HECS-style loan will encourage more carbon producers: Menzies Research Center report | Katherine times

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The government could encourage more farmers to take advantage of carbon cultivation, helping both their lowest dollar and the country’s emissions reduction targets, with a HECS-like loan, according to a report. The Liberal-aligned Menzies Research Center’s guidance document argues that increasing soil carbon in the agricultural sector was obvious, with financial, environmental and climate dividends. The report – From the bottom up: Unleashing the potential of soil – suggested several practical steps the federal government could take immediately that could potentially generate carbon gains in the soil in a single season. , similar to HECS loans for university students, which students only have to repay once their salary reaches a certain threshold. The loan would allow more farmers to benefit from carbon farming and would only be repayable when the return on their carbon credits reached a particular value. Right now, the start-up costs of growing carbon are a big hurdle: it costs around $ 30 / ha to measure soil carbon, but the government is working to bring it down to $ 3 / ha through to improvements in technology and data. But in the meantime, no improvement in the carbon content of the soil will be taken into account, which will deprive farmers of incentives and potential income. The HECS-type loan would allow farmers to advance baseline measurements and allow them to store sequestered carbon, the value of which can be repaid once the costs of the measurements are reduced. “The loan would act as an advance on future income received from Australian carbon credit units with repayments made as a fixed percentage,” the report says. “This in turn will make the transition to carbon farming projects for these companies more attractive when the methodologies become more exploitable.” As with HECS-HELP, there is no obligation to repay the loan if the repayment threshold is met. is not met. ”The report also recommends five-year interest-free loans for“ resilient agriculture ”and the sponsorship of peer-to-peer training led by agronomists with knowledge of increasing soil carbon. Menzies Research Center executive director Nick Cater said the report was not a manifesto for revolution nor “However, we are calling for a change in mindset, recognizing that agriculture backed by strong agricultural science is the way to go. solution, not the cause, of many environmental challenges we face today “, said Mr Cater He argued that advancements in the soil carbon space would be in g Much achieved by business incentives, not government spending or regulations. “While the bulk of the work will be done by the private sector, the government can smooth the way with relatively modest investments in training, targeted grants and conditional loans,” Cater said. “The biggest obstacle. to the progress of agriculture is the non-commercial failure, limitations and false incentives imposed by a poorly calibrated policy. “Recently, senior National Party politicians have called for agriculture to be exempt from any zero carbon targets. net, an idea that was strongly rejected by the agricultural sector. The policy paper, which had been in preparation for 10 months, said politicians had a responsibility to “lead a smarter debate” on agricultural and environmental policy “The current debate is sorely lacking in this regard,” said Mr Cater. “All that has been lacking in this political discussion so far is the determination to do it. re moving soil improvement from the nice-to-do plateau to the must-have plateau in the offices of policymakers, industry groups and farmers in Australia. ”Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the government was not considering not for the moment HECS type loans for carbon reference measurements. “But obviously I think we’re happy to look at all of the proposed solutions,” Mr. Littleproud said.

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