OPINION

Building resilience into farms is essential if Australia is to prosper

Picture: Shutterstock
Picture: Shutterstock

You'll be forgiven for performing a sneaky eye roll the next time you pick up a paper and read about resilience.

We hear about it every time there's a drought, a flood, a bushfire. We have a National Centre for Resilience (COVID) and Resilience Innovation and Adaptation Hubs (Drought).

We'll soon once again launch our National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy. But the reality is most of us (farmers included) do not have the luxury of disregarding resilience as a buzz word.

Whether we like it or not, change is on its way. Australian agriculture is going to be buffeted by extreme weather events. That's a reality. Global demand for coal is plunging. That's a reality.

Our trading partners are going to be demanding we commit to, and meet, more ambitious climate targets. That's also a reality. Getting on the front foot and seizing the opportunities that change brings? That's up to us.

Building resilience into our farm businesses, our sector, our communities and our democratic and economic models is essential, if we want to prosper into the future.

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Some good news. We as a nation are incredible at banding together and stepping up when faced with big challenges. We're brilliant at innovating and adapting, and we have some real opportunities knocking on our door right now.

And more good news, recent polling shows Australians, including rural Queenslanders, want to see strong climate policy developed, and renewable energy investment accelerated.

Earlier this year Farmers for Climate Action engaged Ernst & Young to draft a report on the opportunities of a low emissions future for Australian agriculture. The findings of the report are surprisingly straightforward.

Much of what needs to be happening - planting trees and ground cover on non-productive land and within productive systems, adopting best-practice grazing management - is already underway. We just need to scale it up.

The research and development we need? It's coming, it just needs more investment. All of these things will contribute to more profitable (and, dare I say it, resilient) farming systems.

The challenges ahead are real, but so too are the opportunities.

At local, state and national levels we can and must make strategic decisions to bolster our resilience for the bumps and twists in the road ahead. Together, let's keep stepping up.

This story Resilience essential if farming is to prosper first appeared on The Canberra Times.