Climate Risk in Agriculture Conference

Grow Lightly had a presence at this Conference put on by West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA), which aimed to explore climate change and what it means for farmers. There was an outstanding lineup of speakers, and lots of like minded people present.

Aboriginal elder Lloyd Hood welcomed us to Gunaikurnai country. and explained how we all need to care for each other and the land. Later on Mark Howden referred to the fact that traditional owners of the land have gone through climate change in the last ice age. Something I had never thought of before.

Portrait of Elder Lloyd Hood by Angela Lynkushka. I acknowledge the State Library of Victoria as the source of the work. Uncle Lloyd welcomed us to country.

The keynote speaker Mark Howden Director of the Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University and Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was inspirational, not afraid to look facts in the face (climate change is already dragging agriculture’s productivity back by around 20%), but also asking how we can make an opportunity out of climate change and demonstrating that farmers themselves have lots of the solutions at their fingertips. He showed that our values affect our ways of adapting to climate risk. His main message was one of hope that the agricultural sector can do a lot more than it is to mitigate climate change.

Hallora farmer, Niels Olsen, spoke on a panel of farmers about increasing productivity and #carbonfarming. Niels Olsen is the inventor of Soilkee Renovator which increases soil carbon – and his farm business is the first to be paid for soil carbon through a government regulated system. “The livestock we’re looking after is the livestock under the soil.” Also on the panel were Jen Ribolli who spoke about having a positive impact on the planet through regenerative farming and Clydebank farmer Sandra Jefford who spoke about the work she and her husband are doing to generate their own energy and grow nutritious feed for their cattle.

There was so much more. The conference was live tweeted which you can see at this link (you need a twitter account to see this). It was so interesting to see many of the ideas that Grow Lightly is about, for example on the importance of providing nutritious food sustainably, were confirmed. Videos of the presentations will be available soon. Watch this space!