Garry Robb believes that the ‘norm’ of Australian farming needs to change. Before his native forest protection project, Garry was wholly focused on working his land as hard as possible to generate cash-flow. Now, thanks to his carbon project, his reliance on commodity markets is reduced, which he says gives him more options when it comes to managing the land.
By choosing to protect and maintain just over 7,000ha of native forest, Garry no longer has to push the land hard just to make a living. He can choose to sell his stock when prices are good and overall has been able to reduce his stock numbers to avoid degrading the land.
Investment in infrastructure such as ‘NextGen’ fencing that allows digital monitoring over large distances, and other innovative fencing solutions that allow feral animals to pass through the property rather than fence them in or out, has improved land management and helped rehabilitate the land.
Environmentally sensitive areas such as creeks and riverine environments have now been fenced off, and a natural weir created to retain water across the floodplains. This has lead to increased vegetation and removed the need for costly irrigation. Now when the plains flood, they water the land without eroding it because Garry says the vegetation “holds down the soil”.
All this investment is flowing through to the local community as Garry hires locals to complete works across the property such as earthworks, firebreaks, fencing and tracks.
In Garrys mind, the old ways of working wouldn’t have provided these opportunities for local spending. In fact, he’s found the persistent claims that carbon farming locks up the land and shuts down rural communities to be entirely unfounded. As far as he is concerned, the financial pressure is off, his land is in better condition, and he’s investing more in his local community than ever before.