Creating alternate agricultural income streams to increase farm profitability and benefit the environment

Practical and affordable adaptation solutions are urgently needed to help farmers cope with the impacts of increasing climate variability through adoption of management practices that reduce climate-related (including financial) risk. These include both diversification of income streams to help smooth income variability, and ecosystem-based adaptation measures (e.g., shelter belts; riparian plantings; soil carbon enhancement) that buffer agricultural systems from the impacts of climate extremes.

Project Partners


This project, led by the industry, will work closely with producers to evaluate the benefits, risks and trade-offs of new opportunities that aim to create a more sustainable and resilient agricultural sector. These opportunities are expected to help farmers diversify their income and mitigate the risks associated with climate change by accessing markets that reward them for increasing carbon sequestration through vegetation and soil, as well as other environmental credit options.

Project approach

This research develops innovative property management solutions that allow producers to dedicate areas of land, which may be less profitable and subject to higher agricultural drought risk, to generate revenue from carbon sequestration and environmental/biodiversity credits. The project will focus on marginal agricultural areas (e.g., areas that are opportunistically cropped) and assess how best such marginal land might be transformed to more drought resilient productive uses (e.g., perennial grazing, planting of shelter belts), while also creating environmentally beneficial revenue-raising options for farmers. Revenue generated through the conversion of marginal land could in turn support drought risk adaptation (e.g., through the provision of ecosystem services by shelter belts, which may lower local area temperatures and help conserve water) to protect against financial losses due to climate extremes. This approach minimises conflict between agricultural and environmental outcomes and creates synergies that benefit farmers’ incomes.

Target industries

Sugarcane, horticulture, dryland cropping, grazing/mixed farming


  1. Enhanced support for decision-makers to make informed choices about participating in schemes that offer benefits and trade-offs related to biodiversity and carbon credits
  2. Improved the resilience of businesses and communities that face drought and climate risks, which in turn saves or creates more jobs
  3. Reduced disaster relief costs for state and federal government
  4. Foster greater collaboration and understanding between the agricultural sector and government institutions to develop adaptation and mitigation strategies that create mutual benefits (win-win) for farmers and the environment


Drought, death and taxes: Preparing for the inevitable big dry


For any enquires or questions please get in touch with:

University of Southern Queensland
Prof Shahbaz Mushtaq
Email: shahbaz.mushtaq@usq.edu.au
Phone: 07 4631 2019
Dr Jarrod Kath
Email: jarrod.kath@usq.edu.au
Phone: 07 4631 1452

Queensland Farmers Federation
Adam Knapp
Email: adam@qff.org.au
Phone: 07 3837 4747