QUEENSLAND farming representative body AgForce says it is stepping up a campaign to see farmers rewarded financially for their significant efforts on the issue of environmental stewardship and emissions reduction.
In a media release issue on Monday AgForce CEO Michael Guerin said agriculture had already contributed enormously to meeting Australia’s emission targets, that many landscapes were carbon neutral or better, and that the industry deserved better recognition than it had received so far.
“The facts are agriculture is the only industry in Australia to have meaningfully reduced its carbon footprint while strengthening environmental outcomes, yet we still get vilified by the likes of WWF and other anti-farming groups,” Mr Guerin said.
“It’s time to reset the conversation, to acknowledge the incredible work being done by agriculture to care for environment – reducing erosion and runoff, sequestering carbon, conserving soil moisture, increasing bio-diversity, etc – and for others to recognise the positive environmental impacts on what we do.
“Agriculture has to be counted in not cut out of the conversation on climate, but it is essential that any new emission reduction practices do not cause adverse outcomes, like loss of prime agricultural land, or pest and weed encroachment.
“It is vital they don’t result in even more regulation, the likes of which is already crippling many family-run agriculture businesses.
“And it is critical regulation doesn’t continue to unfairly impose on farmers the overwhelming share of the cost of achieving our national and state emission reduction objectives.
“It is time other sectors began to pull their load – enough is enough.”
Mr Guerin said that while AgForce didn’t want to see agriculture “cut out”, the organisation had been pushing for a comprehensive baselining piece for more some time.
“We must start with the baselining. AgForce is and will continue to advocate strongly for this. We need to understand where we are so we can tell our story, be recognised for it, and get to where we want to be,” Mr Guerin said.
“When the National Farmers’ Federation voted in favour of working towards Australia becoming carbon neutral by 2050, AgForce abstained for one reason – we are utterly at our wits end that Australia seems unwilling or unable to prioritise the essential comprehensive baselining that is an essential next step.
“All along we have been asking all research and development corporations to share future, current, and past baselining work to the joint effort and ensure the agriculture industry, through the NFF, is involved in developing and finalising the scope of the work.
“Without all of us working together it will be much more difficult for Australia to meet its targets. That means listening to Australia’s environmental leaders – our farmers – and giving them a seat at the decision-making table.”