Farmers given carbon rights
FARMERS and graziers on leasehold land could benefit from new laws that grant them the rights to the carbon stored in managed vegetation on their properties, according to AgForce.
The state agriculture lobby group policy director Drew Wagner said amendments recently passed by Queensland Parliament created possible "carbon sequestration rights" for leasehold landholders who decide to plant trees or encourage regrowth on their properties.
"Prior to these amendments, the Queensland Government held the rights to carbon stored on leasehold land," Mr Wagner said.
"But they've now handed that right over to the landholder, which is an important first step in allowing farmers to participate in carbon trading."
But he remained sceptical the benefits of carbon trading would be as significant as all the "hype" suggested.
"There is still a long way to go until producers can actually sell carbon credits from stored vegetation into trading schemes," Mr Wagner said.
"The Federal Government's Carbon Farming Initiative is due to start this December and yet we still don't have many of the details and parameters through which this will operate."
Mr Wagner said AgForce was also puzzled by the mixed messages governments at all levels were sending the agricultural sector.
"On the one hand they're telling us to lock up country as carbon sinks, and on the other they have policies committing farmers to double food production in the next 30 years.
"Both State and Federal Government policies have to recognise that in the first instance agricultural land produces valuable food and fibre and not get too carried away with the idea that producers are going to make millions of dollars as carbon farmers."