Passionate environmental stewards Mark Wootton and Eve Kantor are proud to produce sustainable lamb, wool and beef in their carbon neutral property Jigsaw farms near Hamilton, Victoria.
After working with the University of Melbourne and the CSIRO to measure their impact and then implementing a plan to offset that carbon footprint, Jigsaw Farms achieved carbon neutrality in 2011.
This carbon neutral goal was achieved through carbon sequestration, where Mark and Eve planted trees and managed their pastures to ensure they removed and stored (in the trees and soil) enough carbon from the atmosphere to offset their carbon footprint. In fact, Mark and Eve have planted about 670,000 trees which cover around 20 percent of land on Jigsaw Farms. Half are used for agroforestry and half for permanent vegetation.
The permanent vegetation is used to create ‘shelter belts’ which provide a kind environment for livestock with shelter, shade and protection from the weather. Shelter belts also keep the soil warmer in winter, which results in more feed, and protect animals when they are lambing or calving which increases the chances of happy healthy mothers and newborns.
Not only are shelter belts great for livestock wellbeing, Mark has also noticed a significant increase in biodiversity since planting them.
“When we first came here, we did we did bird surveys every month and we continue to do that. We originally had 46 species recognized, and we're now at 164 species of birds.”
The farm is much healthier than when Mark came to the property. Not only are there a lot more birds but also invertebrates in the wetland areas and greater flora variety. The farm is also certified bee friendly with the tree plantations and shelter belts acting as harbours for bees.
According to Mark the economics of being a climate friendly farm are pretty straightforward. In his experience planting trees for shelter belts has resulted in more lambs and better wool. Happy and healthy animals are also more productive and agroforestry has provided an alternative income source. But for Mark the carbon neutral journey has always been about farming in a way that has a positive impact on the environment.
Mark’s motto is ‘we're not getting bigger, we're just getting better’. With better water quality, better soils, better trees and being carbon neutral, Jigsaw farms never has an issue with attracting labour.
Mark is committed to raising his livestock in ethical, low stress way and is proud to stand by the integrity of his product – high welfare, carbon neutral Australian beef and lamb.
“I think agriculture has a really important role in terms of climate change and I also think we've got incredible opportunity.”
The Australian red meat and livestock industry's goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030 (CN30).
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