Threads and silos emerging in Simon Quilty’s Churchill Fellowship GHG research

Eric Barker, 22/02/2023

INDEPENDENT meat and livestock industry analyst Simon Quilty has identified a series of issues he will try and address in a new research project looking into greenhouse gas reduction in overseas agricultural systems.

Simon Quilty

Mr Quilty flew out to the United States at the weekend for the start of a Churchill Fellowship – which will see him attend government meetings, farms and universities across North America and look into how they are working to reduce emissions.

The trip will involve meetings with the US Department of Agriculture, Canadian farmers, governments and agricultural groups, the International Livestock Congress at the Houston Livestock Show and University of California Davis – which is the base of well-known researcher Frank Mitloehner.

Mr Quilty said he was mainly looking to see how North America was incentivising and rewarding farmers who were reducing emissions.

“California is completely unique with its approach to greenhouse gas emissions and they have a very effective way to reward farmers.” He said.

“From an Australian point-of-view all of these schemes will be fascinating to look at.”

As chief executive of Global AgriTrends Pty Ltd, Mr Quilty annually explains global meat and livestock trends to hundreds of Australian farmers, lotfeeders and meat processors to assist their business strategies. He expects his fellowship findings to help educate market participants in understanding and participating in current and future reduction schemes.

Common threads emerging in initial discussions

With his initial inquiries in organising the trip, Mr Quilty said he had noticed four common threads.

  • Leakage – the possibility of one country ignoring all greenhouse gas emission rules and lowering cost of production.
  • Need for common measurement – “when we are comparing methane across countries, are we comparing apples-with-apples. At the moment there isn’t a common metric used.”
  • Panic – some concerns about the pace at which change is happening and the possibility that regulations will keep changing with the political cycle.
  • Doubling up of research – there is no common ledger of all the researching happening in the GHG reduction space.
  • Rewarding farmers – Mr Quilty said some jurisdictions across the world are not adequately awarding farmers for emissions reduction and there is some concern.

Mr Quilty stressed that the common threads were preliminary thoughts and the next two months of research will determine his answer to the questions.

“You look at a country like New Zealand where they have measured carbon levels on 90pc of the properties and you have to take your hat off to them for being so advanced,” he said.

“But that raises a lot of questions about how it can be applied to other countries and how that can become a common thread among other countries. But I can’t answer those questions until I do the research.”

Three silos of research

With the common threads starting to take shape in Mr Quilty’s research, the study will be conducted in three main “silos”.

  • Identifying all the different types of research happening in the field.
  • Looking at government and corporate policy across all the countries – meeting with organisations like McDonalds.
  • The mechanisms being used to reward people, particularly farmers, who are reducing GHG emissions.

“It is about looking at the market mechanisms alongside market access and what happens if countries do not reach a certain target,” he said.

Beef Central will provide an occasional update on Mr Quilty’s findings during his study tour.











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  1. Dr+Sandra+Jephcott, 22/02/2023

    I will be very interested to read Mr Quilty’s report when it is completed. Am guessing I go onto the Churchill web site for it next year?

    We will interview Simon on his return in a few months and publish a summary, Sandi. His formal Churchill project report will take longer to compile, but it eventually will appear on the Fellowship site, along with all the others. Editor

    • Jeanette Commins, 08/03/2023

      It will be most interesting to read Simon,s report. I think that there are huge risks to farmers, agriculture , and the population in the way in which emissions are dealt with.
      The way I see things are there a 3 important points when considering how to manoeuvre the emissions scenario.
      A Do not underestimate the contribution of the Haber Bosh method of nitrogen production for modern agriculture, allowing the production of cheap plentiful food. This method was invented around WW1 and extracts nitrogen from the air using large amounts of energy. There has not been a successful alternative to the Haber Bosh type method to date.
      B) Every business is accessing their carbon footprint, and trying to work out how to push costs away from themselves onto someone else. If farmers absorb the cost of emissions of the modern world there will be allot less food. If people wish to contribute why not set up infrastructure on National parks and State forests. Why can’t every city home go off grid with a sola panel?
      C) We must not allow bureaucratisation of food production. The Holodomor in the Ukraine in 1930s is an example of massive starvation caused by bureaucrats determining production methods and capacity. The population starved and consumed one another. The children lived on rats and when the children died the rats lived on the children. Is that what we want?

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