WAFARMERS members and industry stakeholders met to discuss and workshop a climate change policy for the organisation, based on its members' feedback late last month.
It is anticipated the organisation will soon join the throngs of government, private enterprise and industry bodies that have formed climate change policies over the past several years, with the agricultural advocacy group expected to confirm its own position on climate change and carbon emissions at the upcoming WAFarmers General Council meeting next Monday, October 12.
WAFarmers president Rhys Turton said the meeting had enabled the organisation to create an initial framework to base their climate change and carbon emission policies on.
"We understand that climate change is real, that it's affecting farms in Western Australia and it needs a whole-world approach," Mr Turton said.
"Australian agriculture has an equal and equitable obligation, as do all other emitting industries, to contribute to climate change mitigation."
Held at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) Kensington office, the group heard from a range of speakers including CBH Group head of accumulations Trevor Lucas, National Australia Bank natural value associate director James Bentley and GrainGrowers national policy officer Fiona McCredie.
Presentations covered topics including sustainability, how carbon accounting can work on farms and the development of climate change policy in the agricultural sector.
This was followed by a lively discussion on whether WAFarmers will support net zero carbon and by what date.
"We agreed to reduce emissions and our carbon footprint along with all other industries and to support an economy wide aspiration of net zero carbon by a date that is yet to be determined," Mr Turton said.
If the organisation is to follow in the footsteps of the Nationals Farmers' Federation (NFF) and GrainGrowers, it will work towards a Net Zero carbon target by 2050.
However Meat & Livestock Australia, that works in partnership with the Australian red meat industry and government covering beef, lamb and goat production, feeding and meat processing, has set a goal to have no net release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere by 2030.
Other topics discussed were the potential opportunities and new income streams that could arise in the transition to a low carbon emission world and how farmers can be assisted in adapting to climate change.
Mr Turton said the organisation was looking to support a consistent approach to carbon accounting and measurement that was accurate, accepted by all stakeholders and would allow accreditation.
"We want to work with the government to encourage farmers to adopt climate change mitigation projects, technologies, innovation and extension and work towards establishing risk management processes and tools to offset climate change effects," Mr Turton said.
"Our goal is also to establish government-assisted education programs to help farmers understand the basics of climate change, carbon mitigation and also carbon markets."