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Rewarding soil stewardship

This project is connecting soil scientists, farmers and the finance sector to review the benefits, costs and uncertainties related to different soil stewardship practices, as well as the available returns from different markets and sources.


Project Officer
Kate Coffey


A previous Soil CRC project identified that many finance stakeholders and growers value good soil stewardship, and appreciate that it is generally profitable. However, there is a recognition that the link between healthy soils and profitability needs to be further demonstrated to unlock investments in soils and activate financial markets to reward soil stewardship.

This project will configure, trial and evaluate novel financial mechanisms to reward soil stewardship. A three-stage approach will involve grower groups BCG, Riverine Plains, WANTFA and the finance sector (Deloitte and NAB).

In short: This project will configure, trial and evaluate novel financial mechanisms to reward soil stewardship. 

Project focus

The project will work to improve connections among soil scientists, growers and the finance sectors and facilitate the activation of financial markets to reward soil stewardship. It aims to:

  • Identify key soil/farm performance measures that are relevant, understandable, and accessible to the financial sector and reflective of farming best practice and leading soil science evidence.
  • Improve organisation and accessibility of soil science and first-hand grower evidence about the cost of key soil constraints and the most financially viable way of managing these.
  • Improve confidence regarding the link between soil stewardship and farm financial resilience amongst the financial and farming sectors.
  • Facilitate the creation of at least one pilot action activating financial markets to reward soil stewardship.

The project will review the benefits, costs and uncertainties related to different soil stewardship practices and the available returns from different markets/sources.

An analysis will focus on the key soil constraints impacting four major Australian growing regions and potential returns from soil stewardship. This includes maintained/increased productivity, reduced input costs, higher prices for products with soil stewardship attributes, revenue from ancillary environmental markets such as carbon sequestration, public or philanthropic incentives, and higher land valuations or lower cost of capital from debt or equity markets.

A series of intensive workshops will also connect the farming and finance industry (banks, investors, valuers, corporate advisors).

Find out more

For further information about the project, please contact Riverine Plains Senior Project Manager, Kate Coffey at kate@riverineplains.org.au

Project investment

This project is funded by the CRC for High Performance Soils Limited (Soil CRC).


This project is led by Dr Nicholas Pawsey, Charles Sturt University, with partners Federation University, Western Australian No-Tillage Farmers Association (WANTFA), Riverine Plains and Birchip Cropping Group.


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