Farmers to benefit from $10m
carbon projects, says DPI
THE state’s farmers will be major beneficiaries from more than $10 million of funding secured for carbon farming projects by Department of Primary Industries (DPI), says the department’s director-general, Richard Sheldrake.
Dr Sheldrake says the funding from the federal Clean Energy Future program and industry will deliver on NSW priorities and goals for the benefit of the state’s primary producers.
“DPI scientists will commence and extend a range of major research, development and extension projects to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and ensure sustainable, productive and profitable primary industries,” Dr Sheldrake says in a statement.
“These projects will provide NSW primary producers with the local and regional information necessary to allow them to participate in the low carbon economy, including initiatives such as the voluntary carbon market.”
Grants cover five key research areas, including reducing methane emissions from both livestock and manure, reducing nitrous oxide emissions from soil, increasing soil carbon and improving modelling capability.
Other projects will trial and demonstrate a range of technologies and innovative practices on farms.
In total, 15 projects have been confirmed under this new funding arrangement, including:
Genetic technologies to reduce methane emissions from beef cattle;
Understanding the impact of grazing pressure changes on soil organic carbon in the semi-arid rangelands of western NSW;
Reducing nitrous oxide emissions from the NSW dryland grains industry;
Farm management practices in eastern Australia to increase soil carbon;
Bio-char stability and soil carbon stabilisation in different land uses;
The effect of fertiliser breakdown on GHG emissions and efficiency in intensive dairy pasture systems; and,
Compost for carbon in agriculture.
Dr Sheldrake says DPI’s division of Agriculture NSW is taking the lead in the area of climate readiness and greenhouse gas mitigation for agriculture.
“One of the challenges for agriculture, is that not only do we need to respond to the seasonal changes in climate, but also to the long-term changes that may occur, and on top of that, respond to climate policy,” he says.
“The focus for DPI research and extension activities is to ensure that primary producers have the information, capacity and options to respond to all of these challenges – and that they can respond in a way that increases their profitability.
“Our livestock officers, agronomists and horticulturists are currently promoting resilient and flexible farming systems, sustainable management practices and climate risk management to cope with predictions of climate variability.
“Our researchers are working on further understanding climate impacts as well as a range of adaptation and mitigation initiatives to help prepare farmers for the future.”
Dr Sheldrake says grants under the federal Filling the Research Gap and Action on the Ground programs have awarded $7.6 million directly to Agriculture NSW.
When industry support, via co-contributions is included, this figure totals
$10.6 million, Dr Sheldrake says.