Carbon farming for carbon trading – let’s focus on that which connects us

The carbon market has seen plenty of debate in recent times, with many farmers still skeptical of the industry

Unable to make a decision due to lack of plain English explanations.

I’ve been involved in agriculture for more than 20 years, and with the carbon farming industry since 2005. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about this clear division, and why farmers may not engage with the carbon market and the emerging biodiversity market.

There are some things we all seem to agree on:

  • Leaving the farm in better condition than we found it;
  • Improving soils for greater productivity, food security, and resilience;
  • We need mechanisms for going into drought later, and coming out sooner for business continuity;
  • Keeping stock protected in the face of a changing climate, because healthy stock are more resilient to climate variability.

I know farmers are good businesspeople; they know their country, and they are always keen to investigate new markets. They need to follow the evolution of markets to stay profitable, and try ideas that suit their business and personal goals.

So why the hesitation around the carbon market?

Farmers for Climate Action surveyed more than 600 farmers and in their Farming Forever report state:

“… carbon farming in a high-integrity market can produce huge benefits for farmers, but just 10% of farmers are growing and selling carbon and 70% say they don’t understand the carbon market. Some 38% of farmers said they do not sell carbon because they do not know how.”

Therein lies the problem: not an uncertainty about the carbon market, but a knowledge gap.

Does that mean farmers should ignore it?

The methodologies are complex, and the information is often not explained in plain English. But I want to see carbon farming become available for many more farmers, not just the big ones.

Change isn’t easy or necessarily smooth, as pioneers can attest to. Any group who has introduced new breeds, made inroads into better livestock control, changed tillage habits, or gone against conventional wisdom will have suffered the slings and arrows of detractors.

However, those who persevered have often paved the way for improvements for all.

The carbon market is here, and the biodiversity market is on its way – it may be one of the biggest opportunities for farmers. And that’s why we put on our conference.

So come along in July and ask the experts yourself – is it worth engaging with? Will it become easier? How can I get a good return? And until then…




Expert, independent knowledge on how to access carbon and biodiversity markets. Register now for Early Bird rates!

Nature-Based Solutions Conference & Expo

Monday 17–Wednesday 19 July 2023