Farmers calling for climate action – on and off the farm

It’s always inspiring to be among leaders, early adopters, and ground-breakers in any field, especially when their motivation is “to do more good”.

I had the pleasure to be with one such group recently – whose motivation is “to do more good” for the benefit of current and future farmers and their families, their communities, their regions; and indeed the entire country and planet.

I got my inspirational “top-up” when I joined more than 30 members of the recently-formed Farmers for Climate Action advocacy group at their 2017 planning meeting earlier this month.

I was there to find-out what they might have to offer farmers in our region (and across our state and country), and was whole-heartedly encouraged by what I saw and heard. Farmers from all over Australia attended the gathering, including one from Badgingarra in the Northern Agricultural Region (NAR), while two other farmers from our region sent their apologies.

 

The first thing that I found-out is that 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 generations of Australian farmers.”

The farmer group wants to see greater effort being put into addressing and adapting to our changing climate, but they actually want far more than that – according to the organisation’s recently-appointed CEO Verity Morgan-Schmidt.

Farmers for Climate Action members want to protect their and their country’s natural resources; their ability to produce clean, healthy and fresh food; and to make sure that farming in Australia is profitable, productive and viable,” she told members.

“The very seasons and conditions that farmers rely on to produce our food and fibre are becoming less and less predictable, and that spells trouble not only for agriculture but for anyone who needs to put food on the table.

“Our members 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,” she said.

For farmers here in the NAR, across Southwest Australia and all across the country, our changing climate is a worrying and growing issue. It was heartening to spend a couple of days with a group of progressive farmers who are prepared to step-up to the challenge, to call for appropriate responses by all relevant sectors, and to lead by example.

They’ve got my support.

I’d encourage anyone interested in being “part of the solution” in meeting the challenges of our changing climate to find-out more about Farmers for Climate Action – and to get behind the group in their endeavour “to do more good” for farmers, their families, their communities, and all Australians.

As Verity said: “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 decisions may be made for us, without us.”

I’d encourage all of our NACC Notes readers to check-out the profiles of some of the farmers on the Farmers for Climate Action website, and consider adding your voice to the collective effort, at the Farmers for Climate Action.

I have.

Richard McLellan,

CEO, NACC

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