Realising the potential of Carbon Farming

Lachlan Dunsdon — National Director Rural & Agribusiness

There is a wave of money, influence and demand from the public for Australia to reach net zero by 2050, and in the meantime achieve an emissions reduction target of 43% from 2005 levels by 2030.

Agriculture is a solution when it comes to offsetting carbon, and better still, generating Australian Carbon Credit Units for offsetting purposes. Big emitters like fossil fuel companies can’t reduce their emissions fast enough to reach these goals, and will have to revert to offsetting in the short-medium terms to satisfy these legislated targets.

As carbon projects grow in popularity and presence within the country’s agricultural property market, we are hoping that both producers and large companies/funds purchasing land for carbon projects, ask more questions and conduct these projects with transparency to ensure carbon farming realizes its potential.

There is a significant shift both nationally and internationally for environmental change and what’s often overlooked is that a lot of Australian Agriculture practices that we undertake are already very environmentally friendly. Many farms I suspect are already Carbon Neutral, and likely Carbon Positive. However, what we don’t do well is collect and provide data to tell a story to learn, improve, and maximize the potential for a project like carbon.

There is acute difficulty in accessing genuine, independent information on existing carbon projects. This limits the ability of agricultural professionals to upskill themselves on carbon farming. Very few industry participants like bankers, valuers, accountants, or lawyers genuinely understand the intricacies of carbon farming. Even for those that have an understanding, even fewer have the ability to determine how a Carbon Project could positively or negatively impact the value of a rural asset.

What impacts transparency of data and comprehensive understanding of carbon projects?

  1. Some of the information that’s available is very scientific, which makes it difficult to understand in real life or practical terms. For example, how each piece of that information will create, limit, or change various aspects of a rural property and the occupying agribusiness.
  2. Much of the information and detail relating to a specific carbon farming project is generally held by carbon project developers and the Clean Energy Regulator behind non-disclosure agreements (NDAs). These NDAs in some instances have limited property transactions with potential buyers being unable to access critical information. These NDA’s certainly limit the availability of information to those outside of a landholders “inner circle” of professional service providers.

4 tips for prospective landholders interested in carbon projects:

  1. Do not rush into anything. Learn about Carbon Farming and how it might provide a complement to an existing agribusiness.
  2. Maintain an extensive and up-to-date information repository about operations, including operational and financial datasets.
  3. If/Once a carbon project is implemented on the land, record data that depicts the practical elements of the operation, the workings of the carbon project, and what the project generates in terms of carbon credits etc.
  4. Always seek independent advice when considering any change to a property or business including carbon and/or biodiversity projects.

For any questions related to Carbon farming in the rural agribusiness sector, please contact:

Lachlan Dunsdon
National Director Rural & Agribusiness
— Brisbane Property Valuers
  |  LinkedIn
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