Healthy Soil Healthy People

Talking Soil Carbon with the Goyder Institute

26 October 2016

Last week, LawrieCo were invited to present at the Goyder Institutes Carbon Neutral Research Workshop. The opportunity was to share our experience and learnings in the Soil Carbon area with a group of fifty of South Australia’s researchers and leaders.

The attendees represented organisations looking at research opportunities for carbon sequestration strategies including SA Government, CSIRO, University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, Flinders University, PIRSA-SARDI, Rural Solutions SA and SA Water.

Following presentations which outlined the development of the strategy for Carbon Sequestration to meet SA’s goal of net zero by 2050.

The focus of Leticia Gosse’s presentation was on the landholder perspective of participating in a soil carbon project. Specifically, the pilot project LawrieCo have been working in, with partners, under the Federal Governments Emissions Reduction Fund methodology for ‘Sequestering Carbon in Grazing Systems’.

Our perspective outlined the opportunities and challenges for participating in a project, with a clear focus on the project presenting a commercially viable option for those who choose to be paid for increasing the carbon in their soil.

These include:

Landholder Value

  • Additional Income Stream
  • Regeneration of a natural resource - soil fertility
  • Co-benefits of productivity, resilience and risk management

Landholder Challenges

  • Risk associated with permanency obligation
  • Complexity of participation
  • Cost of soil carbon baselining
  • Ongoing audit requirements
Risk Mitigation Strategies
  • Pilot project to assess viability
  • Contracts with no delivery obligation
  • Options to withdraw from contracts

LawrieCo and the farms we work with see a huge upside to regenerating soil for farm productivity and sustainability, with the added benefit of increases in soil carbon. This then presents the opportunity for trading in the climate change scenario.

The challenge of widespread adoption, we find, is understanding and gathering information on the value of soil carbon to agriculture, over and above carbon payments, while overcoming and addressing the associated costs and risks of trading soil carbon through an approved methodology.

Thank you to Michele Akeroyd and the Goyder Institute, it was a pleasure to present and share our learnings to enable further progress and research on a shared vision.