Joint media release: $20 million for technology to help farmers store carbon

The Hon Chris Bowen MP, Minister for Climate Change and Energy

The Hon Senator Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry 

The Albanese Government is investing in innovative projects that empower Australian farmers and land managers to measure the amount of carbon in their soils to help improve productivity and unlock economic opportunities in the carbon market.

The government has today released Round 2 of the $50 million National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge, which will support industry and researchers to develop and trial lower-cost, reliable and accurate technological solutions for measuring soil carbon.

Grants of between $500,000 and $5 million from a total of $20 million will be available for projects that can help advance understanding of how land management can improve soil carbon levels.

Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said the latest funding would empower producers to measure and improve their soil carbon resources and help reduce emissions.

“Farmers are at the front line of climate action and our government will continue to back them to develop technologies that will help them store more carbon, improve farm productivity and create regional job opportunities.

“We will continue to work with the agriculture sector to help them manage their soils, reduce emissions and actively participate in the carbon market.”

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said prioritising soil health was integral to sustainable agriculture and contributed $63 billion annually to the economy.

“To ensure our agriculture sector continues to thrive, we need to continue to improve management of our soils, as it contributes to rainfall retention, physical stability and erosion management, while supporting Australia’s climate and disaster resilience through carbon cycling.

“Innovative soil technologies across a range of Australian agricultural landscapes are key to this, and that’s why the government remains committed to supporting them.

Applications for the second round of grants open from 24 February until 11 April 2023. Eight innovative projects were awarded $28.9 million in the first round of grants to develop and demonstrate innovative soil organic carbon measurement technologies over 2 years.

Some successful projects in the first round were AgriProve that will use the launch of an integrated synthetic aperture radar and optical satellite into low Earth orbit for measuring soil organic carbon; and the University of Queensland in partnership with FarmLab, Ziltek, AgriCircle and University of Aberdeen that will develop high-res maps of soil organic carbon.

The National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge is part of the government’s commitment to support farmers and land managers to adopt low-emission technologies and practices.

For more information about the second round of grants and how to apply, visit