A Government grant is investing almost $2.5 million into a cutting-edge La Trobe University project in northern Victoria, aimed at encouraging climate resilience and rewarding on-farm sustainable practices.
Minister for Agriculture and Nationals Senator for Victoria, Bridget McKenzie, and Nationals Member for Nicholls, Damian Drum, said the project would provide a proof of concept when it came to putting a value on natural assets on-farm.
Minister McKenzie said the project was an important precursor to enable farmers to take part in carbon markets and to achieve premium prices for their food and fibre.
“La Trobe University’s project has the potential to put economic values on our natural assets on broadacre, livestock and mixed cropping farms,” she said.
“At least 50 farms across New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania will gain verifiable information about the value of the natural assets on their land—like soil carbon, vegetation and biodiversity.
“This information can validate the environmental performance of their farms—information that can help secure market access, provide incentive to investors concerning the sustainability and profitability of enterprises, and help farmers earn carbon credits as another income stream.
“This is cutting edge work which will stimulate and reward sustainable practices, allow farmers to pass their land on in better shape to the next generation and demonstrate Australia’s clean and safe credentials to the world.”
Mr Drum said the project aimed to develop a National Capital Accounting tool that would be cost effective and easily adoptable by farm businesses.
“This project is at the forefront of agricultural innovation and it just wouldn’t be possible to get it off the ground without the willingness of our farmers,” he said.
“Our farmers have always been early adopters of new technologies and this project shows the determination of many in the sector to continue that tradition.
“This project will lead to better sustainable agriculture outcomes, improved health of our natural resources, and increased knowledge and skills for our farmers.
“Our government is ready to help agriculture become a $100 billion industry by 2030 and we’ll do that in part through investing in innovations such as these.”
Smart Farming Partnerships is a key initiative of the National Landcare Program, with more than $57.5 million in grants allocated to a total of 26 projects across two rounds.
For more details of the Smart Farming Partnerships visit http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/natural-resources/landcare/national-landcare-program/australian-government-investment-in-landcare.