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Opportunities and challenges in carbon farming::

The important role of farmers in tackling climate change was in the spotlight when some of Australia’s leading science and agriculture minds analysed the Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative during the second day of Outlook 2013.

Delegates at the ABARES-hosted Conference discussed the costs and potential of agricultural emissions abatement in Australia under the voluntary Initiative.

Dr Helal Ahammad of ABARES explained the viability of livestock emissions abatement involved balancing technical, economic, environmental and social issues.

“There are many abatement technologies and strategies that are technically feasible. Feed supplementation is one option that shows great potential. However, the most important thing in ensuring any strategy is strongly supported and widely adopted is cost-effectiveness,” Dr Ahammad said.

“Many current livestock emission reduction technologies would not be adopted by farmers at the current price for carbon without a significant reduction in their cost.

“A good example of a cost-effective option for farmers to participate in the Carbon Farming Initiative is in the destruction of methane from manure in piggeries.”

Blantyre Farms near Young in NSW is already participating in the Carbon Farming Initiative. Owner Edwina Beveridge explained to delegates how her business became the first piggery in Australia to take part in the Initiative, turning its manure waste into carbon credits.

The Outlook Conference was also addressed by Shayleen Thompson from the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, who spoke about the challenges and opportunities for farmers and land-managers to participate in the Carbon Farming Initiative.

Organised by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), Outlook is the key annual conference for the agriculture, fisheries and forestry sector.

ABARES provides professionally independent, world-class research, analysis and advice to inform decision-makers on policy challenges affecting Australia’s primary industries.

With the theme of ‘Future food, future farming’, ABARES Outlook 2013 is being held on Tuesday 5 and Wednesday 6 March in Canberra.

07 March 2013