A STATE government report has shown agriculture to be one of the biggest climate emissions contributors, but the Bass Coast Landcare Network (BCLN) say that the adoption of new practices in the industry will see a change in the future.
In 2017, the agriculture sector contributed 13.5 per cent of the state’s emissions, fourth behind electricity generation (50.9 per cent), transport (20.6 per cent), and direct combustion (16.4 per cent).
The annual report, published last month by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), categorises emissions recorded in the state until 2017.
It identifies enteric fermentation – the emissions produced by livestock digesting food – as by far the biggest portion of the industry’s emissions.
BCLN ecosystems services manager Rob Gray says he expects a better result when the 2019 data is available, but there is still plenty of work to do making our local agriculture system more “climate resilient”.
“The conflict at the moment is in adopting new practices, which is understandably difficult because these are all new concepts for farmers, and this is causing doubt.
“The government’s research is complicated, and hard for many to be able to use without an expert understanding of things,” Rob said.
To help bridge the gap between researchers and the farmers, BCLN have established ‘Growing Southern Gippsland’, a project designed to show local practical applications of regenerative farming, carbon cropping, biosecurity and other climate resilience practices.
“Currently the federal government’s program in this space is not really relevant to our landscape,” says Growing Southern Gippsland manager and Bass Coast Landcare Network sustainable agriculture team leader, Joel Geoghegan.
“There are all these different messages flying around, but a lot of it doesn’t actually encourage genuine change on the farm.”
The Growing Southern Gippsland project has included a series of on-farm field days, with experts explaining and demonstrating new practices, as well as a series of case studies on farms in the area who are introducing new methods.
“At the moment, agriculture doesn’t look great according to these numbers, but the story we are trying to tell is that it could really be a part of a solution,” Rob said.
“Practices like regenerative agriculture are going to benefit farmers, but it is questionable as to whether they are going to benefit ‘big agriculture’, which could present a problem.”