Carbon Farming Initiative

​Through its Direct Action Plan, the Australian Government is introducing a mix of new policies, to efficiently and effectively source low cost emissions reductions and improve Australia’s environment. This will be done primarily through the Emissions Reduction Fund.

The Emissions Reduction Fund will build on the existing Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) and provide ongoing opportunities for farmers and land managers to participate in emission reduction projects.

For further news and updates, please visit the Clean Energy Regulator’s website.

What is the Carbon Farming Initiative?

The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) is a voluntary carbon offsets scheme. This Australian Government initiative allows farmers and land managers to earn carbon credits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions (such as nitrous oxide and methane) and storing carbon in vegetation and soils through changes to agricultural and land management practices (also known as carbon farming).

These credits, known as Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs), can be sold to individuals and businesses that want to offset the greenhouse gas emissions of their business operations. This can create additional income for Australian farmers and land managers who choose to take part in the initiative.

To participate in the CFI, people undertaking projects to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions or store carbon in the landscape will need to use an approved methodology for their activity. These methodologies contain the detailed rules for implementing and monitoring specific carbon farming activities and generating carbon credits under the scheme. New methodologies and opportunities to participate are continually evolving.

The CFI is one of many government initiatives that help maintain and enhance ongoing productivity and profitability and protect Australia’s natural environment.

The CFI officially commenced on 8 December 2011 and since 2 April 2012 land managers have been able to apply to undertake CFI projects. To see how people are already taking part, please visit the Register of Offsets Projects.

Could the CFI work for you?

Are you or one of your clients thinking about participating in the CFI, but want more information about what is involved in getting a project off the ground?

The Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) Legal and Contracts Guide provides an explanation of the CFI legislation and the legal steps for undertaking a project and receiving ACCUs. It also provides an overview of the types of contracts which CFI participants or purchasers of ACCUs may need to enter into, and explains some of the standard contract terms that may be included in a contract to buy and sell ACCUs.

The guide was developed by Norton Rose Fulbright Australia with the support of funding from the Australian Government. 

The Department of Agriculture has also released the following CFI case studies. These case studies describe potential projects using the environmental planting of native tree species methodology that could, in principle, satisfy the requirements to be eligible CFI projects. Case studies using the destruction of methane generated from manure in piggeries methodology are coming soon. A number of other CFI methodologies are also available and are listed on the Clean Energy Regulator’s website.

The scenarios contained in the case studies are for example purposes only. Before you take any action in relation to a CFI project or Australian carbon credit units, you should seek further information or professional advice relevant to your individual circumstances.

Carbon Farming (Quantifying Carbon Sequestration by Permanent Environmental Plantings of Native Species using the CFI Modelling Tool) Methodology Determination 2012.

These case studies cover key considerations in setting up an environmental plantings of native tree species CFI project; including the land-use implications, pre-project requirements, skills and resources needed, risks, potential costs, as well as potential revenue and other co-benefits.

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expand sectionEnvironmental plantings of native tree species case studies

13.1 Merredene

Case study snapshot

  • Cropping and grazing property
  • 478 mm average rainfall per annum
  • Gravelly loam and sandy soils
  • Direct seeding

13.2 Yarrabee

Case study snapshot

  • Dryland cropping and grazing property
  • 500 mm average rainfall per annum
  • Deep free draining sandy soils
  • Direct seeding

13.3 Severely degraded property

Case study snapshot

  • Theoretical properties in Western Australia
  • Average rainfall less than 800 mm per annum
  • Severely degraded land with high salinity and acid soils
  • Direct seeding v. tubestock planting

13.4 Highly productive land in Victoria

Case study snapshot

  • Dairy and cattle production
  • High average rainfall
  • Fertile soils
  • Direct seeding v. tubestock planting

13.5 Cattle property in Western Queensland

Case study snapshot

  • Theoretical leasehold cattle properties in western Queensland
  • Average rainfall more than 600 mm per annum
  • Direct seeding v. tubestock planting

13.6 New South Wales

Case study snapshot

13.7 Sheep wheat zone of Western Australia

Case study snapshot

  • Theoretical sheep wheat property in Western Australia
  • Varied soil types
  • Direct seeding v. seedlings

13.8 Beef grazing in north-east Victoria

Case study snapshot

  • Beef grazing property
  • 500–900 mm average rainfall per annum
  • Fertile loams to granitic sandy soils
  • Seedling plantings

13.9 Dairy in south-west Victoria

Case study snapshot

  • 550–750 mm average rainfall per annum
  • Rich grey–brown basalt soils
  • Direct Seeding

13.10 Broadacre cropping in the Victorian mallee

Case study snapshot

  • Cereal cropping property
  • 350 mm average rainfall per annum
  • Sandy clay‒loams
  • Direct seeding

13.11 Sheep grazing in north-west Victoria

Case study snapshot

  • Wool property
  • 550–600mm average rainfall per annum
  • Granitic sandy soils
  • Seedling plantings

13.12 Whole of Paddock Rehabilitation - (WOPR) plantings

Case study snapshot

  • Cattle grazing property
  • 1300 mm average rainfall per annum
  • Sedimentary, clay and sandy clay–loam
  • Direct seeding

13.13 Durness–Borland Landcare Corridor

Case study snapshot

  • Various properties
  • 300–850 mm average rainfall per annum
  • Red clays, red clay–loams, decomposed granites and quartz
  • Direct seeding

13.14 Small farms in the Canberra region

Case study snapshot

  • Peri-urban landholdings
  • 600 mm average rainfall per annum
  • Wide variety of soil types
  • Direct seeding v. seedling

Carbon Farming (Destruction of Methane Generated from Manure in Piggeries) Methodology Determination 2012

Case studies coming soon.

Where do I go to find out more?

Various elements of the CFI, such as research, policy, participation and regulation are being managed by different Australian Government agencies. To help you find the information you are looking for, the list below briefly describes each agency’s role in the CFI.

Department of the Environment

The Department of the Environment is responsible for the CFI legislation and supporting regulations. The Department of the Environment is also responsible for developing the methodologies (detailed rules) for undertaking CFI projects and provides secretariat support to the independent Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee, which assesses these methodologies.

For information on how the CFI works, which activities can generate carbon credits and the ground rules for these activities please visit the Department of the Environment's website, phone 1800 057 590 or email.

Clean Energy Regulator

The CFI is administered by the Clean Energy Regulator. The Clean Energy Regulator is responsible for approving participation in the CFI by individuals and entities, approving CFI projects, issuing ACCUs and managing the holding, transfer, retirement, relinquishment and cancellation of units through the Australian National Registry of Emissions Units. The Clean Energy Regulator is also responsible for educating stakeholders and participants on how to comply with the CFI rules.

For information about applying for a CFI project please visit the Clean Energy Regulator’s website, phone 1300 553 542 or email.

Department of Agriculture

The department is responsible for funding innovative research and on–farm trials that reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the land sector and store carbon in the landscape, enhancing sustainable agricultural practices. Driving innovation in this space will help inform the development of methodologies for the CFI while helping Australian farmers and land managers adapt to climate change.

The department is also responsible for communicating information about the CFI and developments in land sector emissions management to farmers, land managers and their key influencers. Through targeted extension and outreach activities, farmers and land managers will be equipped to make informed decisions about emissions management on their land and participating in the CFI.

The department is working with the Department of the Environment and other stakeholders to develop CFI methodologies for different industries and regions.

The department supports the implementation of the CFI through: