Demonstrating practical ways in which farmers can adapt to climate change is the aim of a new national initiative including demonstration sites in Western Australia.
The National Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative (NAMI) involves a $4.9 million partnership between the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
The NAMI is a joint initiative with research partners across Australia, including the Department of Agriculture and Food Western Australia (DAFWA).
Demonstration sites in WA include sites co-ordinated by DAFWA at the University of Western Australia Future Farm site at Pingelly, and the DAFWA Dryland Research Institute at Merredin.
There are also sites at Mullewa and Badgingarra co-ordinated by the North East Farming Futures Group and the West Midlands Group, with support from BCG, formerly the Birchip Cropping Group.
GRDC managing director, Peter Reading, said the NAMI aimed to build on and demonstrate research outcomes from DAFF’s Australia’s Farming Future (AFF) Climate Change Research Program (CCRP).
“The NAMI will play an important role in equipping primary producers with tools to adapt and adjust to the impact of climate change and to manage their emissions through grower-driven demonstration sites,” he said.
“Adaptation to climate change and the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions has been identified as a key driver for change in the grains industry to 2012 and beyond.
“In particular, Australia’s grains industry is projected to be significantly affected by climate change and climate change-related policy decisions.
“The potential introduction of emissions trading to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will require the application of new knowledge to ensure a reduction of emissions, while also ensuring ongoing increases in farm efficiency and productivity.”
Mr Reading said the NAMI would bring together farmer groups and research providers to apply research outcomes in climate change adaptation and mitigation.
“The initiative will have strong links with existing DAFF and GRDC climate change research into nitrous oxide emissions reduction, soil carbon and climate change adaptation, and mitigation projects,” he said.
“This will facilitate more effective extension and demonstration of research outcomes to farmers.
“Close collaboration between stakeholders and well-integrated programs are critical to the success of the NAMI.”
The NAMI will: Directly involve farmers and advisers in designing on-ground demonstrations of locally-relevant adaptations to climate change to maintain or enhance farm viability; Assist rapid dissemination of information about adapting to and mitigating climate change; Assess the greenhouse gas emission implications of different farming practices; Demonstrate practices which could reduce net greenhouse gas emissions from nitrous oxide and methane, and increase soil carbon sequestration; Increase awareness and knowledge in the grains industry of the viability of greenhouse gas mitigation strategies, and demonstrate how to put them into practice.
Mr Reading said these objectives were consistent with GRDC’s strategic aims relating to climate change under its ‘Environmental Plan for the Australian Grains Industry’.
“This plan is developing innovative solutions to climate change which are profitable, productive and sustainable,” he said.
“The NAMI projects will also contribute directly to implementation of the DAFF ‘National Agriculture and Climate Change Action Plan’."