October message from the Chair

Regenerative agriculture helps to provide a climate solution in Australia. Changing farming practices to include carbon in our precious national asset, the soil, is beneficial to all farmers.

The Prime Minister recently announced the re-appointment of the National Soils Advocate. The Advocate will increase awareness of the importance of conserving agricultural soil and landscape conditions for a range of benefits. These include benefiting the environment, enhancing agricultural productivity, realising continual economic benefits, and securing sustainable food production systems. A team in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet supports the Advocate.

Soils for Life case studies demonstrate that groundcover and sequestration occur through higher photosynthesis. More ways to build soil carbon include the application of recycled organics and cover cropping with multi-species plantings, which improve biological activity in the soil. Regenerative agricultural practices can improve soil structure, water retention, and boost fodder or crop production. The same practices can lead to more plants and profitability, increased growth, and root turnover that builds organic matter and soil organic carbon. One tonne of carbon is equal to 3.67 tCO2e carbon credits. Multi-species pasture cropping can build soil carbon at rates that are equivalent to tree planting.

Soil carbon benefits include resilience and food security, plant nutritional quality, improved water filtration, and reduced erosion and nutrient runoff.

Soil organic carbon is a water management story. There are 470 million hectares of agricultural landscapes in Australia. If we can support farmers to sequester soil carbon, there will be benefits to the farmer and the environment.

Congratulations to the Government for the carbon farming initiative process of paying landholders to sequester carbon through the Emissions Reduction Fund. At Soils for Life, we work towards simplifying the process. If payments flow more smoothly, then it is easier to qualify as a farmer seeking to rehabilitate our prime national asset.

Soils for Life brings scientists, farmers, urban gardeners, and policymakers together to contribute to and implement a national policy that will support farmers to benefit all Australians over future decades and generations. We can all work together. Let’s do it.