Organic Insights - Spring 2022
18 / Organic Insights / Spring 2022
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Carolyn says they underestimated the complexity and capability of how to ascertain the farm footprint for biological farming systems in different production systems and climatic zones. “Especially, having the right tool for the footprint when there are a range of tools available to specific sectors – Dairy, Grain, Tree Crops etc, and many varying protocols that don’t always reward biological production systems.” “This occurs as they neglect to reconcile the sequestration side of the carbon accounting ledger by concentrating wholly on emissions as the dominant paradigm of agriculture.” “There is very little coordination across industries and sectors, and it’s something that has a massive value for the broader agriculture industry,” according to Carolyn, noting that at any one point she may need to access different calculators according to the diversity of farm and production systems involved in organic agriculture. “We are talking to investors to develop a universal tool to provide consistency in measurement and validation of biological farming systems, especially as organic stretches across all sectors” she says. “We need the technology to support producers to record this data, however, we need to get it right, and any technology development needs to be usable by the farmer in the field, sometimes without internet capability.” technology applications in the field to validate the soil tests and production zones and the capacity for carbon drawdown calculation via the verified Eco-Credits™ calculation process. This includes a peer reviewed process, or independent verification as required by each producer and their individual market. ORICoop has layered the Eco-Credits™ in addition to the existing National Organic Standards (a minimum entry point for the Eco-Credits™). Carolyn believes that the verification process could fit in with organic certification, although not all requirements for carbon measurement and validation would necessarily be covered to the extent required by the carbon market. Currently, the method of verification includes using dedicated land maps,
“Certifiers should be verifying that soil organic carbon is increasing over time as part of the National Organic Standard, and this should be checked and validated in line with carbon reporting,” she says. “This is fundamental to good organic and regenerative land management, and if producers are not increasing their soil carbon over time they are in the wrong business.” “Some certifiers do check (validate) soil health, but others check just for chemical residues, and not soil health or quality.” The design of the Eco-Credits™ program is to encourage continuous improvement over time, something that all farmers should strive for, according to Carolyn. However, this can be a double-edged sword for farmers who may have been practicing organic and regenerative methods for some time and reached a plateau
in their soil carbon or biodiversity area. “Our vision is to provide something that recognises farmers contributions retrospectively eventually,” says Carolyn, pointing to the fact that, under the current ERF system, landholders can clear forested areas and be rewarded for replanting – or even worse, get paid for not deforesting - whereas capturing the historical contributions of biological systems is not currently considered in the existing carbon markets. This is despite significant and valuable satellite data that verifies these outcomes frommany pioneering organic farmers. “ORICoop is committed to ensuring our producers strengthen their business resilience, increase carbon draw-down, improve their on-farm farm sustainability, and natural capital over time,” says Carolyn.
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