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Carbon Farming - The Future

Post by Sarah Nolet - 2035 Oceania Summit speaker and Managing Partner, Tenacious Ventures

Tenacious Ventures, we invest in Agritech startups committed to reducing the sector’s emissions footprint and increasing profitability, sustainability and farm gate output. There’s no shortage of opportunities in Agritech but we’re particularly excited about innovation that addresses lower intensity production methods. Carbon farming is one area with a lot of potential.

Carbon farming includes different agricultural methods designed to sequester carbon and help decarbonise other parts of the economy. Carbon sequestration in the soil is one of the most talked about examples. As part of the 2030 Oceania Summit I’ll be looking at the challenges and opportunities for carbon farming.

Existing carbon markets weren't designed with agriculture in mind. Instead the focus was on oil and gas and other sectors that needed offsets to justify their other emitting activities. One of the big challenges is how to design carbon markets, programmes, incentives and tools that will work for farmers and the agriculture sector.

I think farmers are increasingly aware, if still a little sceptical, of the potential for carbon farming. They want to know how they can profit from carbon credits, how they will be measured, and what are the regulatory implications for them. Striking the right balance between the environmental claims and benefits and the commercial needs of the farmer is key. We spend a lot of time as investors thinking about the incentives that are going to drive change in a way that makes sense for farmers.

We're seeing a lot of activity in Australia and New Zealand to maintain their clean green premium so it’s a great time to showcase innovation in this part of the world. The summit will also bring different perspectives from overseas experts in politics, technology, and investment.

Getting everyone in the same room to look at what’s already been done that’s worth celebrating, commercialising or scaling up will be really valuable. We also need to consider the big challenges ahead and what tough conversations we need to have to prepare for the future.

Farmers in Australia and New Zealand have already had to face a lot of the challenges associated with the changing climate. The rest of the world is starting to face these challenges and is looking at the tools and technology we’re using to tackle the problems.

Food and agriculture is a system and so when you think about solving a problem — whether that's scaling up carbon farming or shifting to new forms of fertiliser or upcycling waste — you can’t just address one part of the value chain. You need different players in the room thinking about systemic solutions. You have to be optimistic. There's not a lot of optimism around climate generally but you have to hope that some action, new ideas and new connections come out of an event like this.