Labour Concluded....Baby Soil Carbon Meth Delivered

Wednesday, April 02, 2014


It is with great relief.......... that we announce that the Soil Carbon Methodology has been delivered!

 Just  a quick note -  I've been resting under a Banana leaf  (read: holed up in Bondi with Grandchildren!)  since the last newsletter and, in a twinkling of an eye,  the Department has snuck up  and put the Soil Carbon Methodology up for public viewing!! 

 Now,  get yourself a nice BIG  cup of something strong, and have a look at what we have been beavering away at, but not really able to show you. 

 This is now YOUR chance to have a say -   What do you think?  Strengths? Weaknesses? Feel free to ask us questions.      click here to see the methodology,

Don't worry too much if it is still hard to read or looks hard to implement -  There will be some more simplifications to it.   As in,  some easier to read explanations of it. The Clean Energy Regulator will also do some explanations.

 ALSO,  we will be doing some webinars to explain it,  as soon as it looks like a final draft of the meth  AND  we feel we can support it. 

The process from here is that it will stay on public view for about 35 more days, then all the feedback will be taken on board, THEN  it goes back to the Domestic Offset Integrity Committee and then if all is well,  they suggest to the Minister that it should be legislated. Once this occurs, we can use it!    Due to be about July 1st. 

We'll keep you posted of course, but for now,  happy reading!!


Onwards!



7th National Carbon Farming Conference and Expo


ALL your questions were answered!!

Slides from speakers soon available at:
www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au



   

And, it was thus.........

Monday, March 24, 2014
It was with great relief.......... 

 OMG -   The conference is over!!   Its a huge effort each year, but each year it proves itself.

We were thrilled to host this years conference in Canberra  - which attracted the public service types who otherwise just can't make it.   

There was lots of great conversations and plans laid - delicious food and good company, not to mention some really nice wine. 

But, the biggest relief came from the announcements made.   We had inspirational speakers who were instrumental  in helping the 200 plus souls gathered understand the way this 'carbon farming' works, but the Minister helped this along when he announced:

1. That  Grazing Management will be on the Positive list!   This is the GREEN Light for Graziers to take part in the Carbon Farming Initiative -  Just like we have said, and

2. There WILL be a 25 year Carbon Credit Option.  This eliminates the fears around the '100 year'  rule  - while having implications of  its own! 


 Then, add to this, Shayleen  Thompson from the Department said the Soil Carbon Meth will be on public view in April (sometime) -  This will be YOUR chance to finally get a look at it and comment  AND  it is planned that farmers will be able to start a project by July 1 - subject to what happens to the Carbon Price repeal

We also met on the Thursday with 30 brave souls to discuss the future for this industry. We decided we DO need some form of Association  and I'll bring you news of that soon.

Just recovering at the moment,  but soon we'll have the Association up and running.

I will have 'soil carbon' measurement teams available in each State - once the details are clear and  ready for the July1  and we'll be hosting some webinars in the lead up to explain how things might work.  

 So, finally we have delivered what we have worked towards for 9 long years!  A 'meth' emerges -  and it doesn't look too bad!  What a huge relief - and worth a glass or two of champagne!

However, we  now have some serious work ahead to keep costs down and prices up for farmers but hey, that's a smaller mountain compared to the ones we have climbed so far!  WE have a Marketing background and can think of lots of 'niche'  ideas to ensure people are prepared to pay for what we will have -  Gourmet Carbon!   

Onwards!

 

 

 





7th National Carbon Farming Conference and Expo


ALL your questions were answered!!

Slides from speakers soon available at:
www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au

Other speakers in the Soil Carbon Measurement space at conference were inspirational. 

Dr Raphael Viscarra - Rossel - CSIRO

Dr Raphael Viscarra- Rossel is responsible for developing novel approaches to measure, model and map soil for CSIRO Land and Water, and leads developments in proximal soil sensing, soil spectroscopy and digital soil mapping.  His research contributes to the CSIRO’s Sustainable Agriculture Flagship and supports its goals by developing novel scientific approaches to better understand soil and its condition.  Dr Viscarra Rossel leads a DA FtRG2 project to develop an innovative solution for accurate and affordable estimates of soil carbon;  a GRDC project to look at the effectiveness and profitability of sensors for measuring soil carbon, and co-leads the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) continental scale digital soil mapping project.


 This method is up and coming in the soil carbon measurement space.

   

Can I still come?

Friday, March 14, 2014

 We've been fielding  lots of calls from farmers and had a great response to our 'Farmers attend FREE'    offer.    The conference will be a wonderful platform now to drive farmers forward to participation in a new market.   Much work to be done, but engagement in the knowledge is key. 

Some however, are now asking  - Can I still come? Farmers make decisions on a day by day basis and need to be as flexible as the weather is so unruly at times. And many other things can happen day to day.

So thought to write a quick note.

The answer is YES  - Registrations still open.  We are still processing farmer requests, and non farmers welcome as well.   I'll even take some walk ups.   My caterers will kill me,  but so what.   Getting the knowledge out is more important.

 

Visit  www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au  to see the full program.


 The story is NOT just building- its about to become real - for farmers and for Australian soils.   Our conference is a mixture of conference and the best education around, so don't forget to:

REGISTER NOW on the site (see side panel)

Onwards!

 

 

 





7th National Carbon Farming Conference and Expo


ALL your questions can be answered

Venue: Rydges Lakeside, Canberra

Dates: March 17th to 20th. 

REGISTER NOW AT
www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au

Other speakers in the Soil Carbon Measurement space at conference.

Dr Raphael Viscarra - Rossel - CSIRO

Dr Raphael Viscarra- Rossel is responsible for developing novel approaches to measure, model and map soil for CSIRO Land and Water, and leads developments in proximal soil sensing, soil spectroscopy and digital soil mapping.  His research contributes to the CSIRO’s Sustainable Agriculture Flagship and supports its goals by developing novel scientific approaches to better understand soil and its condition.  Dr Viscarra Rossel leads a DA FtRG2 project to develop an innovative solution for accurate and affordable estimates of soil carbon;  a GRDC project to look at the effectiveness and profitability of sensors for measuring soil carbon, and co-leads the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) continental scale digital soil mapping project.


 

   

Question: How do you unlock the potential of the Largest Carbon Sink over which we have control? Answer: Make it easy for farmers to engage!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

As we race towards the conference I thought to show you the 'architecture' of a methodology.

Now is the time to 'get your head around'  how this is structured -  You can't make decisions around introducing the idea to others if you are not well informed!

So, for any  methodologies that the Department (of Environment that is) is working on, (and private groups can also work on developing a methodology)  you may have:

• A technical working group - This is the scientists and other experts in an area - in our case, soil, soil carbon and other technical expertise. The very basis of the methodology, these guys check the integrity of what can be done  Eg: 'what is the evidence around soil carbon sequestration'

• A reference group  -  A group of 'practitioners'-  In the case of soil carbon, these are farmers in the main - We sit on the soil carbon reference group.    This group helps the Department to understand if those who are targetted by the methodology  WILL actually use it.  (Others who sit in this group will be at the conference).

 AND  then, there is the DOIC  (The Domestic Offset Integrity Committee) These are like the 'police' . They are tough on any new methodology and look at it from every angle. They have to approve the overall 'meth'  and if happy, will allow it to be realeased  for public viewing - at which time Everyone gets a go at saying why it should or shouldn't be approved - This means YOU.

In order to have good feedback into this system when the methodology goes on public view you need to understand WHAT is involved in it. Knowledge is key to this process to make sure it works for the majority. 

THIS conference is the ONLY place where the 3 legs meet to give you that knowledge-  Science, Practice and Department.   Where else can you:

•Ask  the Minister  "How do you intend to 'streamline' the CFI for farmers - what are you doing about the 100 years rule and making it easy for farmers to take part?

• Ask  Dr Baldock about ScARP  the soil carbon research - its had quite a lot of publicity lately.  What was it designed to do? Results and where to now?

• Ask  the Department about the Soil C meth,  the nitrous oxide meth and methane -  HOw are they making them 'farmer friendly'? When will it be on public view?.

•Get a handle on what is required to actually DO a project - the legals,  how you sell the credits  AND what else is happening in this space.  Community leaders like you need to understand what is involved so you can make informed decisions. 

• Hear the latest innovations  -  4G Biochar,   novel tests for Soil carbon biology, new measurement methods to drive down costs. 

• Mingle and asks questions, questions, questions  of all of the players. 

We've had a great response to our offer for farmers to attend FREE, but there is still time to Register and come along  and answer the question for yourself - Is there anything in this for my stakeholders 

Visit  www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au  to see the full program.


 The story is NOT just building- its about to become real - for farmers and for Australian soils.   Our conference is a mixture of conference and the best education around, so don't forget to:

REGISTER NOW on the site (see side panel)

Onwards!

 

 

 





7th National Carbon Farming Conference and Expo


ALL your questions can be answered

Venue: Rydges Lakeside, Canberra

Dates: March 17th to 20th. 

REGISTER NOW AT
www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au

Other speakers in the Soil Carbon Measurement space at conference.

Dr Raphael Viscarra - Rossel - CSIRO

Dr Raphael Viscarra- Rossel is responsible for developing novel approaches to measure, model and map soil for CSIRO Land and Water, and leads developments in proximal soil sensing, soil spectroscopy and digital soil mapping.  His research contributes to the CSIRO’s Sustainable Agriculture Flagship and supports its goals by developing novel scientific approaches to better understand soil and its condition.  Dr Viscarra Rossel leads a DA FtRG2 project to develop an innovative solution for accurate and affordable estimates of soil carbon;  a GRDC project to look at the effectiveness and profitability of sensors for measuring soil carbon, and co-leads the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) continental scale digital soil mapping project.


 

   

Farmers attend for FREE

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Farmers must call Jan on (02) 68821425 to claim this special offer 

Visit www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au to see the full program.

Drought-affected farmers are being offered free tickets to this year’s two day Carbon Farming Conference, to be held in Canberra on 18th and 19th March, 2014. The Conference gives farmers information on how to make money from Carbon Farming.

Farmers will learn about their prospects of earning additional income from planting trees, applying biochar, applying natural fertilisers, and managing pastures in new ways. The Government’s $1bn Emissions Reduction Fund, that pays farmers to reduce their emissions and store carbon in their soils, starts on 1 July, 2014.

Environment Minister Greg Hunt is opening the Conference and speakers from his Department are expected to announce which new farming techniques will be rewarded immediately. Speakers from the CSIRO and the University of Sydney will launch affordable soil measurement systems.

Expert speakers will explore the available markets and the types of contracts farmers will encounter when they sell their carbon credits.

Designing drought-resistant farms

Carbon farming can also help farmers make their properties “drought resistant”. “Many still have feed on the ground long after others have run out,” says conference organiser Louisa Kiely of Carbon Farmers of Australia. “Carbon farmers tend to go into drought later and come out of drought sooner, by managing their stock differently. “ Experienced carbon farmers will explain the way they manage to maximise pasture production.

Droughts are likely to get worse in future and carbon farming will assist landholders manage.

“This offer has been made possible by the generous support of our sponsors”. Said Louisa. “This 2 day conference forms part of the 4 day program, which includes a ½ day field day”

Farmers must call Jan on (02) 68821425 to claim their free tickets
Visit www.carbonfarmingconference.com.au to see the full program.

Spotlight on a speaker #3 - Meet a Real Life Carbon Farmer - Cam Banks

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Spotlight on a Speaker -  #3 
Meet a Real Life Carbon Farmer - Cam Banks. 

We can have as many soil carbon 'meths' as we like, but without the farmer's involvement,  we'll get no-where!

Farmers ARE the Land Managers and Stewards, they ARE the ones who can improve the sequestration rates in the soils and vegetation, but what will make them decide to embrace this?

Question:  'How do you get a message through to a farmer?'   Answer:     'ON a cheque!' 

Sounds simple,  but Michael has also  said 'if you want a farmer to sign a contract, you'll have to give him one he wants to sign'!

Meaning, of course that you need to make sure this new enterprise suits a farmer.  Money wise,  but conditions wise as well. 

THIS has been the big challenge -  as we try to understand rules (Kyoto) that are made overseas, by economists and other non-farmers. (why does no one ever ask the farmers?) 

Issues like the 100 years rule have dominated, blocking the commencement of practices which can improve productivity, but also store more carbon in the Land Sector- vital if we are to tackle the 'legacy load' of CO2 in the air.

Soil Carbon has been in the 'too hard'  basket. 

Meanwhile, others have started in this trade -  Those who burn Savanna,  those who have landfill,  and those who have vegetation methodologies, have all been able to get going,  taking advantage of the $23 per tonne carbon  in the doing.

Do the sums on 1million tonnes of carbon at that price and you'll feel the pain that soil carbon has had to bear, watching from the side lines. The 'Carbon Farming Initiative' was  about anything but farming. 

Now, at last, we are close.   We will face a different price on carbon, through no fault of our own, but still, it is now near. More than that, some of the more onerous conditions are set to be 'streamlined'  under this Government -(however, ALL sectors can now enter the market!)

One 'Carbon Farmer' - Cam Banks  has a long history of managing farms, and now farms in the Uralla  district.

Most recently Cam has been busy converting a  conventionally managed, high rainfall property to a biologically sustainable productive property which has been a huge challenge. 

Healthy soil that grows healthy pastures, crops and animals has long been strong interest for Cam who believes that "if you do not measure it you cannot manage it effectively".   He has measured lots of things as he has gone along -  and has learnt about carbon increases along the way.

Click here to read more information about Cam  

The story is building.........  our conference is a mixture of conference and the best education around, so don't forget to:

REGISTER NOW on the site

Onwards!

Spotlight on a Speaker - #2 Introducing Ischani Wheeler....

Friday, February 07, 2014

A long time ago,  I sat in a meeting, funnily enough about soil carbon and its potential for storage in the ground, and thence to trade!  There was a young student giving some very good insights into soil carbon  - and her name was Ischani  Wheeler.   Ischani  was obviously very passionate in this area and now she holds a PhD in Soil carbon Sequestration! Or, more precisely her PhD examined farm-scale auditing protocols for soil carbon sequestration.  I wonder if she is the first to have formal qualifications in this space?

Is it any wonder we will hear from her at the conference? She has seen the ups and downs of this 'measurement' challenge, and she will be talking about a measurement protocol which has a patent approval on it.    This will be one of the measurement protocols we talk about at the 1/2 day field day on the 17th March.  You'll also be able to ask questions at the conference, and they will have an exhibition at the expo  as well.  How have they resolved the issues? how can it be used? Do we still need to dig holes?

Click here to read more information about Ischani

 We will compliment Ischani's  talk on soil carbon measurement with one or two  other ones  -  but the other important issue is "How does a soil carbon measurement protocol marry with an approved  methodology which sets out the things a farmer needs to do to be paid for increases in soil carbon?"   I urge caution here - you need to get all parts of the puzzle before you race off with any one measurement protocol.  It will cost money to measure - make sure you don't need to do it twice if you wish to be paid for increases!

Shayleen Thompson,  First Assistant Secretary in the Department of Environment, who has been working in this space since 1995 and has National and International experience, will talk about the link between such measurement protocols AND the CFI soil carbon methodology, which is nearing completion. 

Click here to see information about Shayleen and the DOIC

 The story is building.........  our conference is a mixture of conference and the best education around, so don't forget to:

REGISTER NOW on the site (see side panel)

Onwards!

 

 

 



 

Spotlight on a Speaker - #1 Elisa de Wit - Partner - Norton Rose Fulbright Australia

Tuesday, February 04, 2014
As promised, today I start the series on our speakers. Each has been chosen for a reason, and the conference builds speaker by speaker towards the development of the whole carbon farming industry. Like any new industry, things tend to be rocky, clunky and definitely have the characteristics of 'new born' around them- small, not sure of who or what it is, but with huge promise hidden within. Not to mention in this case that the politics of the situation has see-sawed for a number of years now. That is why we also have plans to discuss how to take the industry forward with or without favourable Government schemes.
(This will be the subject of the 1/2 day 'advanced workshop on the 20th March - but more of that later!) So, one of the development issues is around the cost of putting CFI projects in on the ground - auditing, measuring, monitoring and not least, legal costs!  
Software development is the answer to some of these issues (and we'll talk about that later too), but there is a company working to drive down the cost of the legal requirements. Norton Rose Fulbright is a big international legal company with over 600 lawyers in Australia alone. (To see details on the company click here ). They have made it their business to understand the legal side of the CFI and any associated legislation in Australia. They have helped people with the legal requirements of the CFI since its inception.

Last year, Norton Rose was awarded a grant through the 'Extention and Outreach' round of grants. This grant is to develop legal 'templates' for the CFI. So, instead of having to wade through the legal system from scratch, these templates will allow individuals and groups who wish to develop a CFI project to easily and cheaply down load the templates. Elisa de Wit is leader of the company's climate change practice in Australia. She will enlighten us about the company's 'Legal and Contracts Guide' developed by herself and others as part of the above program. Come and find out what this means for your project! View Elisa's bio and photo here.

Click Here to REGISTER NOW!

By the way, I'm 9/10ths of the way through the draft program, which will be on the site by week's end. Do 'drop by' to see this, but I'll let you know when its up as well. More exciting speakers to come. 
Onwards!

Abbott Government has a mandate for Soil Carbon Credits.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Hey there - This time, a message from our esteemed leader, Michael: 

"The Abbott Government has a mandate to introduce a system of soil carbon credits that will make it financially attractive for landholders to adopt regenerative soil management practices that capture and hold carbon in the landscape. 

The Abbott Government fought two federal elections with the promise: “Under the Direct Action plan, soil carbons will be the major plank of our strategy.” As long ago as 2008 then Shadow Minister Greg Hunt declared that the Coalition had “a soil carbon vision”. A Coalition Government would commit to a “once in a century” replenishment of our national soils and farmlands. Those of us working for this outcome took Greg Hunt at his word. Now, as Minister, he can deliver on the vision. 

The Minister has declared 1st July, 2014 the start of the new Carbon Farming Initiative. He will need to deliver on his promise to remove the suffocating green tape that requires each land-based carbon activity to have its own Act of Parliament and its participants to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence. His presentation at the National Carbon Farming Conference in Canberra on 17-20 March, 2014 will be watched closely.

Greg Hunt could find himself in the centre of a perfect storm of opportunity: a low cost method of measuring soil carbon has emerged from the CSIRO; Hunt’s own department has a soil carbon ‘methodology’ on the work bench; and a breakthrough in the economics of biochar could make it available at last for broadacre farmers. All three will be subject of presentations at the Conference.

Michael Mobbs speaks the truth: You cannot prevent extreme weather events by avoiding emissions because you can’t prevent your grandfather’s emissions and it is they doing all the damage. They must be extracted from the atmosphere and there is only one way to do that at the scale we need it: photosynthesis, Nature’s carbon vacuum cleaner. Billions of hectares of agricultural soils can be deployed immediately at critical mass and massive capacity.

Emissions reduction is the long term solution. But there is no long term without a short term. Click here to see what Michael Mobbs has to say (this article was recently reprinted) 

Coming soon: - I'll be putting the 'spotlight' on our speakers, and topics, showcasing what each will bring to the table. Our speakers are 'hand-picked', using those who are in an important 'niche' in this space. 

Our aim is to educate, drive the agenda forward, and showcase those who are already paving the way. 

Our goal remains 'to see soil carbon (and other opportunities) traded and farmers paid fairly for what they grow. 

AND its happening! Click here to see what is happening in Kenya 

Onwards!

HO HO HO, its back to work we go!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

 Hello,  one and all,  and welcome to 2014!  I must say, as much as I adore every one of my 6 grandkids,  'loving' them all over the break is exhausting, and I'm looking forward to the relative peace and quiet of my desk! I trust the rest of the world is, however,  well rested and keen to get going as well.

So, 2014.   The year the Soil Carbon Methodology arrives.  Its a promise, and I'm not a politician! Yes, the long and winding road has a light at the end of the tunnel,  and the work that has been going on behind the scenes will, indeed come forth.   If I was a betting person, I'd now be ready to put money on it! 

Much more on this as we get ready for the conference, held over from last year due to the election. We've already confirmed Minister Hunt, and many others.  click here to read the latest on the conference

I wanted today  to bring you  some other happy news which will affect the Land Sector and its ability to sell carbon credits into markets other than the  Emissions Reduction Fund.

There is a new report out "Use of internal carbon price by companies as incentive and strategic planning tool"   With the summary declaring " Many major companies using internal carbon Price" 

Well, this is music  to our ears. Sure, its just a start,  but  these are big companies.   With the world talks on climate change seemingly forever stuck it its ability to move forward on action, it is significant that its not just US  States, China and others who are recognising the need to put an internal price on carbon as a long term strategy.  These are the emerging strategies which will underpin a world wide market.  

 Its like that ad  'It won't happen overnight, but it will happen'.    And it will take us a number of years to improve soil carbon and have some carbon credits in the bank anyway. Click here to read full document click here to read full document

 Onwards!