Organic Insights - Spring 2022

Organic Insights / Spring 2022 / 17


How can organic farmers take advantage of the growing carbon and environmental credits markets? A market with value estimates at between $11 billion and $24 billion by 2030, and as some sources suggest, rising to $48 billion and upwards by 2050 (almost half that of the NFF’s target gross receipts in agriculture of 100 Billion by the same date).

Given the limitations on the size of the farm, cost of verification, the ‘additionality’ criteria, and the long term 25-year contracts with the ERF program, the Eco-Credits™ scheme provides a way to capture value, while retaining the integrity of carbon drawdown for the benefit of the land and producer. The value of increases in soil carbon and biodiversity derives direct co-benefits for each producer, financially and within their own production system as a dividend for society as a whole. “Ultimately, we want to see organic and biodynamic farmers gaining the recognition they deserve and deriving intrinsic value from their sustainable land management systems developed over the last 90-100 years.” THE ECO-CREDITS™ SCHEME PROVIDES THE ABILITY FOR FARMERS TO VALIDATE AND SELL CARBON CREDITS DIRECTLY TO THE MARKET, AND EACH BUSINESS THAT PURCHASES AN ECO- CREDITS™ RECEIVES A REPORT OF VERIFIED OUTCOMES ON EACH FARM.

Carolyn says they were fortunate to have some innovative farmers – in Stephen Whitsed and David McFall - willing to take part in the Eco-Credits™ pilot trial, who were already well engaged with increasing their soil carbon. They have both now completed their first-year validation of credits, and the positive response has meant a further 20 farmers are able to commence this year. “Farmers might simply want to understand their own footprint, increase the carbon potential in their own supply chain, or opt to sell to the market,” she says. Some farmers who have been participants in the ORICoop bushfire recovery programs have registered to measure improvements as they work to rebuild their farms, “so they can derive value and increase their resilience from the process,” Carolyn says. There is still a lot of work to do, she acknowledges “Our intention is to go slowly, almost organically, to understand what the market wants, and ensure legitimacy of the program and our producers,” she says.

Eco-Credits™ is a nationwide carbon credit scheme that moves away from the traditional broker model to empower organic and biodynamic farmers to be in control and directly rewarded for good environmental stewardship by cooperatively owning the process. Regenerative Investment Cooperative (ORICoop), has been designed to address limitations of the current Federal Government ERF model, and unlock opportunities for the smaller family, to medium sized, organic regenerative farmer. “There is concern about the ethics of the carbon trading market today, and lack of consistency in application as seen through the media,” says ORICoop Executive Officer, Carolyn Suggate, who has had a long-standing interest in the carbon market. “The Federal Government program typically excludes the family-sized farmer, and even up to the larger, organic and biodynamic producers,” she says. The Eco-Credits™ scheme, created by the Organic and

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