In the tranquil heartland of Bonnie Doone Beef, graziers Carly and Grant Burnham have embarked on a remarkable journey, turning their attention to the very essence of the Earth beneath their feet.
Meet the soil farmers who have not only farmed serenity but are reaping incredible rewards as their carbon-negative soil project breaks records and captivates the world.
Seeds of Sustainability
For the past decade, the Burnhams have nurtured a unique philosophy on their Monto property—a philosophy grounded in regenerative farming and soil improvement. They’ve lovingly referred to themselves as soil farmers, diligently focusing on the roots of their operation.
Despite battling bushfires, disease outbreaks, and droughts, their unwavering commitment to carbon sequestration has paid off in spades. The National Clean Energy Regulator has awarded them an astounding 94,666 Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs)—a historic achievement for an individual soil carbon farming project.
Valued at approximately $2.8 million, these ACCUs hold the potential to change the way consumers perceive agriculture’s role in combating climate change. It’s a testament to how the Burnhams’ land management practices have resulted in the equivalent of 126,222 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions being absorbed into their soils over the past five years.
The Burnham’s Insight
Mrs. Burnham emphasizes that their project demonstrates how soil carbon initiatives can harmoniously coexist within diverse landscapes and under varying conditions.
“By focusing on developing better grazing practices and improving ecological health, we were able to increase overall carbon stocks across the project area,” she said.
“If you remain focused on ecology and production, soil carbon comes as a result.”
The Burnham family’s extraordinary success holds promise for the 2030 carbon-neutral goal. Their cattle are now proudly carbon neutral, with a remarkable 6.6 tonnes of carbon sequestered in their soil for every tonne of livestock they raise, accounting for all emissions.
Changing the Landscape
CarbonLink Chairman, Dr Terry McCosker, celebrates the Burnhams’ Bonnie Doone project as a new Australian benchmark, providing inspiration to landowners committed to positive climate action.
“The release of ACCUs for Bonnie Doone is a huge step toward a greener, more sustainable future for Australian primary producers and landowners,” Dr McCosker said.
“The land management techniques used by Carly and Grant have added 47,000 tonnes of soil organic carbon to the project area. This equates to an additional 283,000 tonnes of water added to the capacity of the soil.
“It is proof that landowners who are committed to a tangible improvement in soil health can generate a diversified income stream while contributing to a healthier planet.”
This marks the second large-scale issuance of soil carbon credits in just four months, signalling a transformative shift in sustainable land management. Multiple producers are now benefiting from managing soil carbon projects with CarbonLink.
In June 2023, CarbonLink’s soil carbon project partners “Rexton” near Goondiwindi and “Moora Plains” west of Rockhampton made history by becoming the first to receive soil carbon credits at scale. They were granted a combined total of over 151,000 ACCUs by the Clean Energy Regulator—a monumental achievement under the 2021 soil carbon method.
In a world that’s increasingly focused on sustainability, Bonnie Doone Beef and their pioneering carbon-negative soil project stand as beacons of hope, proving that serenity can indeed grow from the ground up while making our planet a better place for all.