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Australian Farmers joins chorus for climate action

  • By: Verity Morgan-Schmidt
  • Jun 20, 2018

Farmers from around Australia are calling for strong action on climate change to protect future generations of Australian farmers and rural communities.

Mid-May saw more than 30 members of Farmers for Climate Action meet in person to draw up plans for the rapidly growing advocacy group. Among them were farmers from Victoria, New South Wales, Western Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, with most commodities represented.

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Verity Morgan-Schmidt said FCA supporters wanted to protect food production for all Australians, and make sure farming stayed viable.

“87.74percent of Queensland is currently drought declared, while WA has faced one of the driest ever starts to the season. Conditions across Australia are changing and farmers are feeling the brunt”

 “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 supporters 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.”

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the evaporation rate making ground water very unreliable for stock over the past four springs and summers. Farmers are spending a lot of money improving their operations - including upgrading stock water systems, sowing vigorous deep rooted perennial pastures and changing grazing and cropping patterns so they can get through the extended hot dry spells that we are seeing and will no doubt see more of in the future” said Mrs Morgan-Schmidt
 
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.”

Farmers for Climate Action will be focusing efforts over the next 12 months on:
•    Research, Development & Extension - Scoping the RD&E landscape across all ag sectors to identify gaps in knowledge and barriers to successful climate change adaptation at the farm gate level.
•    Supporting an energy transformation away from fossil fuels into renewables - with emphasis on ensuring benefits for regional communities
•    Policy, advocacy and lobbying (demonstrating the clear need for action on climate change from a farmer perspective)
•    Membership & Outreach - working to ensure that we get as many farmers involved as possible and support the Australian farming community to deal with the realities of climate change.
•    Restoring carbon & biodiversity in the landscape

As associate members of the National Farmers Federation, FCA was instrumental in creating policy change within NFF to recognise climate change as an important issue for Australian farmers.

“We know that Australian farmers are on the front line of climate change and we know that many farmers are already taking actions to reduce their own emissions. Now we need strong and decisive action from our Federal Government to protect the future of farming in Australia and immediately cut our fossil fuel emissions.”  

The group is calling on farmers from across Australia to get involved in the movement. Visit www.farmersforclimateaction.org.au or connect via Twitter: @farmingforever

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 our environment, rural communities and future generations of Australian farmers.