Getting ready to count carbon
Tim and Courtney Skerrett couldn’t help themselves when she overhead nearby restaurant diners chastising one of their group for ordering beef when they should be “saving the planet”.
“When our meal was finished we wanted to go over and explain that he could feel really good about eating good quality grassfed Australian beef as we shared how regenerative farming practices farm to take carbon out of the atmosphere through good grazing systems,” Courtney said.
“The fellow asked why more people aren’t told that because he would eat meat every day if he knew he could feel good about it in regards to climate change. It is an important message that regeneratively produced beef products can be part of the solution to the climate crisis and we need to get it out there.”
Courtney and her husband Tim are determined their regenerative agriculture-based cattle grazing farm at Mulla Creek will become net zero and continue to sustainably produce quality beef, while increasing soil health and biodiversity.
Two years into their regen-ag journey, the couple are now setting their sights in earning income from Australian carbon credit units generated by building carbon stores and biodiversity on their farm. (Regenerative agriculture is farming system which aims to work with natural systems from a more holistic based approach. Here they are using cattle in a rotational system grazing to increase soil health, animal health and feedbase productivity while increasing biodiversity).
Through their local Landcare group, the Skerretts are upskilling in preparation for entering carbon management programs. The Landcare Farming Program Benchmarking Soils Project evolved out of carbon accounting workshops developed to help landholders establish benchmarks for their soil carbon levels and greenhouse gas emissions.
“We’ve been to a lot of workshops and done a lot of training and webinars in the past couple of years to get to this stage and the more we learn, the more we realise we don’t know,” Tim said.
“The beauty of running a regen-ag system is the further you get down the track, the more it evolves and the more amazing things happen on your farm. It opens up so much opportunity.
“One of the first things we’ve noticed here is just how much it has impacted on our biodiversity. Every day we are seeing lots of goannas, echidnas, birds, insects. It’s showing us we can also gain from programs rewarding biodiversity gains, not just carbon management,” Courtney said.
The couple believe Landcare groups are the ideal starting point for learning more about building natural capital.
“It was our contact with a Landcare co-ordinator who started us on this path. She connected us with people who helped us learn about regen-ag and it has been non-stop learning ever since,” Courtney said.
Tim encourages other farmers to learn more about their carbon accruing potential.
“It’s not just about your farm, it’s about doing your bit for reducing climate change and providing consumers with good quality meat,” he said.
The Skerretts are also re-structuring their agritourism business, from a jackaroo and jillaroo school which ceased during the pandemic to a farm stay, and they both see huge potential in attracting environmentally conscious visitors.
“Consumers want to feel better about the products they are consuming and we can share what we are doing to sustainably produce those products as well as look after the planet,” Courtney said.
Read more about the Landcare Farming Carbon Benchmarking Project