Most farmers have been adjusting to a changing climate for years and Farmers For Climate Action hope national attention will bring a united approach to tackling “pretty in-your-face climate change”.
ABC’s 4Corners’ March 5 episode Weather Alert highlighted climate change, showcasing agriculture as one of Australia’s most climate exposed industries.
“I think what was probably missing the other night was the fact there are lots of people working on solutions,” said FCA chair Lucinda Corrigan.
Mrs Corrigan has spent most of her life in the Riverina and has seen farming practices change over the years from her childhood in the Coleambally district to her family’s Rennylea Stud operation between Holbrook and Albury.
“Data from the Australian Farm Institute shows that we’re already farming in the most variable climate in the world,” she said. “It’s incredible how Australian farmers have adapted to that but the question is ‘how much more adaptation do we have left in us?’
“We have to do a lot of investment and in the meantime we need to do lots of mitigation and try to actually reduce that outcome and that will only happen through good policy, and consistent policy, and policy that lasts much, much longer than one, or two, or three election cycles.”
FCA was formed in 2015 by farmers frustrated with the inadequate progress on climate action in Australia.
Chief executive Verity Morgan-Schmidt said climate change was hurting Australian farms and politicians needed face reality.
“Farmers across Australia know that climate change is already hitting them hard – this isn’t just a problem for future generations, it’s hurting us here and now,” she said.
“Momentum for climate action is growing rapidly across rural Australia and we’re calling on farmers to speak up and our politicians to keep up.”
Mrs Corrigan said changes in the wine industry was clear evidence of climate issues and urged a bipartisan approach to address it.
“I think there's plenty of evidence and people who are at the coalface, and farmers are obviously at the coalface, are seeing that,” she said.
“People are changing their practices, there’s no doubt about that.
“Do I think that there’ll be a bipartisan approach to climate action? I’d love to think there would be.
“I actually think the adversarial approach hasn’t got us anywhere so lets forget that and do something different … there’s enough awareness in Australia to have a much more consistent message to politicians.
“I’d love to see all political parties embrace that as the right way to go forward instead of fighting just to score political points.”