Are Carbon8 donations tax deductible in Australia?
Yes. We have entered into an agreement with Landcare NSW. This partnership gives us Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status while our own application is being processed. Tax Deductibility begins on 1st November 2019. Donations are made through the Carbon8 website and receipted as Landcare NSW as per our agreement.
What is the process to select farmers for Carbon8?
We have an independent committee of regenerative educators, farmers and scientists that help assess the farmers and set out some mentoring and/or education pathways. The farm is tested to see what current position is and every effort is made to help farmers change to Regenerative practices. Further tests are taken over the contract period to assess that results are happening. The only thing we can't do is make it rain. We still need green plants to put carbon into the soil. So with help, next time it rains, the farm management will be different.
How do you monitor that a Carbon8 farmer correctly applies regenerative agricultural principals and builds carbon in the soil?
The proof is in the pudding so to speak. Carbon8 farmers will be monitored using consistent soil testing, a farm management program and access to a list of mentors who will keep a watchful eye and be there in support throughout the process.
What are the steps every farmer goes through with Carbon8?
Farmer Registers Farmers register with Carbon8 and fill in an Expression of Interest. This is a detailed questionnaire which provides us with information such as soil type and current farming practices. It helps us to plan the best pathway forward to help the farmer on the journey.
The Carbon8 Smart Box Sent Each farmer registered with Carbon8 is then sent a free Smart Box so they can begin their journey. We know this drought is devastating and our Smart box is a box full of HOPE. Books, DVDs and information to help farmers see a different future ahead. When it does rain, we want farmers to be ready to manage regeneratively. The boxes are delivered via Australia Post at no cost.
Farm is Assessed Our Technical Environmental Advisory (TEA) Committee sets out the guidelines for the farmers involvement including soil testing parameters, education pathways and collaborating with regenerative educators as well as the assessing and monitoring requirements.
Soil Tests Conducted The initial soil tests are collected and the baseline testing and analysis is carried out through an accredited lab. As the farmers are paid on their success in getting carbon back in the soil, the soil testing gives us a starting point with our aim to build soil carbon to 8%.
Agronomist Carbon8 sends a personalised Agronomist out to the farm (where available) to support each farmer with putting together a Holistic Management Plan for their short and longer term goals on the farm.
Mentor Farmers are invited to be a part of a personalised mentor program to gain maximum success at building soil carbon levels. Support is provided for implementing holistic management, multi-species cropping, natural sequence farming, etc. Whatever will work the best when we consider the individual farmer and the tools they have available.
Farmer Gets Paid The charity contracts directly with the farmer and payments for services, education and support can begin. The contracts are designed so individual farmers needs are met. First payments will be made for soil testing and paid directly to the soil testing laboratory.
Does Carbon8 support farmers Internationally or just in Australia?
At the moment, we are focusing on Australia as that's where we live and can connect with the farmers and support networks directly. We would love to expand it across the world! We'll use Australia as our pilot program, get it running properly and then see where we go. Anyone want to help?
How are you using the money raised from donations?
Our first action step with the money raised from donations is to send every farmer registered a Carbon8 SMART BOX. The books contained in the box are actual stories (many from Australian farmers) that have survived drought by adapting their practices towards a regenerative model and transitioned from desertification to total regeneration. Testimonies that regenerative solutions not only deliver powerful results very quickly, they also produce nutrient-rich food that makes cents as demand for good quality food continues to rise. The books, dvds and audios map a path of knowledge on each subject that pertains to the regeneration of our soils and food-chain. We hope that these stories and their actual solutions bring immediate hope, rejuvenation and support to our courageous farmers as they seek out long-term solutions to this drought.
Our next step following assessment by our TEA Committee is to help farmers baseline their soil by carrying out a soil test at an accredited lab.
Your funds are also essential in helping us build capacity in our organisation. This includes supporting our donors, TEA Committee, Board members and ensuring we have adequate governance, risk, DGR and financial auditory processes in place. We also provide support for awareness and social media campaigns around regenerative agriculture. And of course, looking after our farmers. The most important part of what we do.
With each step we take we are engaging impact partners and sponsors to help stretch our dollars further. As farmers ourselves, we are so thankful that so many people care and wish to help.
What are your recommendations to farmers?
Sign up to Carbon8 as a farmer. Read the books contained in the Smart Box, find a mentor and do your soil tests. Take these first steps now. The mental relief and hope that comes with reading and listening to these success stories is invaluable. Tapping into groups such as Landcare and attending field days and ag events will also be a fantastic way to add to the tool kit of changes that can be made in your business. There isn't much to do when you are in drought, but preparing and knowing what to do when the rain comes is essential. This includes and understanding of holistic grazing management techniques, planning seeds to plant multi species crops which aid in increasing soil diversity and health as well as create nutrient dense feed for livestock.
What are your validation protocols for soil carbon accumulation?
Physical soil testing through an accredited laboratory. Carbon8 Farmers will undergo support in putting together a Holistic Farm Plan which will record carbon measurements, biodiversity plans and other natural capital assets which will track the improvements on the farm do support validation. This is more than just about carbon in the soil. This is about landscape hydrology, landscape health and ecosystem recovery.
How often are you testing?
This depends on the individual farm and the pathway laid out with the regenerative farm plan. If a farmer is wishing to join the regulated carbon market we work with farmers to do this. Education is paramount and the mentoring is also very important. The technical committee then recommends how often an individual farm needs to be evaluated. We set an absolute minimum of three tests through the contract period.
Do the measurements of carbon savings take into account the methane emissions from the grazing animals?
No. We test soil carbon only. We do know that improving the pasture that the animals eat has a positive impact on the enteric methane (methane from the cows tummy) but we do not use this as part of our calculation. The building up of soil carbon is the most impactful thing we can do.
Is it necessary to have animals raised for food in order to sequester the carbon in the soil? Would native animals have the same effect? Can plant based regenerative agriculture achieve the same thing?
There are many different ways we can move to regenerative practice. In cropping systems we can use biological and organic fertilisers, multi species cover crops and crimp rollers. When the food is nutrient dense we don't need to eat as much either. This is true for plant based or meat diets. With meat based systems, the animal management is critical. Check out Alan Savory's work around desertification and animal management. We can damage environments with chickens, pigs, kangaroos or cows. Good management of the animals will repair the soil, bad management will destroy it. And rain is essential. Hydrology in the landscape is an imperative to reduce water runoff, evaporation, erosion and continuing desertification. The huge rangeland ecosystems that exist around the world co-evolved with animals. Even if we simply lock up a national park, animals can do damage if the natural predator response grazing patterns are not maintained. The key to animals and grasslands management is the balance of graze time and rest time. Healthy ecosystems build the soil. That is what we wish to emulate.
It is possible to increase carbon levels in soil with plants. The most effective way is multispecies crops or cocktail crops which create diversity in the soil and support sequestering of large amounts of CO2. Plants, plants and more plants is the key.
How can $8 a month sequester over 1,000 tonnes of C02 a year?
$8 per month pays for 1% Soil Organic Carbon (SOC) x 12 hectares in a full year.
1% SOC is 27 tonnes of carbon or just under 100 tonnes of CO2 equivalent.
So 100 x 12 hectares is over 1,000 tonnes when it gets put into the soil and measured as SOC.
It may seem like a small amount but when we put it all together the results can be amazing.
Which soil carbon measurement techniques are you using to perform baseline and ongoing soil carbon measurements?
We are using the recognised test for carbon, the dry combustion LECO test. We are not selling carbon credits through the ERF and are looking to offset through insetting. We act as an early incentive/mentor/education provider. We encourage farmers to up-skill and join the certified programs but our key role is to get farmers engaged on the regenerative pathway. Once engaged, we have some chance to get real change of practice and greater success in getting the carbon into the ground.
The modelling method hasn’t had much (if at all) uptake, likely due to the minute increases modelled over time, making it not worthwhile - how are you doing things differently?
We are aware of and helping with a number of different efforts to simplify this process while still maintaining good governance and good scientific rigour. The bureaucracy and discounting and pages of formulas that have to allow for natural fluctuations and "permanency" is a huge roadblock to getting farmers engaged. Our personal experience shows that regenerative farming can have great success so this is exactly why we started Carbon8. It does not matter what the modelling says, if we get the carbon into the soil.
I was wondering about your validation protocols for soil carbon accumulation, if you are saying that the soil carbon percentage is increasing how often are you testing that? Is it at the same time each year and how do you account for changes such as differing precipitation year to year which may have a large effect on this.
Yes, rainfall does have a big impact. What happens to that rainfall is also critical to the long term resilience of the farm. Carbon in the soil and groundcover are the keys to managing the normal fluctuations of the weather. Managing natural systems can be complex and this is why we have our Technical Environmental Advisory committee and our mentoring regenerative agronomists. Each farm and Farmer is different so the pathway and testing requirements are set by the TEA committee for each farm individually. To get the carbon out of the atmosphere into the soil, we want the farmer to be successful. This is the best way to heal the heart of the food chain, heal the soil.
Why don't farmers pay to increase their carbon levels and factor it into the sell price of their produce? That way, we pay for the real cost of production.
Generally, prices are set by what the market mechanisms (and supermarkets) will pay the farmer, not by what the farmer wants for the produce. Farmers are price takers. Consumers can have a huge impact on mobilising their dollars to support purchasing food that is grown by regenerative and organic farmers. This will shift the market and support more farmers to become price makers. Buying Organic food is one good step and we see that Regenerative certification programs are currently in the pipeline. Healing the heart of the food-chain will take a big systems approach, and everyone needs to take part. Foodies, farmers, government and communities.
Can you draw down carbon when you are in drought?
No. We need green growing plants to sequester carbon. What we can do is share the success stories and build hope in the farmers mind. We want the farmer to manage differently when it does rain and there is no better time to start than now.
What accountability and transparency is offered to donors?
Setting up a charity and getting it registered properly is no small exercise. We have a professional Board of Directors who have a high level of expertise (including a lawyer and two accountants) and our Technical Environmental Advisory Committee. The quality of the people involved is the best protection we can offer to donors. Our charity is registered with the ACNC and our Board meets monthly to ensure we follow due process and are acting in the best interest of our farmers and donors.
Can we off-set our carbon footprint with Carbon8?
Carbon8 is a great way to offset in a voluntary way. We are not able to register these offsets in the government ERF as yet. We are hoping in the future to establish an insetting program and will be working on this process in the next six months.
Do you have a blog?
No. We collaborate with information in a digital publication called Regener8. We provide every Carbon8 donor a free subscription. Check it out here; https://www.regener8.org/
Do you have a twitter account?
Do all farmers who register get accepted into the program?
No. We do audit checks to ensure farmers are registered for primary production purposes and have an ABN. Ideally, we would like all registered farmers to receive the Carbon8 Smart box (subject to funding of course!) It is up to our TEA Committee to decide who gets accepted into the program, as well as the level we can achieve from our funding. An average farm size of 500 hectares with 1% carbon in the soil means that the farmer receives a payment of $4,000 (500 x $8 for every 1% carbon). This includes the preparation of an holistic farm plan and providing mentoring support, all decided by the TEA Committee.
I need to change my credit card, what do I do?
You will need to contact the Carbon8 Team at firstname.lastname@example.org to let them know to delete your current credit card. You can then go and re-register to donate through our website at https://www.carbon8.org.au/donate/. Please note that for privacy purposes, we do not have access to credit card numbers or CVCs.
Can I donate using PayPal?
No. However, we are planning to setup a paypal platform through facebook. Should be live by January 2020.
How can I cancel my donation?
You will need to contact the Carbon8 Team at email@example.com to let them know to delete your current credit card. We normally do this within two business days.
- we are supporting 12 x 1% increase on a hectare so that equals 12 hectares x 1%.
- This 1% increase sequesters just under 100 tonnes of CO2.
-100 tonnes x 12 hectares = 1200 tonnes of CO2 taken out of the atmosphere.
An average Sydney resident has a carbon footprint of 15 tonnes per year so we just did the math. One person helping to sequester 1200 tonnes will offset 80 people that are not helping. Imagine if we all helped.
I keep hearing that cattle are really important to support regenerative agriculture. This is confusing when vested interests are promoting the cattle industry, especially when you consider the negative evidence about cattle and climate warming e.g. the devastating consequences of methane gas produced by cattle and the large amounts of water needed to produce protein by growing cattle.
It is not just about cattle. Regenerative farming is about different management in a whole range of ways. Farming can be destructive or regenerative whether it involves animals or not. In fact farming for plant based produce can be full of chemicals and destructive practices too. We do know that farming to grow food for animals in feedlots can be very destructive but grazing animals in a holistic way can be very regenerative. There is a saying, "It is not the cow, it is the how!" Some areas are not suited to farming for plants at all so these areas rely on animals managed the right way to regenerate. We also know that by putting carbon back into farm land we grow a lot better, nutrient rich food. With higher nutrients we can eat less food to sustain our bodies. This means less area needed to grow the food. This is true whether you chose to eat meat or not. Healing our foodchain is important in a lot of different ways.