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Carbon Price – Insuring our future

Whatever side of the political fence you sit the federal government’s announcement yesterday does have some good outcomes for rural communities.

The Carbon Faming Initiative will pay farmers who change the way they farm and use practices that lock up carbon in trees or in the soil and who reduce their on farm emissions.

Carbon Farming Futures Program ($429 million over the first six years) will help farmers and landholders benefit from carbon farming by supporting research and development, measurement and action to reduce emissions or store carbon, including support for conservation tillage equipment.

Biodiversity Fund ($946 million over the first six years) to support projects that establish, restore, protect or manage bio diverse carbon stores. Funding will be provided for establishing mixed species plantings in target areas, such as areas of high conservation value including wildlife corridors, riparian zones and wetlands. The Fund will also support action to prevent the spread of invasive species across connected landscapes and the management of existing bio diverse carbon stores. Includes land already under conservation covenants, subject to land clearing restrictions, and publicly owned native forests.

The plan also provides a pathway for Australia to transition toward more sustainable energy and rural communities will benefit.

The reality is that we have to move away from energy sources like coal and oil for two reasons. Fossil fuels pollute and they are non-renewable, meaning, that once we use them they are gone.

As people in the bush are large fuel users we are especially subject to fluctuations in fuel prices and are at risk of energy security. Take the Libya conflict for example, when that started, we all saw a rise in fuel prices. Peak oil is another issue that we should be concerned about, if it is real and we are at the risk of running out of oil, what will this do to prices and our ability to secure fuel for our operations?

What this plan does is provide the necessary mechanisms for us to move away from our reliance on fossil fuels and provide pathways for investment to flow to less carbon intensive energy sources.

As farmers we have the capacity to produce electricity and grow our own fuel through existing and emerging energy technologies. The problem in the past is that these types of technologies are very expensive to develop, it’s so much cheaper to use the fuel that is dug out of the ground and be the price takers we have always been.

A price on carbon will change this as polluters, having to pay for the emission they create, look at new ways to become energy efficient and create cleaner energy. Investment will look to wind, wave, solar (what we all want to see more of) and what’s especially exciting for rural communities, biomass energy.

Biomass energy means taking our waste streams like the straw from the back of the header that we are burning to control weeds, capturing this straw (and the weeds) and using technology to convert it to create clean electricity and fuel which we can use ourselves or sell to the market. Imagine that…using fuel grown on our own farms!

This is an insurance policy for the future and one we need to understand fully to get an idea of how it affects us individually however, most of us insure our car and our home so why not the future.

For more information on how the Governments Clean Energy Future affects the land.

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About the Author:

Euan Beamont is Co-Founder/Director of Energy Farmers Australia. From a rural background Euan has always had a strong connection to the land and is very passionate about the sustainability of agriculture. Euan believes that a carbon price is a good thing for agriculture and will enable farmers to change to more sustainable farming practices and move away from their reliance on fossil based energy.
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