Farmers are taking climate action already

Farmers are already taking climate action on farm


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BEST PRACTICE: Dairy farmers are among the leaders in cutting emissions with a continued shift to adopting best management practices on farm.

BEST PRACTICE: Dairy farmers are among the leaders in cutting emissions with a continued shift to adopting best management practices on farm.

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Farmers following best management practices get both economic and emission benefits.

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Farmers have been taking action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions for years, just by concentrating on best management practices, according to Wonthaggi dairy farmer Daryl Hoey.

He was backed by Farmers for Climate Action Chair and Bowna, NSW, beef producer Lucinda Corrigan who said farmers were adapting to climate change but needed more support.

"Like most Australian farmers, I'm already feeling the impact of climate change on my farm in the form of more frequent extreme weather events. We're adapting, but our ability to adapt has limits. We have no more time to waste," Ms Corrigan said.

She said her farm and her community was dependent on a safe climate.

"Having just been re-elected, the Coalition Government now has an obligation to follow the lead of farmers and rise to the challenge of climate change," Ms Corrigan said.

"It is clear that the community has moved ahead of the politics in this country. The losses from climate change are higher than the cost of action."

Mr Hoey said farmers were leading the way with big cuts from changes in land clearing practices in some states and methane emissions from livestock production.

He said much of the reduction in methane emissions had come about from better nutrition - "better fed animals are more efficient".

Agriculture had also adopted renewables that had seen a steady decline in emissions for a long period, he said.

Mr Hoey said he was concerned that all the information from scientists was that 26 to 28 per cent reductions in emissions was not going to keep temperature rises lower than the one to three degree threshold.

"If the trajectory we are on delivers an average increase in temperatures of two degrees, that will have a monumental effect on the way we farm and what we can do," he said.

The target of 26 to 28pc was "just not good enough".

"That is going to have a huge impact on farming systems, what pastures we grow and what our onfarm management is going to be" he said.

"We have to be braver and demand that governments put in place policies that reduce that temperature rise even more so agriculture can continue."

Mr Hoey said the issue was: what's the cost?

"You can't expect the agricultural sector to bear the brunt of the cost to socialise the benefits," he said.

Farmers needed to be able to continue to adopt and implement best management practices, and keep on challenging what those practices were, understanding that in the long term it would result, across agriculture, in a downward trajectory.

Mr Hoey said if farmers just followed "really good, solid" best management practices it was both an economical benefit but at the same time reduced emissions.

He said there were farmers across the spectrum that were changing their farming practices because they were being forced by changing conditions.

"If things don't get picked up and adopted, and we do hit the temperatures that are being predicted, what does it do to the farming systems in many areas," he said.

Mr Hoey said industry was moving forward without the support of government.

The government was not setting the direction or putting policies in place to reduce emissions through the electricity and transport sectors - which was holding back progress, he said.

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