Soil carbon measurement problems? What problems?

The times they are a changing… in the soil carbon measurement and project space

Back in the old days, we were informed by many that a soil carbon method could not be a reality as ‘you couldn’t measure it’.

Well, of course what was meant was ‘we haven’t focussed on measuring soil carbon at scale for the purpose of rewarding farmers for the improvements and co-benefits that increasing soil carbon can bring’. Which was true.

Back then, CFA was lucky enough to have been chosen as one of 11 innovative farmers in the central west of NSW (along with Colin Seis, and Nigel Kerin, to name 2 others). The now Bob Hawke Landcare winner, Bruce Maynard (who then worked for the Central West CMA), organised and ran 20 days of training. Including all about the carbon cycle and agriculture.

At this training, we came to understand that through the magic of photosynthesis, and the fact that farmers control over 50% of the land mass worldwide, farmers could collectively draw down massive amounts of the ‘legacy load’ of CO2. Which was causing the warming effect in the climate. No amount of lowering emissions can do this.

Not only this, but as a farmer took CO2 out of the air (now known as drawdown), and stored it back in vegetation and trees, the soil structure and water-holding capacity improved. Amazing! Into drought later, out of drought sooner.

This was why we launched our lobbying efforts to get a soil carbon method approved, even before the Carbon Farming Initiative.

We launched our first Carbon Farming Conference in 2007, holding it in Mudgee. You can still see a review of this conference here: (bless you Milkwood!):

Now, we were not the only ones of course. Many have joined the fray over the intervening years. Those who understand the soil. Those who work it, and those who believe in its work to feed us all. And those who understand that farmers need to be rewarded to do the job of scrubbing the air of CO2.

Flick forward to NOW and look what we have, thanks to ALL those folks.

  1. The only method which has successfully gone through 3 reviews and come out stronger. The current Australian method we can trade under is the 2021 method.
    You can read all about it here. There are some simple guides on the site, so please look at them first. I’m always happy to answer questions.
  2. Over 350 Soil Carbon Projects registered under the ERF. This is a mighty outcome from a few very dedicated companies. Of course, they will be at the conference so you can ask all your questions. We will have more on this later.

One of the BIG challenges has been that original argument of ‘you can’t measure it’ – or more accurately – it was expensive to measure it.

But soon it won’t be!
Research and dedication are on the move. Due to the efforts of the soil carbon fraternity, the government last year announced and awarded the first projects under the National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge.

We will hear from some of the award winners at the inaugural Nature-Based Solutions Conference & Expo (registration is now open!). What are the innovations? How are they making it cheaper? Is it your chance now?

The other good news is that the government has launched Round 2 of the National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge.

And the details are here:

So, if YOU have a fabulous idea for lowering the cost of Soil C measurement, apply now! Be part of the future.

I’m also sharing an old slide of ours – which is a useful tool to use to assist some to understand what the ‘flow on’ effects of improvements in soil carbon provide. Please feel free to use it, with acknowledgment of where it’s come from.

We’ll have ALL the latest at our Soil Carbon Summit at the conference. See you there!





Want to improve your land AND earn carbon credits?
Find out how to do that and much more at the inaugural

Nature-Based Solutions Conference & Expo

Monday 17–Wednesday 19 July 2023