Our Sustainable Farming Program heralds in a new era to improve our natural assets, such as soil carbon and biodiversity, together with agricultural productivity.
Farmers adopting sustainable land management actions play a key role in the long-term health of both our agricultural sector and environment.
The NSW Government has committed $206.2 million over 10 years to enhance the State’s natural capital by rewarding farmers who opt-in to this Sustainable Farming accreditation program to improve biodiversity and carbon outcomes on their land, while maintaining or enhancing productive land use.
Sustainable Farming will improve our land for everyone’s future, while providing tangible benefits for farmers.
The Sustainable Farming program is undergoing a detailed program design over the coming months. To do this, we are consulting with key stakeholders in the agriculture, conservation and finance sectors. Please register below to receive updates on the Sustainable Farming Program or other Natural Capital Programs.
Natural capital an emerging investment opportunity
There is a keen interest from business, NGO’s and the financial sector to fund natural capital projects, and they are looking for high quality, credible projects. The Sustainable Farming Program could unlock up to $10 billion of ‘Environment, Social and Governance’ financing in Australia for NSW farmers.
Integrity through certification
The Sustainable Farming Program is focused on farmers who voluntarily want to manage biodiversity and carbon while enhancing their land for productive use.
Farmers could achieve certification through agreed sustainability actions, including the following options.
- Protect remnant vegetation, riparian areas, or rocky outcrops via fencing or other means.
- Establish native shelterbelts.
Grazing and land management
- Improve livestock management.
- Improve land management.
- Implement Aboriginal land management options.
- Control weeds to improve the condition of native vegetation.
- Control pests to minimise impact on native vegetation.
- Replant native vegetation.
- Protect and plant new paddock trees.
- Connect and re-establish habitat corridors.
Certification needs to be practical for farmers, as well as credible and accountable for the investment and financial sectors. Certification could enhance farmers’ access to premium financial markets and supply chain standards relating to Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) values.
Certification will be carried out by accredited assessors. This, along with a robust assurance framework, will ensure credibility and integrity, and provide confidence to farmers, financiers and consumers.
The certification program will be developed in consultation with stakeholders and complements existing private land conservation programs offered by the NSW Government.
Eligibility, payments and leading change
The program will focus on farms with medium-to-large turnover because their scale of operations means they can help drive the uptake of sustainable innovation across the agriculture sector.
The program’s preliminary eligibility criteria are currently being developed.
Participants could be eligible for a set of incentive payments when they (1) sign up for certification, (2) get certified, and (3) maintain that certification.
The first landholders to join up will help lead change in the agriculture sector by demonstrating how sustainable practices deliver benefits for farmers.
Benefits for farmers
The program is voluntary, and farmers can choose to opt-in or not.
It is open to both farmers with biodiversity and carbon actions already underway, and those who are just beginning their sustainable journey.
Farmers participating in the Sustainable Farming Program are expected to gain many benefits, including:
- improving their land’s long-term productivity
- increasing resilience to climate change
- receiving payments for attaining and maintaining certification
- negotiating more favourable financing with banks based on sustainability credentials
- increasing their market access based on their government-backed certification
- improving their land’s long-term productivity.
How to find out more
Find out more about NSW Government’s commitment to Natural Capital.
More information on the Sustainable Farming Program will be released in the coming months.
In the meantime, to find out more the Sustainable Farming Program or other Natural Capital programs, register your interest below.