Farmers from around Australia have committed to cutting pollution from their operations, and will be inviting peers and political representatives to do the same.
This weekend, more than 30 members of Farmers for Climate Action met in person to draw up plans for the rapidly growing advocacy group. Among them were farmers from Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia and Tasmania, with most commodities represented.
Farmers for Climate Action CEO Verity Morgan-Schmidt said members wanted to protect food production for all Australians, and ensure farming viability.
“The very seasons and conditions that farmers rely on to produce our food and our fibre are becoming less predictable, and that spells trouble not only for agriculture but for anyone who needs to put food on the table,” Mrs Morgan-Schmidt said.
“Our members aren’t going to wait around and watch things worsen. They are determined to make changes on their properties that make their own operations more sustainable, and profitable in the long-term. They also want to see the broader industry, and all levels of government, doing the same because all of us have a responsibility.”
Brett Hall is a Beef cattle farmer from Tasmania. He said climate change was a pressing issue for agriculture, and as the custodians of over 50% of the Australian landmass, farmers must continue to lead by example.
“For example, the livestock industry has reduced greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 14% over the last 30 years while meat production levels have increased by more than 70% during that timeframe. The industry has also achieved a 42% reduction in emissions associated with vegetation protection and tree planting, and a 65% reduction in water use.”
“Whilst these achievements are impressive, there is much more to be done. Wider support from the public to both reduce their energy use and source renewable energy will have the most significant impact. Increased funding for Research, Development and Adoption regarding climate change has to be prioritised so that land managers can mitigate the impacts of the environmental change that farmers are experiencing now.”
Mrs Morgan-Schmidt said the organisation was planning to rapidly grow their membership and strengthen their presence in regional Australia within the next 12 months, and encouraged all farmers to get involved.
“There are opportunities here for agriculture, and this is the time when farmers should be out there, speaking up and shaping what that looks like. If we don’t speak now, then the decisions may be made for us without us.”
*Brett Hall is a farmer near Bronte Park in The Central Highlands ...
Farmers for Climate Action is an inclusive movement driven by farmers, for farmers calling for immediate action on climate change and supporting on-farm adaptation and mitigation to ensure a positive future for generations of Australian farmers.