Time to stop blaming farmers for Climate Change

I don’t like the blame game because nobody wins

And the big losers from the climate change finger pointing has been our farmers.

Farmers in the main have reacted by just not talking about it like its our dirty little secret – we cant even say the words “Climate Change” instead we only talk ‘Climate Variability’ 

Well its not a dirty little secret, food production has an environmental footprint but so does my penchant for the five star lifestyle and Australia’s desire to all live on the 1/4 a re block and everything else we do

I could live without a five star lifestyle and a house on a 1/4 acre block but I cant live without food.

So its time to stop blaming farmers and livestock for climate change and start celebrating the huge leaps and bounds they have taken to reduce their  carbon footprint 

Here’s a great start we are working with the scientists.

We are working with our industry bodies

We are working with each other and we are even working with NGO’s like WFF

The people we are not working with effectively is government and the community and this is what we have to do better

Lets take a look at how farmers and scientists are working together.

A great example is the exciting work being done by the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre 

Take a look at this trial on Cow Poo Effluent which is pretty interesting to me as the Clover Hill farm is high rainfall area with effluent control taking up far to much time everyday. See lots of other great examples below

Climate Change adaptation and mitigation strategies are the same for everyone ( farmers and the community alike) and they make sense because efficiency gains and productivity gains are not just good for the planet they are good for the hip pocket

As I said earlier the people we don’t partner with well are government and the community. The community is easy.  I have found that the community in the main loves farmers we just need to learn to share our story better

The government on the other hand needs a whole new culture change. When we ( farmers) talk to government we are very good at telling them what isn’t good for farmers and what we don’t want

What we struggle with is bringing the solutions to the table and telling our politicians what we do want

Excitingly on the weekend Richard McLellan who is the chief executive of the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council had this brilliant article printed in the Huffington Post A Sustainable Food Future Requires A Radical Rethink

Here is an awesome list of what is good for farmers, animals and the planet.

What a great inspiration for our leaders to take to Canberra don’t you think

This must start with ambitious policy and economic incentives.

Let’s provide the policy arena to drive a “clean and green” future.

Let’s seriously invest in innovation, and in integrated research and development, policy and practice that aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the agricultural sector. Let’s radically rethink our energy system — not only in terms of production but also in delivery and consumption.

Let’s start paying farmers for investing in and protecting biodiversity, for foregoing land clearing, for providing ecosystem services, for sequestering carbon, for changing land uses and food production systems to what will be truly sustainable.

Let’s stop simply reacting to drought, and instead incentivise real, long-term, climate-smart systems that can cope with our challenging environments and climates.

Let’s provide sufficient government-supported funds and schemes — such as a climate-smart, “future fund”, paid for by a carbon tax or the diversion of current fossil fuel subsidies to help facilitate this outcome.

Let’s invest in producers, supply chains and markets that are prepared to demand and trade in truly sustainable agricultural produce.

Ultimately, let’s provide the policies and economic drivers that will ensure the Australian countryside is still filled with profitable, productive and sustainable farmers in a century’s time.

We need farmers in the bush. They are potentially our “best-bet” resident bush conservation rangers and land stewards, and best-placed to manage our country’s natural assets while providing essential ecosystem services that benefit everyone.

And I say lets stop blaming the farmers and partner with them for a brighter future because we just cant live without food

You can check out more of the great work been achieved through scientist and farmers working together at the  Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre at the links below


Image source 


Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

One thought on “Time to stop blaming farmers for Climate Change”

  1. I think we need to start looking at CO2 like we now do with water. Once we looked at water from rain that produced food and was good for the environment the same as water taken from a river that may have damaged the wetland environment. We now understand the differences in water usage. I think the CO2 produced by driving a big car or leaving the lights on or not using renewables is different from the CO2 produced by a cow turning grass that people can eat into meat & milk and other products. While everyone should strive to reduce CO2 (including farmers) we also need to have a more complex conversation.

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