The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) recently adopted a policy of conditional support for an Australian economy-wide net carbon zero target by 2050 (NCZ2050).

However, AgForce declined from voting on the initiative until a national baseline of the Agricultural Industry’s carbon footprint is established in order to calculate the practical steps needed to fight climate change at an accelerated rate, believing 2050 is too far into the future to be talking about.

Indeed, some farm groups aim for more aggressive targets, such as the red meat sector’s target of carbon neutrality by 2030.

Using our large farmer database KG2 has spoken to thousands of primary producers across Australia, finding that most are agreeable to the fact that steps need to be taken to solve this problem; but many of them don’t know where to start.

Climate change has been at the forefront of the Australian Agricultural industry for decades, however nothing of substance has been implemented that incentivises farmers to protect the environment.

Carbon Farming came onto the radar a few years ago, however most farmers we speak to have no idea how it works or who to talk to in order to get more information about how to apply for carbon credits.

It is a great idea, however the cross-sector research and on the ground studies have not been financed properly in order to allow it to grow into a true nation-wide initiative.

Whilst some work has been conducted by Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) and Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) on establishing the total carbon footprint of their respective industries, there has been no national coordinated effort by one specific organisation (perhaps the CSIRO) using up to date science and technology to establish a credible industry wide baseline – rather than a 2050 target with no practical way to achieve it.

The NFF admits that getting the answers while setting targets is a tricky approach. However, they stick by the fact that it is important to give a point of focus and be at the forefront of climate change issues.

We know that farmers manage 51% of the Australian landscape, meaning the industry is the absolute bedrock from which real change can arise.

Agricultural market research working in conjunction with government and ag corporations will be a key component to achieving this change.

From our initial research into the carbon market we have discovered that individual farms can be both sequesters and emitters depending on their commodity and practice mix.

Through our extensive market research, we conclusively know that Agriculture is the only sector within the Australian economy that has consistently reduced its emissions intensity and net emissions in the past decade.

A culmination of this research shows that a centralised carbon farming system needs to be implemented in the Agricultural industry if it is to reach the NFF’s vision of a $100 billion industry by 2030 while trending towards carbon neutrality with simultaneous growth in productivity.