A group of farmers have banded together to help the climate. With the added bonus of creating an extra revenue stream for themselves. There are a number of government grants and initiatives available under under Australia’s Emissions Reduction scheme. Some of the eligible projects include carbon capture and carbon offsets, as well as other environmental improvements that farmers can make. Previously these grants were almost impossible for most farmers to access, as they were only available to large agricultural organizations. Until now.
Meet ‘Regen Farmers Mutual’; a first of its kind. The group is farmer-owned, and allows small-scale farmers to sign up as members. The group then applies for the government grants as a single entity on behalf of its members, which is divided between members. As a result smaller farmers are able to get paid for improving the environment. Projects include planting trees, improving soil fertility and increasing ground cover. In addition, grants also cover initiatives such as improving waterways, providing habitats and increasing biodiversity. The group has already signed up 215 farmers as members and is growing rapidly. It was the brainchild of Rohan Clarke, an investment banking and conservation finance professional, alongside co founder Andrew Ward who has a background in regenerative farming.
“A lot of farmers want to improve their land, to put methods in place to make a drought less severe. Now they can be recognised for it and paid for it. It puts farmers in the driver’s seat,” Rohan Clarke said.
Regen Farmers Mutual is currently running a crowd funding campaign allowing people to invest as little as $100.
One farmer taking advantage of the scheme is Elizabeth Evans. Elizabeth runs a 275 acre permaculture farm in NSW, which produces fruit and vegetables. She also makes traditional indigenous medicine and grows nuts. Permaculture is a type of farming which takes a holistic approach. Moreover it is about creating sustainable self sufficient ecosystems. Its ethos is to produce and reuse almost everything on the farm, including fertilizers and having its own water supplies. The scheme has allowed Elizabeth to be paid to lock away 250 acres for regeneration. As well as building dams and putting in ground cover.
The future is bright for the energy-saving industries. Currently the carbon market in Australia is worth an estimated $226M. However Australia is committed to have net-zero emissions by 2050. As such the carbon market is forecast to reach $24 Billion by 2030.