Victorian Carbon Farming Program
The $15.3 million Victorian Carbon Farming Program (VCFP) provides an opportunity for private landholders to reduce emissions and build resilience to a changing climate. This program will support private landholders to:
- plant woodlot, agroforestry and shelterbelt trees
- leverage opportunities available from timber, carbon or environmental markets
- realise on-farm co-benefits such as shade and shelter for stock, biodiversity values, improved farm aesthetics, among others.
The program will run as a pilot for the first 18 months in the North Central Catchment Management Authority Region. Lessons and outcomes from the pilot will contribute to future funding rounds across the state.
Landowners will be able to access support from a panel of experienced Registered Project Advisors and partner with them to apply for grants from the Victorian Government to plant trees on their properties.
How it will work
Stage 1: Registered Project Advisor Panel EOI
An Expressions of Interest (EOI) process was run for suitably qualified and experienced businesses to become Registered Project Advisors to the program.
The panel of advisors will be appointed in July 2023.
Respondents were required to demonstrate experience and capacity in one or more of the following areas:
- Plantation development / management
- Management of carbon projects using vegetation methods
- Native vegetation establishment and management.
The Registered Project Advisors will aid landowners to understand the potential for their properties to support tree plantings and sequester carbon, and assist in the management of the planting over a 10-year project period.
Registered Project Advisors will be able to apply for:
- Program Sponsorship of up to $20,000 (exclusive of GST) to undertake outreach activities that promote the program and engage with landowners to advocate for their participation.
- Project Grants to be delivered in partnership with landowners to establish tree plantings on private land.
Stage 2: Project Grants
Landowners in the North Central Catchment Management Authority Region must partner with Registered Project Advisors to develop projects to plant trees on their land.
The VCFP supports a broad suite of tree planting and management approaches including linear windrows and shelterbelts, woodlots and block plantings.
VCFP plantings can generate new income streams for landowners via timber, carbon and environmental markets, off-setting on-farm emissions, and generating other co-benefits.
Registered Project Advisors and landowners must commit to delivering projects over a 10-year period.
Total funding available to a project is determined based on the project’s modelled carbon stock at year 10 using the Full Carbon Accounting Model (FullCAM).
Trees planted under the program can be utilised for their timber, either for commercial sales or on-farm uses (firewood, posts etc), however must not be harvested for at least 10 years.
Grants will open in July 2023.
The indicative key dates for the VCFP pilot program are:
- Registered Project Advisor Expressions of Interest open 12 April 2023
- Registered Project Advisor Expressions of Interest close 21 May 2023
- Grant applications open: July 2023
- Grant applications close: December 2024
How landholders can get involved
Interested landowners can sign up for information by joining the Victorian Carbon Farming Program mailing list. By signing up to this list you will be notified when the list of VCFP Registered Project Advisors is available, as well as periodic updates about the program, such as grant launches, case studies, or other program updates.Sign up here
By signing up to this list you will be notified when the list of VCFP Registered Project Advisors is available, as well as periodic updates about the program, such as grant launches, case studies, or other program updates.
Estimate your property’s carbon sequestration potential!
The Victorian Government recently joined with CSIRO to update the LOOC-C carbon abatement calculator to enable estimates from plantation and farm forestry activities.
Landowners interested in partnering with a Registered Project Advisor to deliver a VCFP Project are encouraged to use LOOC-C to estimate the total tonnes of carbon abatement (in Australian Carbon Credit Units, or ACCUs) potentially available from their project.
Frequently Asked Questions
The Victorian Carbon Farming Program (VCFP) aims to support Victorian landowners to plant agroforestry and shelterbelt trees on private land to sequester carbon and contribute to the state’s emissions reduction goals, including Victoria’s target to be a net zero emitter of carbon by 2045.
The program acknowledges the challenges Victorian rural landowners have traditionally faced in accessing carbon markets. Recognising these challenges, the program has been designed so that Victorian landowners have better access to incentives that support tree growing activities and ultimately deliver new income streams and other on-farm benefits.
Beyond an expansion of the private forestry estate, the program also aims to develop private sector capacity to assist Landowners in maximising revenue from carbon, timber or other environmental markets via professional advice and assistance from Project Advisors registered with the program.
The Victorian Carbon Farming Program (VCFP) Pilot is the first phase of the VCFP and will run for 18 months from mid 2023 to late 2024.
The Pilot will test key facets of the program’s design ahead of a broader rollout to other areas of the state scheduled for 2024.
Projects approved for VCFP funding within the pilot phase will be contracted for delivery over a 10 year timeframe.
The Victorian Carbon Farming Program (VCFP) Pilot is not prescriptive with respect to tree species or management regime, however tree plantings must align with the objectives of the program.
Projects that elect to establish environmental plantings must demonstrate that the plantings are well integrated into the property, such as in shelterbelts or riparian areas.
Environmental plantings that are not shelterbelts, riparian buffers or other integrated planting types, and have the primary purpose of broad (paddock) scale land conversion for biodiversity benefits, are excluded from the VCFP Pilot. Such projects may be eligible for the Bushbank program.
The Victorian Carbon Farming Program (VCFP) Pilot supports tree planting projects of a scale up to 100 hectares. While there is no defined minimum size for projects, no one planting block within a project can be smaller than 0.5 of a hectare.
Registered Project Advisors (RPAs) to the Victorian Carbon Farming Program (VCFP) Pilot are businesses with sound credentials in delivering tree growing projects. All RPAs registered into the VCFP Pilot have met or exceeded eligibility criteria set by DEECA via the VCFP Pilot Expression of Interest (EOI) process.
RPAs are responsible for:
- identifying landowners interested in planting and growing trees in the Pilot Area,
- developing grant proposals on behalf of landowners, and
- implementing, project managing and reporting on approved projects over a 10-year project duration.
RPAs assist landowners to understand the potential for their properties to host carbon farming projects, and are eligible to a share of the grant funding made available via the project.
RPAs are the principal conduit of plantation development information and support to landowners, and may seek to aggregate projects with landowners for landscape scale co-benefits such as scalable carbon credits, payment for ecosystem services, scalable timber production or to build habitat corridors across multiple parcels of private land.
Landowners must commit to retaining project trees funded through the Victorian Carbon Farming Program (VCFP) Pilot for a period of 10 years.
A landowners must enter a contract with an RPA, and separately with the government, and allow the RPA to periodically access their land to undertake tree management activities and VCFP Pilot reporting requirements. The meeting of reporting requirements under the VCFP may involve minimal requirements of landowners such as taking photos of trees. The responsibilities of such obligations should be discussed between the Landowner and their RPA in the first instance.
The Victorian Carbon Farming Program (VCFP) Pilot places no ownership obligation on trees grown or carbon sequestered under the program. Landowners are free to negotiate the sale of timber or carbon assets at their discretion providing the trees remain in the ground for a minimum period of 10 years.
The Victorian Carbon Farming Program (VCFP) Pilot Sponsorship Opportunity provides discreet funding to Registered Project Advisors (RPAs) to promote the VCFP. RPAs may be invited to apply for sponsorship funding to encourages landowners within the North Central Catchment Management Authority Region to make their land available for VCFP tree planting projects.
Activities supported by Sponsorship Opportunity funding include:
- Facilitation of community meetings to present the opportunities available to landowners through the VCFP Pilot
- Visits and discussions with groups or individuals about available opportunities under the VCFP Pilot
- Participation in media events (local radio, television, online or print media) to promote the VCFP Pilot
- Other activities aligned with the objectives of the program and the requirements of the Sponsorship Agreement may be considered following discussions with the Department.
Only businesses approved as Registered Project Advisors to the program are eligible to apply for sponsorship to undertake outreach activities.
Registered Project Advisors will be required to assist the evaluation of the Victorian Carbon Farming Program (VCFP) Pilot. The evaluation process will include the provision of periodic reporting, both written and in person, to the Department. This process will enable development of support activities for both Landowners and RPAs under future VCFP funding rounds.