Carbon farming projects in the Wheatbelt set to remove 140,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in the next decade

Headshot of Shannon Verhagen
Perenjori's Wheelamby farm has received more than $700,000 from the State Government to embark on carbon farming projects.
Camera IconPerenjori's Wheelamby farm has received more than $700,000 from the State Government to embark on carbon farming projects. Credit: Shannon Verhagen/Countryman/Countryman

The State Government is hoping its first round of carbon farming funding will “pave the way for other farmers” to try their hand at projects across the grainbelt.

Six ACCU Plus projects and four research and development projects in the Mid West, South West, Great Southern and Eastern Wheatbelt were among those sharing in a $3.3 million boon delivered through the $15 million Carbon Farming and Land Restoration Program.

The funding is delivered in two streams — ACCU Plus, which involves a pre-purchase ACCU agreement with farmers embarking on soil and vegetation projects, and Future Carbon, which funds research and development in the area.

Covering more than 7000ha, the six ACCU Plus projects funded in round one are anticipated to remove 140,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere over the next decade.

WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan said she believes they have the potential to “transform” the landscape and farm businesses while building resilience in a changing climate.

“Our farmers have a huge opportunity to play an important role in the global fight against climate change, while at the same time boosting their business profitability,” she said.

“Through our program we are supporting farmers to explore how carbon farming can future-proof their businesses: improving productivity and profitability, diversifying enterprises, spreading risk and providing a new income stream.”

Several broadacre farms have also been given a head start on their carbon farming journey, receiving $10,000 vouchers to assist them in developing detailed plans and demonstrating the feasibility of their prospective soil carbon projects.

“The independent panel assessed that those projects were not quite properly articulated yet for us to be able to provide that support, but we were very keen to get those farmers to a point of readiness, given that they want to do this,” Ms MacTiernan said.

“So there are seven broadacre farmers that will be receiving grants of $10,000 to get cracking on developing their projects to the point that we can do that co-investment in it.”

Four pilot projects examining carbon sequestration methods across the grainbelt will be undertaken through the Future Carbon stream, led by Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management, Wilson Inlet Catchment Committee, the Cooperative Research Centre for High Performance Soils and University of WA.

The projects will investigate methods including saltbush, converting green and solid waste into biochar, new technologies, crop sequences and the potential to combine perennial and annual pasture species, along with biological amendments and cell grazing.

“An important part of this project was to make sure we had the science right and proper research and development,” Ms MacTiernan said.

She said projects would enhance the understanding of carbon capture methods and encourage wide-scale adoption of carbon farming across the low-medium rainfall zone.

Ahead of round two — which Ms MacTiernan hoped would be available in March — several workshops for farmers and rural businesses will be held in the regions.

More information can be found at agric.wa.gov.au/CF-LRP.

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