NPR - SUPPORTING TASMANIAN FARMERS TO REDUCE EMISSIONS: CHALLENGES AND OPORTUNITIES
This paper presents a case study on effective farmer engagement to reduce land-based emissions. The government funded extension project, ‘Tas Farming Futures’, is supporting Tasmanian farmers to reduce on-farm greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and/or to participate in the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).
Emissions reduction is not a high priority for most farmers. However by supporting them to better understand the link between farm productivity, profitability and emissions, we were able to capture their interest.
The project developed a farm Emissions Reduction Planning (ERP) approach that is based on calculating farm emissions and then identifying actions to reduce emissions or emissions intensity (emissions per unit of output) and increase productivity/profitability on farms.
Calculators, especially those with straightforward data inputs, were useful as an engagement tool. Calculating emissions intensity proved to be important to allow benchmarking with other producers and also emphasised the link between productivity, efficiency and emissions, in the context of the farmers’ own farm.
Farmers can reduce on-farm emissions in many ways. Some practice changes that reduce emissions are relatively straightforward; others are more complex and not entirely understood e.g. the complex interactions between soil carbon, nitrogen and microbial processes. This makes it more difficult to advise farmers on what the outcomes of certain changes may be. There also has to be a noticeable benefit for them to participate in the ERF and/or adopt practices that will reduce emissions, i.e. the cost of practice change needs to be more than covered and the change has to fit with their farming system and their values.
Key words: Australia, greenhouse gas emissions, emission intensity, carbon farming, efficiency, nitrogen use efficiency