Farming is the largest emission producing sector in the Hepburn Shire, accounting for 41% or 106,325 tonnes of Co2-e. The bulk of these emissions come from grazing (37.6%) and cropping (3%). However, there are many opportunities for agriculture to draw down emissions and contribute to our shire’s Z-NET targets.
We understand that sometimes simple carbon accounting mechanisms can reduce the complexity of existing farm practices, particularly for those engaged in sustainable farming. Farms can be carbon sinks, protecting biodiversity and ecosystems while supporting local industry in terms of food, energy and resources.
To support a thriving, sustainable and ecologically resilient agriculture sector, the Hepburn Z-NET Roundtable collaborated with farmers, experts and community to develop a guide called “How Hepburn Shire Farms can reach Z-NET”.
This guide is intended as a resource to help farmers and community members better understand the agriculture-based drivers of climate change and what types of action can make a material difference to greenhouse gas emissions.
The guide offers detailed information on reducing emissions from fossil fuels, livestock, land use, soil carbon and agricultural inputs. There is supporting information about the actions already underway in the shire and how farmers can be involved.
Some of this work was influenced by agroecology, which is the application of ecology to the design of sustainable agricultural systems. These strategies tend to mimic natural systems, are flexible and adjusted over time. Core to this kind of farming is seeking appropriate farming practices for a particular environment.
On Thursday 24 June 2021, community members joined an online webinar to discuss how farms in the Hepburn Shire can transition to zero-net emissions. Watch the Youtube video for more information.
Farmers interested in cutting their emissions may be able to reduce their emissions by participating in some of our programs, listed below.
Farms can install quality solar systems at residential properties or for onsite buildings.
Get an energy audit for your farmhouse and potentiallyaccess funding to implement targeted retrofits.
Environmental Upgrade Finance (EUF) is a new and growing form of finance designed to make existing buildings better. Learn more about the Hepburn Shire program here.
Healthy Landscapes: the Hepburn Shire Council is part of a partnership program seeking to help land managers improve their practices with training and short courses on regenerative farming.
Infographic on the energy required for ham production, based on research from Marie-Chantal Pelletier, Southern Cross University (2015) and published by Jonai Farms.
Regenerative Australian Farmers: offer information on regenerative farming, how to capture soil carbon, sustain soil health and productivity.
No Till Farming Victoria: no-till farming is a specific farming approach that reduces reliance on chemicals and intensive farming practices, while still maintaining yields.
Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance (AFSA): is a not-for-profit organisation led by farmers, that integrates regenerative farming principles working towards a food system that enables people to create, manage and choose their food system.
North Central Catchment Management Authority program: has example projects and information on farming approaches that maintain productivity and reduce environmental impacts.
On-farm energy grants program: offers grants to eligible farms who are seeking to improve energy efficiency or generate on-site.