Learn to take advantage of climate change

Shannon Beattie
By Shannon Beattie
January 16 2022 - 10:00pm
The eight-part lunch and learn online series will look at what it takes to make Australian rural communities drought and climate change resilient and ready to take on the future.

AN upcoming webinar series, hosted by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF), is set to look at whether rural communities and agriculture will survive future droughts and if, in fact, they could grow and profit from them.

The eight-part lunch and learn online series will look at what it takes to make Australian rural communities drought and climate change resilient and ready to take on the future.

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It will feature panels of producers, industry professionals and scientists and give farmers the opportunity to learn from real-life case studies across the country, as well as get practical solutions and find ideas to thrive, not just survive, in times of drought.

The first webinar, to be held on February 3 at 9am (WST) will look at the affects of a changing climate and predictions of how agriculture can take advantage of them.

An ARLF spokesperson said climate change and variability had become more than talking points.

"More consumers are demanding sustainable products, new markets have long been established and farms that are not adapting are at risk of missing out," the spokesperson said.

"How can farms take advantage of a changing climate and the climate change framework?

"What opportunities exist for farmers, consumers and the environment where climate change is more than a conversation?"

Answers to those questions will be explored in the first webinar with a diverse panel which will include:

p Derek Blomfield, a young farmer who has built his business around provenance, land regeneration and consumer health.

p James Kerr, who combines decades of experience with in-depth corporate knowledge to bring corporate properties back from decline to environmental and business sustainability.

p Rowan Foley, the founding chief executive officer of the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation, who is an experienced advocate for meeting diverse consumer demands through market innovation that benefits the environment.

The spokesperson said Mr Blomfield was passionate about providing families with the most nutritious, chemical-free beef possible.

"With his wife Kirrily, and their two sons, the family own and operate a sustainable beef business, The Conscious Farmer," the spokesperson said.

"The Blomfields' conscious farming method is based on holistic grazing management and regenerative agriculture.

"Taking care of the fertile Liverpool Plains soils the family calls home is just as important as taking care of their animals and consumers."

To Mr Kerr, a clear vision and strategy are crucial to ensure Australian farms can capitalise on new market opportunities and adapt to changing climates.

As manager at Buckleboo Station, one of South Australia's largest carbon farming projects, Mr Kerr is focussed on reversing the decline of grasslands, building drought resilience and sustainability.

"Drawing on extensive experience operating sheep and cattle properties across the country between 1980 and 2000, Mr Kerr recently returned to his farming roots after 12 years in the corporate world," the spokesperson said.

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"James shares his experience to help others plan ahead and build sustainable farm businesses in low rainfall environments."

For Mr Foley carbon neutral or positive commodities are like free-range eggs compared to caged eggs - they meet increasing demand from diverse consumer groups.

They also provide access to new markets while supporting sustainability on the farm.

"Mr Kerr comes from the Wondunna clan of the Badtjala people, traditional owners of Queensland's K'gari and Hervey Bay," the spokesperson said.

"He was the Kimberley Land Council's first land management officer, he negotiated the first indigenous protected area in Western Australia and he represented indigenous carbon farming at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Germany and the Paris Climate Agreement (summit) in 2015."

Other topics scheduled to be explored during the webinar series include:

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  • Trial and error - what happens when we change our ways and fail (February 24).
  • Health and wellbeing - how we can support each other in rural communities (March 17).
  • Innovation and adaptation - how agtech solves problems on the ground (April 21).
  • More information: Go to rural-leaders.org.au/programs/drought-resilience-leaders- program/webinar-series-future- drought/

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