Carbon8 created to lead farmers on a journey to regenerative agriculture
Two drought-stricken farmers and a graphic designer are driving a grassroots movement to light the way to a sustainable future on every farm across the country.
Wallangra Beef farmers Helen and Michael McCosker, and Kelly Jones, are determined to help put farmers on a path to long-term success through regenerative farming practices which revolve around storing more carbon in the soil.
Their goal is for farmers to have a soil carbon level of 8 percent and their efforts have culminated in Carbon8 - a start-up charity that will guide farmers on this journey with education programs, access to industry experts and advice.
Scientific data shows a soil carbon level of 8 per cent is a key ingredient in sustainable farming. Right now drought-ravaged dusty paddocks have a soil carbon level below 1 per cent, Ms McCosker said.
The charity has five directors - the McCoskers; Ms Jones; Southern Cross University strategic projects director Lorraine Gordon; holistic management educator Dr Judi Earl and environmental, carbon and energy markets specialist Jennifer Lauber-Patterson.
High-profile partners have also come on board including Southern Cross University, 2040 - a regenerative documentary by filmmaker Damon Gameau, and Landcare NSW.
The charity's fundraising platform, the Carbon8 Fund, is asking consumers to donate to help pay for some of the costs farmers will incur as they transition to regenerative practices.
"It's a long and drawn-out process. They have to do lots of soil tests and it all adds up, it's quite costly. There is a lot of risk for the farmers to pay upfront for these tests when potentially the return on that won't be realised in the short-term," Mrs McCosker said.
"It's a big change to move from generations of doing the same thing to regenerative agriculture practices, which in many cases are the exact opposite techniques that they have been using."
The fundraising campaign is asking shoppers to give as little as $8 per month.
"We will use the funds to help farmers pay for soil tests, we will provide education services with regenerative agriculture educators and help them work together with Southern Cross University, regenerative agriculture educators, and a whole heap of other collaborators."
Mrs McCosker said farmers can start planning their regenerative agriculture journey with the charity while they are battling the drought.
When it does rain they will be able to put their plan into action.
"Knowing what to do as we come out of the drought is very important," Mrs McCosker said.