Spotlight on a speaker #3 – Meet a Real Life Carbon Farmer – Cam Banks

February 17, 2014 Louisa Kiely

Spotlight on a Speaker –  #3 
Meet a Real Life Carbon Farmer – Cam Banks. 

We can have as many soil carbon ‘meths’ as we like, but without the farmer’s involvement,  we’ll get no-where!

Farmers ARE the Land Managers and Stewards, they ARE the ones who can improve the sequestration rates in the soils and vegetation, but what will make them decide to embrace this?

Question:  ‘How do you get a message through to a farmer?’   Answer:     ‘ON a cheque!’ 

Sounds simple,  but Michael has also  said ‘if you want a farmer to sign a contract, you’ll have to give him one he wants to sign’!

Meaning, of course that you need to make sure this new enterprise suits a farmer.  Money wise,  but conditions wise as well. 

THIS has been the big challenge –  as we try to understand rules (Kyoto) that are made overseas, by economists and other non-farmers. (why does no one ever ask the farmers?) 

Issues like the 100 years rule have dominated, blocking the commencement of practices which can improve productivity, but also store more carbon in the Land Sector- vital if we are to tackle the ‘legacy load’ of CO2 in the air.

Soil Carbon has been in the ‘too hard’  basket. 

Meanwhile, others have started in this trade –  Those who burn Savanna,  those who have landfill,  and those who have vegetation methodologies, have all been able to get going,  taking advantage of the $23 per tonne carbon  in the doing.

Do the sums on 1million tonnes of carbon at that price and you’ll feel the pain that soil carbon has had to bear, watching from the side lines. The ‘Carbon Farming Initiative’ was  about anything but farming. 

Now, at last, we are close.   We will face a different price on carbon, through no fault of our own, but still, it is now near. More than that, some of the more onerous conditions are set to be ‘streamlined’  under this Government -(however, ALL sectors can now enter the market!)

One ‘Carbon Farmer’ – Cam Banks  has a long history of managing farms, and now farms in the Uralla  district.

Most recently Cam has been busy converting a  conventionally managed, high rainfall property to a biologically sustainable productive property which has been a huge challenge. 

Healthy soil that grows healthy pastures, crops and animals has long been strong interest for Cam who believes that “if you do not measure it you cannot manage it effectively”.   He has measured lots of things as he has gone along –  and has learnt about carbon increases along the way.

Click here to read more information about Cam  

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