Farming farms and Farming credits

By Ian Robinson

Agriculture is a very dynamic industry.  In my quest to understand the depth and horizontal spread of opportunities, I personally lost count at around 200 farming enterprises.  The list extends from mainstream livestock and cropping to the exotic.  For any agriculturally minded enthusiast there is an opportunity for everyone.  From Jojoba oil, to Einkorn, to Luffa gourds to Beefalo (yes it’s a thing!) and even edible insects.

(Refer to the USDA list below)

But in Australia, an emerging and very significant class of farming is creeping into the headlines.

Carbon farming.

The creative element to it all is that every farmer will have the potential to tap into this emerging industry as either a complimenting supplement to their existing enterprises or gradually morph into their cornerstone activity to remove seasonality risk whilst satisfying Environmental Social Governance (ESG).

Why is this so significant for farmers?

It was noted by journalist Mike Foley (SMH 17th May 2021) that the “government is quietly developing an agriculture climate change plan that would allow big business to buy carbon offsets from farmers in a bid to incentivise emission abatement…”

If Agricultural Minister David Littleproud is successful in creating a platform marketplace for businesses and farmers to trade carbon offsets, then the economic force will financially incentivise farmers to store carbon in plants and soil.  This will achieve three significant outcomes;

  • It will assist driving the agricultural industry to reach zero emissions without losing production capacity.
  • It will create an underlying revenue stream to assist in mitigation seasonal risk with their traditional enterprises.
  • It will enable big corporates to offset their carbon emissions by “purchasing” carbon credits from farmers.

If you can fathom these basic facts. Australia’s GDP is USD $1,400,000,000,000 ($1.4 trillion), and 0.3kg of carbon is created in every dollar of GDP (The World Bank), that would equate to 420 million tonnes of CO2 being emitted every year.  With carbon trading at circa $16 per carbon credit, that is around $6.7 billion of tradable credits every year in Australia to achieve zero compliance.  We are now talking about a serious farming enterprise, not just a sideline of squabs and rheas (South America’s version of an emu).

To ensure there is a real chance of success in this venture, the government has committed $32m to develop this tradable platform as a part of their $230m farm policy.  In addition, $37m for research to lower the cost of measuring carbon sequestration in soil and $100m to lure farmers to measure their soil health and participate in emissions reduction programs.

Food for thought, or should we say, carbon for thought….



Field and forage

  • Bird seed (sunflower, proso millet, canary grass, etc.)
  • Forage brassicas – turnips, rutabagas
  • Kochia
  • Medics
  • Sainfoin
  • Switchgrass

Fiber, Fuel, Edible and Industrial Oils…

  • Borage
  • Broomcorn
  • Canola
  • Castor beans
  • Comfrey
  • Corn (for oil)
  • Crambe
  • Cuphea
  • Flax
  • Guayule
  • Hemp
  • Jojoba
  • Kenaf
  • Lesquerella
  • Lupine
  • Meadowfoam
  • Milkweed
  • Pennycress
  • Perilla
  • Safflower
  • Sesame
  • Sunflowers
  • Vernonia

Food Grains, Pseudocereals, Legumes, etc…

  • Adzuki beans
  • Amaranth (food and feed)
  • Barley
  • Buckwheat
  • Dry edible beans (fieldbeans)
  • Einkorn
  • Emmer
  • Field peas (food and feed)
  • Garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • Hops
  • Indian corn
  • Jerusalem artichokes (food and feed)
  • Kamut
  • Kernza
  • Lentils
  • Malting barley
  • Mung beans
  • Organically grown grains of all types
  • Peanuts
  • Pearl millet
  • Popcorn, white and colored
  • Psyllium (medicinal)
  • Quinoa
  • Rye
  • Seed production – registered and certified seed, turfgrass, etc.
  • Sesame (seeds)
  • Sorghum (syrup)
  • Soybeans, incl. natto soybeans for tofu, tempeh; and Edible soybeans (edamame)
  • Spelt
  • Tef
  • Triticale
  • Wheatgrass
  • Wild rice

Specialty and Ethnic Vegetables:

  • Baby vegetables
  • Chinese water chestnuts
  • Cole crops (broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kalettes, kohlrabi)
  • Corn, miniature
  • Edible flowers
  • Endive
  • Fenugreek
  • Garlic, Garlic Scapes
  • Gourds, ornamental
  • Greenhouse, hoophouse, or high tunnel production for out-of-season crops
  • Heirloom varieties of any vegetable
  • Herbs – culinary and medicinal
  • Horseradish
  • Leafy Greens (Kale, Chard, Collards, Bok Choy, Mustard…)
  • Luffa gourds
  • Microgreens
  • Mushrooms- shiitake, oyster, morel, etc.
  • Onions (transplants, shallots, sweet, early)
  • Organically grown vegetables of all types
  • African, Asian, Hispanic vegetables
  • Peppers – specialty types (purple, hot, etc.)
  • Salad greens – mesclun
  • Sprouts (alfalfa, bean, etc.)
  • Tomatoes – specialty and heirloom types
  • Wasabi

Fruits and Nuts:

  • Apples, esp. Heirloom varieties, cider varieties
  • Aronia berries
  • Asian pears
  • Brambles – blackberries, raspberries, loganberries, blackraspberries, etc.
  • Blueberries
  • Cranberries, currants
  • Elderberries
  • Gooseberries
  • Kiwi, hardy
  • Lingonberries
  • Melons – specialty types
  • Paw paw
  • Rhubarb products
  • Starfruit
  • Strawberries, day neutral types
  • Table grapes, seeded and seedless
  • Wine grapes for home brewing market


  • Bedding plants – annual flowers, herbs, etc.
  • Field grown cut flowers
  • Field grown mums
  • Flowers for drying
  • Greenhouse production
  • Hydroponic production
  • Organically grown bedding plants and fruit trees
  • Potted annuals
  • Native plants/wild flowers and seeds
  • Regionally hardy shrubs and perennial flowers

Agroforestry/Forest Products:

  • Bamboo
  • Christmas trees
  • Firewood
  • Herbs
  • Mushrooms (log shiitake or foraged)
  • Sawlogs
  • Silvopastured livestock
  • Syrup (maple, birch)
  • Tree seed collection
  • Wild nuts


Game Related…

  • Beefalo (hybrid of buffalo and beef)
  • Buffalo (American Bison)
  • Deer – fallow deer, red deer
  • Elk (wapiti) for meat and antlers
  • Fish bait – worms, minnows
  • Pheasant for release/restocking programs and meat

Exotic Livestock/Minor Breeds/Special Uses…

  • Alpacas and llamas for pack animals, hair, and pets
  • Bees
  • Boar
  • Butterflies (for gardeners)
  • Fox, red, silver, and blue
  • Goats for milk, meat, and hair (Angora)
  • Horses – draft horse breeding, miniatures, exotics
  • Insects, edible, i.e. crickets
  • Mink
  • Mules and donkeys
  • Ostriches, rheas, emus
  • Rabbits for meat, lab animals, and hair (Angora)
  • Reindeer
  • Sheep/Lambs for meat, wool, milk (for cheese)
  • Veal, conventional and certified
  • Water buffalo
  • Worms (for composting)
  • Yaks


  • Balut (duck eggs partially incubated)
  • Chicken eggs partially developed (for Asian markets)
  • Doves
  • Duck – meat and paté
  • Free range poultry of all types
  • Geese
  • Guinea fowl
  • Organically raised poultry of all types
  • Peafowl/Peacocks (feathers)
  • Pigeons
  • Quail/Squab
  • Turkey


  • Aquaponics (combining aquaculture and hydroponic operations)
  • Bass, Trout, Catfish, Crayfish, Tilapia
  • Watercress and other aquatic plants

Pet and Medicine Related…

  • Dogs (guardian)
  • Guinea pigs
  • Pet foods – crickets, mealyworms, etc.


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