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, increasing the practices of agroecological farming can help sequester carbon.
Agroecology is the application of ecology to the design and management of sustainable agricultural systems. Agroecological farmers favour strategies that mimic natural systems, are flexible and can be adjusted and re-evaluated over time. They aim to diversify production on-farm, which creates resilience, enabling farms to adapt to climate change, and economic challenges. At the core of agroecology is the idea that the type of farming undertaken must be appropriate for that particular environment.
This farming philosophy has been gaining an increasing following globally as more farmers are seeking out sustainable farming methods. The concept and practices are promoted by the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the UN (FAO) as a means to feed growing populations sustainably.
The aim is to design complex and diverse agroecosystems for all the individual parts to eventually support and sustain each other to prevent the outbreaks of pests and disease common in mono-culture systems. In practice this means incorporating a range of livestock, grains and plants in ways that minimise external inputs by re-using waste on the farm, spreading out the risk of relying on just one crop, conserving water and looking after the soil.
In the Hepburn Shire context, emissions from agriculture could be cut by a combination of farming practices that also improve carbon sequestration, and offsets within the region. Strategies to cut farming emissions could include:
- Agroecology: Nutrient cycling, holistic planned grazing, reduced or eliminated use of agri-chemicals, and using more sustainable fuel and energy sources on-farm
- Herd management for beef cattle: Adopting more efficient management strategies
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.
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.