Traditionally the scapegoat for changing global weather patterns, the agricultural industry is now poised as the perfect platform to help mitigate and address climate change.
Regenerative farming practices are fast gaining traction across Australia, the holistic approach to agriculture increasing biodiversity while simultaneously facilitating a removal of carbon from the atmosphere.
Now a new initiative launched by Indigo Agriculture, The Terraton Initiative, intends to further incentivise the implementation of regenerative farming practices through carbon sequestration.
Indigo Agriculture Australia's Bill Dwyer said that The Terraton Initiative is aimed at removing one trillion tonnes of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by increasing soil organic carbon concentration.
"The philosophy behind regenerative farming practices is based upon the fact that trees, native grasses and agricultural plants capture carbon from the atmosphere and their deep-rooted systems recycle nutrients from the soil," he said.
"We believe storing atmospheric carbon dioxide in agricultural soils represents the most scalable, immediate and affordable action that we can take to address climate change."
No-till farming, set crop rotations and cover cropping are all key elements in rebuilding soil organic matter thus retaining soil nutrients and carbon content - tools, Dwyer believes, that represented one of the most helpful potential solutions in addressing climate change.
"Through the process of photosynthesis, agricultural plants have the ability to economically pull more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere than any other technology," Dwyer said.
The Terraton Initiative, recently launched in the US market, comprises a number of elements, with Indigo Carbon representing the greatest opportunity for growers.
"Indigo Carbon is a carbon market providing incentives for growers to implement regenerative farming practices at scale," Dwyer said.
Indigo will engage its digital agronomy capabilities and satellite imagery analysis to measure and verify soil carbon sequestration and on-farm emission levels, with farmers rewarded financially accordingly.
Businesses looking to contribute to climate change solutions will also benefit.
"Be it food companies looking to offer products that are climate positive, businesses seeking to be carbon neutral or insurance companies looking to hedge climate risk, Indigo Carbon will create and foster markets and relationships," Dwyer said.
In the US, The Terraton Experiment has also recently launched and represents the world's largest atmospheric carbon sequestration experiment.
By partnering with the Soil Health Institute, The Rodale Institute and a network of grower partners, the experiment will study a significant number of farms for over a decade, with the results forming a blueprint for maximising soil carbon sequestration.
And to further encourage the adoption of regenerative practices The Terraton Challenge and The Carbon Cup have been announced to inspire through healthy competition.
"The Carbon Cup represents a nation-wide sequestration competition to spark on-farm innovation, with the rewards including recognition and monetary prizes, while the The Terraton Challenge calls on innovators and entrepreneurs to develop technologies for maximising soil carbon sequestration rates, improving soil carbon measurements, and reducing the need for chemical and fertiliser inputs," Dwyer said.
As growers realise the reality of climate change and its impact on agricultural capacity and profits, Dwyer believes strategies such as The Terraton Initiative offer a viable and environmentally sustainable new revenue stream.
"While regenerative farming is not widespread in Australia, it has garnered much interest in recent times as growers realise the need to adapt to change," he said.
"Indigo Ag's multi-pronged approach to carbon sequestration not only directly benefits the grower financially, but also encourages market establishment, innovation and research and development."
Dwyer believed the US strategy provides a progressive, comprehensive platform for change which could prove equally advantageous for Australia.