Breaking News! Keynote speaker announced.

Friday, September 16, 2011



Land management’s quiet American revolution

Keynote speaker at this year’s Carbon Farming Conference, Courtney White of the Quivira Coalition, is leading a revolution in land management in America. The former environmental activist abandoned confrontation with ranchers to forge a new community model for creating healthy ‘working landscapes’ by building bridges between ranchers, conservationists, public land managers, scientists and others. In 1997, with two farmers, he co-founded the Quivira Coalition in New Mexico which uses education and collaboration to promote progressive public and private land stewardship. More recently he has been focussed on ‘carbon ranching’ and the new agrarian movement (healthy soil, healthy food, healthy people) in the USA. Mr White is visiting Australia to meet ‘carbon farmers’ and healthy soils activists. Australia is the first country in the world to legislate a carbon offset scheme for farming projects, at a national level.

Courtney will address the topic: “The Carbon Puzzle: Reassembling Land and Livelihoods” at the Carbon Farming Conference (28-29 September, 2011, in Dubbo NSW). He will share his experiences at the forefront of change with the Quivira Coalition. During the Spanish Colonial era in the South Western states, mapmakers used the word 'Quivira' to designate unknown territory beyond the frontier; it was also a term for an elusive golden dream.

Mr White’s writing has appeared in numerous publications, including Farming, Acres Magazine, Rangelands, and the Natural Resources Journal. His essay “The Working Wilderness: a Call for a Land Health Movement” was published by Wendell Berry in 2005 in his collection of essays titled "The Way of Ignorance."  In 2008, Island Press published Courtney’s book Revolution on the Range: the Rise of a New Ranch in the American West. He co-edited, with Dr. Rick Knight, Conservation for a New Generation, also published by Island Press in 2008. 

Free Barista Bar Coffee!

There will be a special networking lounge area with complimentary ‘real’ coffee from a Barista Bar. This coffee service is sponsored by the Environmental Registry and the lounge area is furnished by Harvey Norman Dubbo.

Who Will Be The Carbon Converters?

Not every farmer will want to get involved in trading farm carbon offsets. In fact, at least 25% have already decided not to, according to a recent survey by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC). The study, called Decisions Made By Farmers That Relate To Climate Change, found there are three types of response to the need to change practices: ignore it (26%), want to do something but can’t afford it (19%), want to do something but need support (55%). This last group - called ‘Cash-poor long-term adaptors’ - tend to believe Climate Change is real and man-made and that we have a responsibility to do something about it. 

They are information seekers and intend to farm more sustainably if they can get support. They tend to have larger farms (average 5000 ha) than the other groups (1600 ha and 2700 ha), and they rely less on off-farm income. They average 55 years of age, their health is good and they feel up to handling change. So, the majority of farmers (74%) want to change to meet the challenge of Climate Change, but need financial support to do so. That is what farm carbon offsets from the Carbon Farming Initiative and the $1.8bn in adjustment funding from the Carbon Tax are designed to deliver to farmers. Now that’s something you won’t hear from rural politicians or regional press outlets.

How the market works (for Indians)

It is hoped that next year it will be Australian farmers, but Carbon offsets paid to farmers in India are being used to offset the emissions generated by this year’s Carbon Farming Conference. The land-based offset credits will be derived from sugar cane used to generate energy. Ben Stuart, Director of Carbon Trading Exchange said “We wanted to demonstrate to farmers what it could mean for them by stepping in to this market. Through the simple offsetting of an event we can show how land-based projects can make money. 

Businesses will be able to buy CFI credits in Australia to offset their own carbon footprint and count towards their overall emissions reductions and the money will be generated back in to the Australian farming community.” Ben will explain at the Conference how these offsets were created and traded-  from go to whoa. The entire event will be offset for the full three days, this will include the electricity for the event, as well as the on-site event set up and bump out (All delegates and sponsors will be responsible for their own carbon footprint.)

The Carbon Farming Conference

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