock. All this results in less diesel being used, carbon sequestration through tree growth and soil organic matter production and effective mineral cycling through strategic grazing management. Environmental outcomes of all management practices determine the direction of the business. They facilitate HM workshops and Biodynamic training workshops and produce BD preparations for others. They won the 2011 Conservation Farmer of the Year for the Lachlan Catchment. Congratulations, Dick and Charlie



WINNER: Bob & Anne Davie, “Bimbadeen”, Phillip Island, VIC

SPONSOR: Principle Focus

Bob & Anne Davie, manage the carbon footprint of their 144 ha at “Bimbadeen”, Phillip Island, VIC by addressing their emissions. Their Angus beef enterprise has become more productive and efficient as a result of the way they manage their stock and their pastures. They have used breeding, feed supplements and pasture management to produce animals that release less methane. Cattle that produce less methane put on weight quickly with less feed. The faster the weight gain, the quicker the Davies can turn the cattle over which means less overheads for each kilo of meat they sell. Cattle provided with fresh grass emit less methane, so the Davies have pasture cropped ryegrass varieties into their perennial pasture which is kept fresh by managed rotational grazing. They sell beef direct to the market under two brands, Enviromeat and Gippsland Natural, using their online presence. Water is a concern and they reduce evaporation from their dams and troughs by covering them with protective silicon film. Biodiversity is encouraged by the planting of 45,000 trees. A framework for sustainability for the business plan is provided by Bimbadeen’s adoption of the environmental Management System AS/NZ ISO 14001 Compliance. Trials have just begun to determine the link between land management and soil carbon. Congratulations, Bob and Anne.



WINNER: Victoria Royds, “Bedervale”, Braidwood, NSW.

SPONSOR: Seasol Commercial

Victoria Royds took over managing a family property - “Bedervale”, near Braidwood – three years ago and set a comprehensive list of goals, including soil health, biodiversity, productivity, vegetation, water dynamics, etc. She immediately divided the 520 ha property’s 19 paddocks into 32 as part of a plan to bring all paddocks down to 10 ha each. Pasture is grazed until there is a third grazed, a third left and a third litter, with the paddock rested for 10-12 weeks. Her aim is 100% groundcover. Emulating her brother and fellow Award winner Martin, she is establishing compost heaps on slopes so nutrients can leach downhill. Riparian zones have been fenced, with off-stream watering points established and in-stream ‘structures’ repaired which have improved flow and purity. 6000 trees have been planted. 5 monitoring points have been established. Victoria is an active member of Landcare and Natural Sequence Farming. She is currently undergoing training in Holistic Management, Compost Tea, and Prograze Plus. Congratulations, Victoria.

NB. Profiles of the CMA Carbon Cocky Winners will be provided soon..