Climate change challenge
Ten years' ago 80 per cent of the property I farm with my husband at Rosewhite near Myrtleford was destroyed by fire.
Our hay shed went up but thankfully our cattle who were sheltering in the yards right next to it were unscathed (and, rather oddly, unfazed).
Then, a year later, we were hit by floods.
Extreme weather events are becoming par for the course for farmers in Australia.
Sure we've had fires and floods in the past, but never with this regularity.
These twin disasters, one after the other, have not put us off farming.
But they have made us look differently at how we plan for the future.
It's clear that farmers need to think carefully about how, what and where we farm and have long-term strategies.
The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report released earlier this month reinforced this point.
We run around 220 Angus cows on 300 hectares at Rosewhite and another 120 hectares at Greta, near Wangaratta.
How we farm is evolving in response to the changing climate.
We're now more flexible in our management.
We keep a close eye on our feed reserves so we can pull the trigger early to reduce our stock numbers if it looks like we may run low.
Building our soil and pasture resilience is a priority.
We're increasing biodiversity on-farm, building our soil carbon to increase water retention ability and we're introducing reticulated water systems for improved livestock water quality.
And we've made shade and shelter a priority.
Neither of our properties at Rosewhite or Greta had young trees when we bought them 16 and five years ago respectively, so we are investing time and money into planting mixed native shrubbery and trees.
In time, we may actually change our production model although there is likely to be a lifestyle element in our decision-making.
As we make our decisions on-farm, we'll be making use of the growing number of tools available to farmers, in particular the spatial tools developed as part of the Embedding Climate Adaptation in Agriculture project, which I was delighted to be a part of the project control board.
The practical web-based tools, to be launched by the North East Catchment Management Authority at the Savoy Club in Myrtleford on Wednesday, will allow North East producers to explore possible future impacts of climate change on different sectors and landscapes.
Using the tools, farmers will be able to gain a better understanding of how well their farming system is likely to work in 2030 and 2050 - and, from there, investigate opportunities to diversify their operations and minimise their climate risk.
As farmers, we can't do a lot to change the climate, although we can reduce our carbon footprint and encourage the government and other sectors to do their bit too.
But with tools like those produced by NECMA, we can do a lot to manage our climate risk.
Fires and floods will occur. How we respond is in our hands.