Farmers share how they are part of the solution
A new initiative launched today is sharing stories of the climate action Aussie farmers are taking while continuing to produce the food and natural fibres we all depend on.
Research commissioned by the National Farmers’ Federation measured community sentiment towards agriculture, climate change and sustainability.
Of those surveyed, 21% of Australians strongly believed farmers were committed to improving their environmental performance and adapting to a warmer, drier climate; while 44% somewhat agreed and 17% were neutral.
NFF Chief Executive, Tony Mahar said the survey results indicated the community recognised farmers were on the frontline of the climate solution and wanted to learn more about what action farmers were taking.
“Through Australian Farms – Where REAL climate action happens we’re telling the stories of our farmers, who take seriously their responsibility as environmental stewards of 51% of the Australian landscape.
“The good news is through research, innovation and on-farm management, farmers are world leaders in carbon abatement. In fact, agriculture is one large carbon cycle: generating emissions but also taking a significant amount of carbon from the atmosphere.
“Now mainstream practices such as rotational grazing; zero soil disruption when planting a crop and the conversion of livestock effluent to renewable energy have seen Australian agriculture reduce its direct greenhouse gas emissions by 65 per cent between 2004-05 and 2016-17.
“Farmers are on a journey and there is more work to do. Through new science and technologies, like feed additives that drastically reduce livestock emissions, agriculture is poised to continue being part of the climate solution.”
West Gippsland dairy farmer and veterinarian, Tess Butler is one farmer featured in Australian Farms: Where REAL climate action happens.
Tess runs 900 jersey cows with her partner Ben and three-year old son, Will. The family suffered catastrophic losses in the 2009 Victorian bushfires. In the build-back Tess transformed the farm so the family could, in their own way, respond to climate challenges.
With changes to soil and pasture management Tess’ cows now produce more milk with less methane emissions.
Tess says producing milk that meets the expectations and values of Australians is what gets her out of bed every day.
“Sustainability is extremely important to me. The way we run this farm is about getting what we need without compromising the land for the future.”
Dan Fox and his family from Marrar, in southern New South Wales are committed to continuous improvement. Dan grows cereal crops including wheat, sorghum and barley; pulses such as chickpeas and faba beans; and oilseeds including canola and sunflowers. Through reduced soil disruption and more fuel-efficient machinery, Dan is improving the sustainability of the farm for future generations.
“The legacy I’d like to leave for my children is a farm on which the soils are functioning better than when we started.
“We’re custodians of the land, we should leave the land better than when we received it,” Dan said.
The Wilmot Cattle Company in northern NSW, managed by Stuart Austin is in 2021, as Stuart says ‘massively climate positive’.
“Through soil carbon sequestration, we’re taking more carbon out of the atmosphere than we are emitting each year, all the while producing nutrient dense beef,” Stuart said.
“I can put my hand on my heart and backed by an enormous amount of data to say that we are improving the ecological health of this farm.”
In the past three years, the Wilmot Team has planted 25,000 trees across their Ebor property.
Mr Mahar said the actions of Tess, Dan and Stuart were repeated on farms across Australia every day.
“Australian farmers not only produce the world’s highest quality meat, wool, cotton, grain, dairy, timber and more, but they are also a vital part of the climate change solution.
“By hearing the overwhelmingly positive stories of our farmers, we want Aussies to continue to enjoy the Australian-grown food and fibres they love with the peace of mind and the confidence that farmers are part of the climate change solution.”
To find out more about the real climate action happening on Australian farms everyday visit www.farmers.org.au