Australia's red meat industry is on good footing to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, according to Meat & Livestock Australia.
The initiative trying to achieve that is called CN30 and its manager Margaret Jewell said the red meat industry was already seeing the benefits from its carbon-neutrality journey.
"There are lots of benefits in regards to market access, potentially with access to some overseas markets," Dr Jewell said.
"We want to maintain the good market access that we've got now and ensure that we can continue to access those same markets in the future.
"We also think it will just enable us to maintain strong community and consumer support in our industry."
Dr Jewell made these comments at a field day in north-east Victoria at Warrenbayne on the weekend, where she gave a presentation on the status of the CN30 initiative and the role of farm forestry in carbon sequestration.
She outlined that there was growing evidence coming in that banks were beginning to ask red meat industry customers for evidence of environmental stewardship credentials in return for access to capital.
Dr Jewell's comments come as the Victorian government this week announced a pilot program for farmers to reduce on-farm emissions.
Agriculture Minister Mary-Anne Thomas visited Mount Lavinia Farm, Fish Creek, to launch a three-year pilot program that will work with up to 250 farm businesses across Victoria to measure, manage and reduce their on-farm emissions.
The program will be undertaken over nine rounds and cover industries like beef, dairy, grains, poultry and sheep.
Ms Thomas said there was an eagerness from farmers to learn how to cut emissions but some didn't have all the information needed on how to do so.
"Victoria is well positioned to be a leader in low-emissions agriculture and this program will further help farmers to ensure Victorian agriculture continues to be productive and profitable under a changing climate," she said.
Mount Lavinia Farm owner Rob Liley said it was time farmers took part in the process of reducing carbon emissions.
"I am excited about the pilot because while I believe producers are part of the climate change problem, I also believe we can be part of the solution in reducing emissions," Mr Liley said.
Program participants will receive a free emissions assessment giving them an insight into their farm's greenhouse gas emissions, while $5 million worth of grants will help participating farmers develop an action plan to reduce emissions and implement them.
According to Dr Jewell, steps like these were an indication that "climate change is a real thing" and "that our industry is going to have to adapt some of the species that are growing for pastures in certain areas".
"We want to make sure we can continue to produce really healthy and high-quality red meat into the future," she said.
While Dr Jewell said there had been a lag in some data regarding how much the red meat industry was on target to carbon neutrality, the 2018 data was promising.
"There was a 53 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions since 2005," she said.
"That was mainly due to vegetation management, [with] a reduced clearing and increased regrowth."
Dr Jewell said there would hopefully be more promising 2019 data regarding the CN30 targets coming out soon, but she also believed there was still a lot of work that the red meat industry had ahead of itself.
She highlighted that MLA had invested $140 million in emissions reduction but said while Australia was forging a path, global aspirations were slightly lagging.
"We expect that we'll at least be wanting to invest at least another $100 million, but I also think it's... a global problem, and so it'd be great if the globe got together and tried to address this problem," she said.
"If you throw enough money at something like a COVID vaccine, it can be really successful.
"I think if there's money available, we'll be able to spend it on trying to get these technologies developed and into market quicker."
Dr Jewell also said that at a fundamental level, farmers and producers are being more acceptable to how carbon neutrality can benefit their operations.
During her presentation she mentioned that carbon was a really fundamental component of what the livestock industry was trying to grow and a simple but effective began with farmers keeping a carbon account.
"My focus at the moment is trying to get producers to understand that first and foremost we're trying to improve their businesses prosperity and long term sustainability, economic and environmental sustainability," she said.
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