Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot Program

Please note – applications for the Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot Program have now closed

Cattle Australia is supporting the Federal Government’s Carbon + Biodiversity Pilot Program and will continue working to help uphold its integrity. Producers who engage in the program will be rewarded for on-farm biodiversity work and will be part of a world-leading pilot program that recognises the value of on-farm biodiversity stewardship. There are three principles to the program that Cattle Australia will be working to uphold.

  1. The program has to have scientific integrity and stand up to international scrutiny.
  2. Producers are paid fairly, that is they are no worse off if they take part in the program.
  3. The program respects beef producers’ right to make decisions about what’s best for their farm.

The pilot programs seek to demonstrate that ‘environmental markets’, which reward landholders for such things as carbon and biodiversity outcomes, can provide a real way to diversify, and potentially boost farm income. The knowledge gathered in the pilot projects will help create a bigger, broader national scheme that provides opportunities for landholders to diversify into less drought-exposed income streams, making their income more secure and improving environmental outcomes (similar to what is occurring in New South Wales through the Biodiversity Conservation Trust and in Queensland through the Land Restoration Fund). The Australian Government will need producers on the program to show clear, measurable biodiversity and carbon results, remembering the landholder will be paid taxpayer dollars. There are three pilot programs that interested landholders can participate in.

  • Carbon + Biodiversity Program. Landholders participating in this program will be able to receive carbon and biodiversity payments if they plant, manage and maintain shelterbelts and/or other environmental plantings for 25 years, choosing from a range of native plant species. Regeneration of gullies, waterways and degraded hillsides are examples of the types of projects that could be undertaken. The projects are intended to complement livestock production through the carbon and biodiversity payments, and also by providing shelter for livestock and reducing soil moisture loss and erosion.
  • Avoided Degradation Program. Landholders participating in this program will be able to receive payments to protect, manage and enhance high conservation value remnant vegetation on their properties. Participating landholders will be required to actively manage the vegetation, including through such things as installing fencing, and carrying out weeding, pest control and replanting. In return, they will receive an upfront payment to cover initiation and other start-up costs, as well as ongoing payments over a prescribed period to support the management activities and relevant reporting requirements.
  • Australian Farm Biodiversity Certification Pilot. Landholders participating in this program will be able to be certified as being ‘biodiversity friendly’ if they meet prescribed standards of performance regarding on-farm biodiversity outcomes. It is hoped that, in the future, this certification could potentially boost returns by lowering capital costs, securing market access, facilitating participation in environmental markets and potentially enabling access to price premiums. During the pilot phase, participating landholders will receive assistance in establishing relevant environmental measurement, reporting and verification systems, which will facilitate the certification of the biodiversity outcomes on their property. Landholders involved in the pilot will also be reimbursed for participation costs.

Carbon credits now rank just outside the top 50 Australian agricultural products by farm gate value. The intent of these pilot programs is to broaden the opportunities associated with environmental markets while helping to improve the resilience of farm businesses. The programs are being delivered by the Australian Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water in collaboration with the Australian National University. Cattle Australia is working with the Australian National University and Commonwealth to put those delivering the Agriculture Biodiversity Stewardship Pilot Program in contact with beef producers.

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Garry Edwards

Managing Director and CEO, Maureen Pastoral Company

Garry was born and raised on a commercial beef cattle property south of Gloucester in New South Wales. Garry has personal cattle production interests in this region today as well as his corporate role as the Managing Director and CEO of AAM, a business that has a significant focus in continuing to expand beyond our cattle production interests in Central West NSW, near Forbes and Bective Station near Tamworth, NSW.

Garry has over 25 years’ experience in large scale livestock production management within the Australian agribusiness sector. His experience spans across a vast array of areas of the agricultural supply chain and includes managing businesses involved in livestock breeding, growing and finishing, financing of agricultural projects, implementation of precision agriculture practices, investigation and implementation of sustainability and innovation initiatives and developing and operating integrated agricultural businesses.

In 2007, Garry founded the company that today is AAM, commencing the development, operation and management of a portfolio of agricultural assets valued at $887 million and he remains the major shareholder of AAM.

Garry has a unique skill set across multiple facets of the grass-fed cattle production supply chain, from production through to finishing, as well as a unique perspective of the challenges facing all grass-fed producers within Australia through his involvement in the modernisation and development of livestock marketing facilities throughout Victoria, NSW and Queensland.

George King

Managing Director, The Whitney Pastoral Co and Manager, "Coombing Park"
George is a seventh generation Australian farmer, currently managing his family property which they have held since 1880. George operates an Angus breeding and finishing operation joining 1,500 cows per year, with a low-cost model turning off steers at feeder weights and direct sales of females.

George has long been on a regenerative agriculture path as it was the only way he could see to renovate their property 25 years ago without employed equity or working capital, which at the time they didn’t have. He continues with this model as it provides outstanding cost containments, continued production and profitability.

George is married with four (4) children, Harry 24, Emma 22, Dave 15 and Tom 13. He also enjoys flying and has his pilot’s license.

George is also a Founding Director of The Wellness House and a Founding Director of ONFARM CO. He has a strong voluntary involvement with his community including as the NSW Rural Fire Services Senior Dept Capt. and Chairman of St Paul’s Carcoar.

Bryce Camm

Grazier, camm agricultual group

Bryce Camm hails from Dalby in Queensland’s Darling Downs region where he oversees his family’s company Camm Agricultural Group; an integrated beef and cropping enterprise with interests across Queensland.

Bryce has been CEO of the group for the past eight years. Prior to that he was the Manager of the group’s award winning Wonga Plains Feedlot for eight years where he oversaw the operation triple in size. Growing up on “Natal Downs” Station in north Queensland Bryce undertook a dual degree in Business Administration and Communications at Bond University and is a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program as well as the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course.

Bryce is currently the Chairman of Beef Australia Ltd and the Immediate Past President of the Australian Lot Feeders Council, as well as a previous Director of the Red Meat Advisory Council. 

Elke Cleverdon

Owner and Director, Cleverdon Agriculture - Grass Fed Black Angus

Elke is an experienced non-executive director in the agriculture and customer-owned banking sector with a passion for member-centric organisations. She brings a grower perspective, coupled with her genuine drive to elevate the industry through innovation. She was selected to the National Farmers’ Federation ‘Diversity in Ag Leadership’ 2022, among 12 women nationally.

Elke has a broad background in the agricultural industry as a producer and rural financial coach across regional NSW, challenging business models and production systems for growers across a wide range of commodities. Elke has been a joint owner and director of a broadacre family cattle property at Harden, NSW, since 1993. Cleverdon Ag raises and trades black Angus cattle.

Elke brings a wealth of financial, risk management and governance experience. Her current non-executive director roles include Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA), Murrumbidgee Health (NSW Health) and SWS Bank (a regional financial institution in NSW). 

Some of her many strengths include a strong focus on strategy, risk and a triple bottom line while chairing large-scale audit and risk committees.

Elke is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Fellow CPA, and holds a Master of Business Administration focused in marketing, finance, business strategy and leadership. Her critical thinking and business acumen after 16 years’ experience as an executive in customer-owned banking and the past eight years as a Rural Financial Coach, makes her an ideal candidate seeking to advance producers’ long-term best interests in a fair and strong supply chain.

David Foote

Director - Tandarra Partners

Nominated by: Peter Hall, Troy Setter, Bryce Camm, David Hill, Adam Coffey 

For the past 45 years, David has held rural property management, executive and senior management positions across all mainland states in areas of; beef cattle & sheep breeding, growing and lot feeding, meat retailing, small seed growing, irrigated fodder, and the further processing and exporting of primary products such as meat, grain and fodder.

His export experiences which started in 1989 included a role with Stanbroke Pastoral Company to help develop Stanbroke’ s Live cattle export program. Additionally, David managed the integration of Bottle Tree feedlot grain feeding in the production system while developing and launching their now globally recognised Diamantina beef brand.

David has been in a leadership role at the Lee Family’s, Australian Country Choice group of Companies since 1999 and progressed in that time from General Manager Properties & Livestock to Group Managing Director until stepping back in December 2020 from a full time role to a strategic advisory and board role.

Headquartered in Brisbane and employing over 1,400 staff across 42 operations, Australian Country Choice (ACC) operates Australia’s largest vertically integrated beef supply chain; encompassing cattle breeding, cattle growing and feedlotting to supply its integrated food processing facility in Brisbane that incorporates beef slaughter, beef boning, value-adding and case ready beef packing.

ACC’s cattle property portfolio of around 4 million acres in Queensland & NSW encompasses operations from the Barkly Tableland, CQ coalfields, Carnarvon ranges, Augathella, Blackall, Roma, and Moonie districts of Queensland, with a carrying capacity of 300,000 head. of cattle to support the Company’s 3 feedlots.

Additionally, David represents Agricultural & Cattle industry interests in his role as; Non-Government member Australia­ Indonesia Red Meat & Cattle Partnership, member SmartSat CRC, member Cattle Australia -Policy Council, member Australian Meat Industry Council -China & Halal Trade Groups, Chair Workplace Health & Safety Queensland -Rural Industry Sector Standing Committee, Deputy Chair Laguna Bay Pastoral investment committee and Board Member lnventia Genetic Technologies (IGT). 

Away from work David has a small cattle property in the Mt Kilcoy (Qld) district running Charolais & Charbray breeders to the delight of his four grandchildren.

David wishes to continue into a second term to help build a strong and successful Cattle Australia to represent the interest of all cattle producers