The targets for methane emissions are still somewhat ambiguous as they will be revised by the newly established Climate Change Commission in 2024. By that time, development in scientific research and modelling capability should mean emissions can be evaluated at the individual farm level.
In the interim, emissions costs are likely to be met at the processor level, with costs then allocated to farmers through levies. This will reduce farm income levels but provides no direct incentive to reduce on-farm emissions.
While the optimal treatment of agricultural emissions remains so challenging, clear incentives exist to increase the quantity of trees being planted to reduce the required fall in emissions. Policy changes, grants towards planting costs and the opportunity to gain revenue from carbon credits will all create incentives for more trees to be planted.
Support from farmers is required to switch some land currently used for grazing to forestry. Ideally this would occur through pockets of plantings on grazing properties, rather than complete conversion of farms to forestry, which could have negative economic and social impacts for rural communities.