A HIGH level of climate, carbon and energy literacy was what the first Western Australian cohort to undertake the Climate Smart Agriculture Fellowship have ended up with.
The free online fellowship took place over six weeks and was delivered by Farmers for Climate Action, in partnership with AgZero2030, with participants taking a deep dive into global scale challenges and opportunities through locally specific adaptation and mitigation opportunities.
It's the first time the fellowship has been offered in WA, with the program wrapping up last month with a two-day workshop in Perth.
AgZero 2030 chairman and Corrigin farmer Simon Wallwork said the workshop gave participants the opportunity to meet in person and dig deeper into some of the issues they had covered over the past six weeks.
"To really understand and make good decisions, we need to be well informed, so the fellowship is about building our carbon and climate literacy," Mr Wallwork said.
"When we talk about climate response and solutions, it's going to take all parts of our supply chain to make changes, so it's important we have a broad cross section of the industry involved.
"While the program itself may have finished, we're hoping it builds momentum and empowers people to do their bit in terms of enabling the industry to get on the front foot in response to climate change."
At the two-day workshop information was presented on topics such as climate services for agriculture, shaping the climate conversation, bridging the rural-urban divide, soil carbon, best practice farming systems and climate and sustainability leadership in action.
Mr Wallwork said a key component was getting more information on what was happening with the climate in south west WA and what the predictions were.
"That's not all entirely positive but we need to know these things so we can respond to them," he said.
"We also got a lot of training around communication of the issue of climate change, which is a science in itself.
"At times it's difficult to get your message through, but if we can communicate ideas better there will be benefits."
Christie Kingston farms alongside her husband Anthony at Goomalling, where they run a mixed cropping and sheep farm.
They pair had a bad season two years ago and were forced to lower their flock numbers, however they have slowly started to build back up.
While a bad year would seem like a likely instigator to get involved in something such as Climate Smart Agriculture Fellowship, Ms Kingston actually started learning about climate change in the 1980s and said it was something she has been worrying about for a long time.
"I want to connect with people who are thinking about a positive future and want to find solutions for future generations, but in order to think about that we need to acknowledge the things that threaten it and how to deal with them," Ms Kingston said.
"We can be accurate about what the nature of the problem is in terms of where the emissions are coming from and band together, not only do our small part but also help build momentum for the greater transition across all sectors.
"It's fantastic to see so many more people realising we can deal with climate change and we don't have to admit defeat."
In total, 49 participants took part in the fellowship - the largest cohort to date nationally, with a 50:50 ratio of farmers and industry representatives, including agronomists, agribusiness professionals and a director of CBH.
"The real benefit which comes out of this is that we're all better educated, so it's an opportunity for us to have more informed conversations within the industry," Mr Wallwork said.
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