Could farmers be forced to go carbon neutral?

Picture of a young girl in front of a blackboard, pondering a descision, with text overlaid: "To go carbon neutral, or sell a carbon credit. That is the question... OR IS IT?"

Could farmers be forced to go carbon neutral? There’s some discussion going about supply chain demands on Farmers to go carbon neutral, OR the potential for Farmers to be REQUIRED to go carbon neutral in future.

And that Farmers had better ‘hang on’ to their carbon credits in case this happens.

I admit this is something that’s been triggering me lately.

I feel the ‘discussion’ is not just premature, but once again done in a vacuum, without Farmer information.

So let’s look at this from a Farmer’s perspective.

Let’s deal with the PRESENT:

  • Farmers are only just getting their heads around what is involved in a Carbon Farming project – what’s a method, how do you follow one, what carbon abatement can be achieved, and what are the risks. AND how they want to engage with any third parties. Many options now.
  • If the decision to engage in a project is taken, it is likely to take from 1.5 to 5 years to even get the first payment!! All sorts of things could change by then.
  • For those who already have carbon credits now, more options for sale are arising. The price is rising. Where will future demand come from? Should they sell or ‘save’ the credits?

But remember, a carbon credit represents an INCOME stream over a reasonable length of time. It can also assist in drought-proofing farms, improving productivity, etc.

Some Farmers (and other industries as well) are currently getting requests from their customers or others in the supply chain to explain their carbon credentials and whether they are carbon neutral.

Let’s make no bones about it – to go Carbon Neutral is a COST. You have to have your carbon footprint measured, you have to say how you are reducing it, and then for what you can’t reduce yourself you have to either increase your on-farm reductions (e.g. plant trees) OR buy carbon credits from somewhere else.

There is no current Government policy to force farmers to go carbon neutral.

If anything, the biggest risk comes from our current Federal Government having targets that are TOO LOW – we are not thought well of internationally for this reason and there are suggestions of putting a carbon tariff on our exports.

What will protect Farmers from mandatory carbon neutrality?

  1. Better Australian Government targets and action on climate change, to improve our international reputation. We have an election coming. What promises will be made? (We’ll outline these at the conference)
  2. Currently, when a Farmer earns a carbon credit and sells to the Government – the Government CLAIMS that reduction in our national accounts – if a Farmer chooses to keep his credits to offset his own carbon footprint, this cannot happen.
    And the Government has claimed millions of tonnes of reductions that Farmers have or will deliver to them. Against their own targets. It’s a very valuable asset. Why would they want farmers to save all their credits?


Bear with me – here comes an outlandish idea… but hey, so was having a Soil Carbon method (once)!

Let’s see if we can turn the situation to FAVOUR the Farmers!

Picture this scenario… Let’s say you’re a Farmer, supplying to WIDGETS Co – a large customer.

CUSTOMER: “What are YOU doing, (Farmer) to lower your carbon footprint? (They may even ask “Are you going carbon neutral?”)

FARMER: “Well, I’m earning a carbon credit. I’m doing this by following rigorous rules and regulations. It’s all Government approved. If you, WIDGETS Co, would like to reduce YOUR footprint, I would be happy to sell my credits to you.

Why? What’s in it for your customer to buy your credits?

If they are a large organisation, they have their own carbon footprint, AND a reduction target as well. Sure, you help them by going Carbon Neutral – they can then claim that their supply chain is carbon neutral.

But what about their own direct emissions? Electricity, fuel, flights, etc?

If they BUY A CREDIT from you, they can claim “WIDGETS Co have now reduced our carbon footprint by tonnes of CO2e.” A much more direct benefit to them.

What’s the difference?

If they FORCE you to go carbon neutral, they can only make the claim that they bought from a carbon-neutral supplier.

But if they BUY your credit from you, they can make the DIRECT CLAIM that they have reduced their own footprint by that much.

Make sense? New concept?

Don’t worry, we are going to go through the whole Carbon Neutral issue in detail at the National Carbon Farming Conference & Expo, because it’s really important in your decision making.

Head to the website to register so you don’t miss out.




Want to improve your land and earn carbon credits?

Find out how to do that and much more at

the tenth National Carbon Farming Conference & Expo