National soil carbon innovation challenge grants

The Morrison Government is investing in healthier, more productive soils to help achieve the agriculture sector’s $100 billion by 2030 goal while reducing emissions.

Grant guidelines for the second phase of the $50 million National Soil Carbon Innovation Challenge have been released today. Applications are open for four weeks, with up to $40 million in funding available. A further $9 million and any remaining uncommitted funding from round 1 will open for applications in round in the second half of 2022.

Minister for Industry, Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said the Challenge will help remove the number one barrier to increasing soil carbon – the cost of measuring it.

“The Government’s Technology Investment Roadmap sets a goal of reducing the cost of measuring soil carbon by around 90%, to less than $3 per hectare per year,” Minister Taylor said.

“Getting the cost of measurement down will make it easier for farmers, suppliers and researchers to understand the impact that different management practices have.

“This is the first step in making it easier for farmers to demonstrate how they are reducing Australia’s emissions and be rewarded for their efforts.”

Farmers can earn income or carbon credits through the Emissions Reduction Fund for increasing the amount of carbon stored in their soils. 

Increasing soil carbon stocks also improves farm productivity and crop yields through better nutrient and water retention. It also boosts resilience against drought and erosion.

Potential opportunities to reduce measurement costs may include reducing the frequency of physical sampling by advancing laboratory and in-field sensing techniques, increasing confidence in remote sensing estimation and modelling of soil carbon. 

Applications for the Feasibility Study grants under the National Soil Innovation Challenge closed in December 2021. Successful applicants will be announced soon. 

More information is available at the Department’s grant hub website

Media contact: Minister Taylor’s office 02 6277 7120