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important message for decision makers and policymakers.” Some of the key outcomes and insights from the Carbon Initiative Program include: • Farmers are hungry for knowledge. Limestone Coast Landscape Board has developed educational resources and even done free soil carbon measurements for some producers, after finding farmers in the SA region are keen to learn more about carbon farming but not sure who to trust. • Confusion abounds. The Australian Farm Institute described the carbon market as a “confusopoly” for farmers so has developed an online decision-making tool to help weigh up the risks and benefits of different carbon farming options. • Economic sustainability is critical. Wimmera Development Association conducted interviews across the region and found little interest in carbon farming where the primary purpose was reducing emissions, with adoption instead driven by the search for increased productivity and profitability. • Soil health trumps carbon credits. In interviews conducted by University of Technology Sydney farmers spoke about enhancing soil carbon as a win-win for agriculture and the environment, with a tendency to cite the productivity benefits for their farming enterprise before discussing the income from carbon. • Psychological nudges. Queensland University of Technology examined carbon farming through the lens of behavioural economics and found it would only take a few documented success stories of carbon farming in each region to convince others to take up the practice. • Big companies making the switch. Common Capital found large companies are increasingly looking for low-emission farmers and suppliers and recommended farmers communicate with their value chain about carbon projects. • Rural valuers need help. Carbon Market Institute found no professional guidance for rural valuers with regard to carbon project valuation, leading to a lack of consistency and comparability. A guidance paper was developed. • How to overcome negative experiences. Interviews with landholders in Southern Queensland (home to almost a quarter of carbon projects nationwide) found negative experiences with carbon farming due to historic arrangements where conditions covered the entire property, required total destocking and contained permanence periods of 25 years or more, with researchers recommending education and promotion of arrangements which allowed limited stocking. KICKING GOALS FOR WOMEN IN TURF Talented female turf specialists from across Australia played a critical behind-thescenes role in one of the world’s biggest sporting events recently, supporting the Melbourne Rectangular Stadium team to prepare for several matches, including the Matildas’ group game against Canada. John Deere’s Women in Turf Program joined with the Australian Sports Turf Managers Association (ASTMA) and Brandt Australia, in conjunction with Melbourne & Olympic Parks to provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a group of women including apprentices through to experienced managers, selected to bring their expertise to a pitch of exacting international standards. John Deere and Brandt jointly sponsored three women who took part in the program - Sally Benwell, Superintendent of Centenary Park Golf Course and Sports Ovals at Frankston City Council; Georgie Chandler, Production Assistant at HG Turf Group; and Codi Long, an apprentice in parks and gardens for Greater Bendigo Council. Ms Benwell leads a team of 16 men responsible for maintaining 68 sporting grounds plus an 18-hole golf course. After a 23-year career working with only males, she said the Women in Turf program was a great opportunity to network with like-minded women with a passion for turf. “The program is crucial because women only make up a little over one per cent of the turf industry. It’s great to see our role being highlighted and more women being encouraged to pursue it as a career path, because it’s a very enjoyable and rewarding job. “Usually, I do my job with no-one watching, so it was quite daunting to work in a full stadium with a huge crowd. The atmosphere was amazing though, and it’s something I’ll never forget.” Ms Benwell acknowledged the invaluable mentorship of the men she has worked with over her career. “We’ve certainly come a long way, and like any industry if you work hard and take opportunities like this you can go anywhere.” John Deere launched its Women in Turf Program earlier this year at the TPS Murray River golf tournament, with six female volunteers working alongside staff at Cobram Barooga Golf Club to prepare the course for the event. NEWS 6 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2024

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