Monday, January 21, 2008

Changing The Way We Farm

Governments everywhere are trying to find a way to achieve ecologically sustainable natural resource use in a climate change environment. Soil carbon is a key performance indicator of ecological health. By focusing land managers attention on their soil carbon scores – via the incentive of carbon trading revenue – policy makers responsible for Natural Resource Management would be harnessing the two primary drivers in farmer psychology: 1. The profit motive, and 2. Pride in selling what they grow.

Government trying to identify land and water use management practices that can act as a tool to tackle climate change need look no further than Carbon Farming techniques to address the dual Climate Change problem that will face land managers with increasing severity: increasing temperature and reduced moisture.

Governments are also seeking management systems for achieving sustainability measures for natural resources. As proven by the conflict and confrontation in the Western Division of New South Wales over land clearing, a win-lose situation is always the outcome when Government seeks to impose its will on fiercely independent individuals who choose to live the life of struggle that we call agriculture. The soil carbon solution is a management system that manages through self interest and respect for the independence of the individual. Farmers would prefer to earn money from what they grow rather than accept “stewardship” payments which rely on the goodwill of governments and which can be discontinued with changes in government.

It is in the hands of policy makers in the carbon industry to make soil carbon credits tradable and unlock the greatest revolution in land management since the invention of the plough. The continued obfuscation of officials who seek to force soil carbon into the same mould as other tradable commodities when it requires special consideration and innovative thinking are denying the world access to what could be the most significant technology solution to Climate Change within reach.

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