Maintaining a sustainable and profitable agriculture sector is essential to the longevity and prosperity of Queensland farmers and the environment into the future. The state government recently took a positive step in ensuring mutually beneficial outcomes with its announcement that $100 million would be available for the first round of funding under the Land Restoration Fund (LRF).
The Fund aims to expand carbon farming in the state by supporting land-sector projects that deliver additional environmental, social and economic co-benefits. The opportunity will enable land management activities aimed at storing carbon in trees and soils, or avoiding the release of carbon through better management of fire, livestock, and fertiliser use. In addition, it will empower farmers, land managers and landholders with the support needed to generate additional, regular and diverse income streams, and reduce risk for their businesses.
Applications for the first round of funding under the LRF will open later this month and will be supported by funding to help farmers, land managers and land holders develop their carbon farming projects with professional advice from agronomists, environmental consultants, business advisors, valuers, accountants and lawyers. A number of expert-led workshops will also be held in February to assist potential applicants learn about carbon farming, its co-benefits and how it could be beneficially applied to their individual farms.
The Queensland Farmers’ Federation welcomed the Queensland Government’s 2017 election commitment to establish the LRF. Since then, we have continued to work closely with the government to ensure the delivery of mutually beneficial and environmentally resilient outcomes under the project. Including encouraging the government to better connect different policy objectives and identify the complementarity or not (and if not, rectify) other existing government priorities, such as drought reform and farming in the Great Barrier Reef catchments. While the program has been slow to get off the ground, with the right settings the LRF will create opportunities for farmers across Queensland to contribute to a range of positive environmental outcomes including climate change mitigation and improving their on-farm adaptation.