Countdown to launch: a carbon farming app for Australian landholders
This week marks an important event for the Digiscape Carbon project – the public launch of a free digital tool that promotes a farm-first approach to seeing what projects are available in Australia’s carbon program, the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). Pronounced ‘look-see,’ LOOC-C is an app that Australian farmers and land holders can use to evaluate the carbon farming options for their land.
Two weeks ago, I took LOOC-C to regional Victoria, where around 70 local landholders gathered for an educational day about carbon farming. Part of the agenda was to discuss how individuals could access the ERF, so it was an ideal place to showcase LOOC-C.
Being able to show the audience a working product meant that they could immediately try the tool with their farm in mind … and a few of them did.
Seeing farmers’ interest and willingness to engage with a piece of tech we’ve developed was awesome – it’s a signal that our investment and iterative design process is starting to pay off.
The process of getting LOOC-C ready for prime time has taken over a year, with a multidisciplinary team. The success of working across disciplines became apparent to me when the landholders were asking, ‘Can it be trusted?’ Our team’s online chat channel had been busy with research scientists and software engineers working together to run tests the previous few weeks. Knowing that, I could say with confidence, ‘Yes, we have tested the tool and stand behind the estimates you see here.’
Our team makes no claims that LOOC-C is a ‘one stop shop for the ERF.’ We often explain it as a conversation starter: something that begins with the farm, a familiar place for the landholders who may be interested in participating in the government scheme. Contributing to the development of LOOC C has exposed me to a new way of using my scientific training for real-world problem solving. It’s a new challenge to apply our science excellence to how environmental services might be provided. But the time is now and I believe that within Digiscape, we are stepping up to the challenge.
Have a look yourself at looc-c.farm/.
By Dr Cara Stitzlein, Digiscape Postdoctoral Fellow