What’s it all about?
The Landcare Farming Program team is currently delivering a series of carbon footprint and natural capital accounting workshops nationally throughout 2021. Interested producers were encouraged to apply and discover for themselves how carbon footprint and/or natural capital schemes will underpin industry/sector sustainability strategy reporting, future investment and potential new markets.
The project is developing awareness and adoption pathways for on-farm integration. Both schemes offer new concepts to Australian agriculture producers, and are increasingly being aligned to agriculture stakeholder investment and sustainability reporting objectives.
The Landcare network is uniquely placed to help deliver input and ground-truthing into how the concepts (and associated decision support tools) are identified, developed, extended and applied. Producer input is therefore essential to move both schemes from ‘proof of concept’ and into standard agricultural management practices.
Landcare Farming is now delivering nationally:
- 25 carbon footprint workshops and 25 natural capital accounting workshops to establish a common set of performance indicators for producers and groups to work from, as well as identify and train ‘local’ agriculture sector experts to provide ongoing support.
- A series of five additional ‘technical’ workshops for experienced agricultural advisors, consultants and facilitators, including the Regional Australian Landcare Facilitator network.
- Workshop participants who complete the training receive a tailored property report, a comparison against industry benchmarks, and a personalised SWOT of their carbon/environmental account.
- Eligible participants have the opportunity to be accredited as natural capital accounting experts or develop their basic understanding of trade carbon.
- All groups completing the benchmarking workshops are invited to submit a funding proposal to support actions that address SWOT identified in the benchmarking workshops.
The benchmarking of the current on-farm situation of 500 enterprises will allow the Landcare Farming Program to understand the major opportunities for further investment that can both address individual SWOT findings, as well provide an opportunity to test the latest agriculture RDE&A and provide on-ground input to agricultural and government sustainability reporting.
The project is establishing a strong network of interconnected producers and industry stakeholders using common themes, benchmark data and goals to show landscape impact. These groups (or ‘hubs’) will allow national alignment across multiple themes and activities, and will be used to strengthen Landcare’s connection with the agricultural sector and connect producers across Australia.
By November 2021, these baseline benchmarks will provide ‘local’ producer feedback on key themes required for best management practice for improved carbon and natural capital accounting outcomes. Beyond 2021, we aim to co-invest in projects with appropriate partners to extend industry awareness, develop tools, improve policy design and development, and increase on-farm industry investment.
How is the benchmarking project being delivered?
The Landcare Farming Program, a partnership between the National Landcare Network and Landcare Australia, with support of the individual State and Territory Landcare Organisations, invited producers to participate in the project via an Expression of Interest in late 2020. All EOIs were assessed and scored according to the EOI criteria, with successful applicants offered the opportunity to participate in their preferred (either a carbon footprint or an environmental footprint) workshop.
The workshops target grazing (sheep, beef, dairy), broad acre cropping and horticulture producers. Participants who complete the training have the opportunity to work with the Landcare Farming partners to design and deliver strategic demonstration sites or to address areas identified within their group findings. Additionally, all participants will be encouraged to provide case studies to identify and demonstrate management actions impacting their individual or group account values.
Following completion of workshops, the Landcare Farming Program team along with the producers and the Landcare network, are working to develop regional hubs to align common SWOT analysis to support individual group action plans. Importantly, a common monitoring and evaluation (M&E) framework were developed, including face to face interviews for each enterprise (pre and post workshop), a workshop feedback form, and a brief SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threats) report analysing de-identified group findings. M&E is critical and is used to demonstrate to industry and investors that the information collected is robust.
This evidence-based approach enhances Landcare Farming Program stakeholders ability to secure additional funding to directly assist more producers. As onground activities take shape, the Landcare network will continue to promote areas of core business, for example, weed and pest control, revegetation, shelterbelts, corridor plantings, feed-base and biomass production, improved soil condition and grazing practices. Whereas non-core activities, such as managing animal production efficiencies, farm inputs, feed, fertility, genetics, marketing etc, will be addressed through industry experts and delivered via the Landcare Farming Program Communities of Practice workshops.
For more information and updates from the groups participating in the LFP benchmarking project and workshops, or to stay up to date with upcoming opportunities, please join the Landcare farming Program site here: https://www.landcarer.com.au/landcarefarming/
To discuss any future opportunities or provide feedback please contact Mick Taylor (Landcare Farming Program Manager) via email : [email protected]