AgWe farmers attain The Carbon Capturer achievement by getting above 5% in our yearly on-farm organic carbon soil test.
Soil Organic Carbon is the measurement of the amount of carbon that is currently stored in the soil. Carbon is the element of life and is present in all living things which means we are measuring the amount decaying plant and animal life in the soil. The main source of carbon in soil comes from the plants decaying root system.
The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation have found that the degradation of one third of the world's soil has released up to 78 Gt of carbon into the atmosphere. Through photosynthesis, plants naturally take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and using it for their growth reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and sequestering it in the soil. The top meter of soil holds more carbon than the atmosphere, ocean and all vegetation above ground. The Western Australia Food and Agriculture's report into Soil Organic Carbon says that a "1% increase in soil organic carbon equates to about 2% increase in the soil's water holding capacity". By continuing to decrease in the world's soil organic carbon we will continue to see more frequent and longer droughts as the soil loses its storage capacity. Farmers can earn carbon credits from the government for storing more carbon in their soils however the process is costly and takes years.
Soilquality.org.au has done the most recent and most comprehensive assessment of the soil organic carbon levels in Australia in recent years. They found that organic carbon levels are typically less the 8% and the average is around 0.7 - 4%. We have set the bar extremely high to encourage farmers to increase their soil organic carbon well above its current levels. This will help reduce CO2 in the atmosphere as well be beneficial to overall soil health.