Farmers planting trees for sustainability, carbon neutrality and income diversification

News article |

Planting will start in the coming months on three Eyre Peninsula farms that have revegetation sites being registered with the Australian Government’s Emissions Reduction Fund.

The planting and registration with the Emissions Reduction Fund, is a critical step in their involvement with the Australian Government’s Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot program which was developed to reward farmers for increasing biodiversity and storing carbon.

The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board region was chosen as one of six pilot regions across Australia for the program which was launched in March 2021 as part of the Agriculture Stewardship Package. The Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board is helping to facilitate the program locally for the Australian Government.

Planning and Assessment Officer with the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board, Andrew Freeman, has been working closely with the local farmers who applied for the program.

“It is great to see these farmers getting involved in this pilot project that will hopefully show how environmental plantings can have multiple benefits,” Mr Freeman says.

“Entering the carbon market will give these farmers a different income stream and the opportunity to move towards being carbon neutral.

“These farms will also likely see increases in grazing productivity in the future, as planted areas can be grazed by stock once trees become established.

“It will be really rewarding to see planting start on these local pilot areas and for these Eyre Peninsula farmers to be amongst the first in Australia to give this project a go.”

Revegetation using direct seeding and tube stock planting techniques will be undertaken this winter in conjunction with best practice pest control activities, to maximise results. The three farms piloting the project are located near Elliston, Wudinna and Port Lincoln.

The Agars family on the Eyre Peninsula are one of the farming businesses taking part in the pilot; and will soon be undertaking revegetation work on their land near Elliston.

“For our farm business, it made sense to be involved in this pilot for the environmental and financial benefits,” Jason Agars says.

“We already know that putting trees back into the landscape has environmental and productivity benefits but to also receive income for this – income that doesn’t rely on rainfall - will be very beneficial.

“We foresee that the opportunity of moving closer to carbon neutrality will also be a market advantage for our products, in particular our branded merino wool.”

Under the pilot, each revegetated project is between 5 and 200 hectares in size and will be managed for a minimum of 25 years.

For more information about the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot, visit the Department for Agriculture, Water and Environment’s website at agriculture.gov.au/agriculturestewardship.

Farmers planting trees for sustainability, carbon neutrality and income diversification
Jason and Bruce Agars at their farming property in a revegetation area that they started work on decades ago.

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