A new initiative launched on August 18 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 per cent of Australians strongly believed farmers were committed to improving their environmental performance and adapting to a warmer and drier climate, while 44 per cent somewhat agreed and 17 per cent 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 per cent of the Australian landscape,” he said.
“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.
Ms Butler 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, Ms Butler transformed the farm so the family could, in its own way, respond to climate challenges.
With changes to soil and pasture management Ms Butler’s cows now produce more milk with less methane emissions.
She said producing milk that met the expectations and values of Australians was what got her out of bed every day.
“Sustainability is extremely important to me,” Ms Butler said.
“The way we run this farm is about getting what we need without compromising the land for the future.”
Mr Mahar said the actions of farmers like Ms Butler 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.”
The NFF is calling on all farmers to tell their own story by shooting a short video and posting it on their social media channels using the hashtag #realclimateaction
Australian Dairy Farmers president Terry Richardson said it would be great to get some more dairy stories in the mix as so many dairy farmers were taking steps to reduce emissions.
He said from an industry-wide perspective, the Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework had a commitment to “reducing our environmental impact — meeting the challenges of climate change and providing good stewardship of our natural resources”.
“In the framework, we set a goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 30 per cent on 2015 levels, across the whole industry. We are making great progress on this and are looking at setting a more ambitious target,” Mr Richardson said.
“Sustainability is also a key focus of the Australian Dairy Plan. We recognise that it is essential for gaining community trust, for dairy’s long-term viability and for providing nutritious food for a healthier world.”
Picture credit – Tess Butler with partner Ben and son Will at their property near Warragul
Article credit – www.dairynewsaustralia.com.au