15 August 2022
Event Alert: National Renewables in Agriculture conference Thurs, 18 August, Entertainment Centre, Albury NSW
As energy prices rise, farmers are gathering to share their stories about beating bill shock with renewable energy, including one farm where the irrigation bill is expected to drop from $100 000 per year to $15 000.
The national Renewables in Agriculture event will bring together farmers, agriculture and energy consultants, peak bodies and Government representatives to share stories of exciting new on-farm solar and wind projects.
Victorian Dairy Farmer Sandra Jefford, who’s also a member of Farmers for Climate Action, will be among the speakers discussing topics including large and small-scale renewables, farm vehicles of the future, energy efficiency and community power.
Sandra Jefford will explain how Wilandra Farms in Gippsland has reduced carbon emissions and cut costs by investing in solar panels, and upgrades to other processes in the dairy and irrigated paddocks.
“Our system is so much more than a typical renewable energy installation,” Ms Jefford said.
“The system has a ‘brain’ that works all day long … that is constantly making clever decisions to ensure our farming operational requirements are met in the most cost-effective way.”
Charlie Prell, a sheep farmer from Crookwell NSW and Chair of Farmers for Climate Action, has wind turbines on his land. He said agriculture is an integral part of the Australian community and economy, and it had a lot to gain from embracing the opportunities of renewable energy.
“Farmers who farm well as the climate changes, are those who know the land, acknowledge the realities of climate change and are willing to embrace opportunities such as renewable energy or income from carbon credits.”
“As communities, we need to talk about renewable energy developments and the benefit they can bring, not just to host landholders, but to whole regional communities. If we work as a co-op and ensure developers act properly and fairly within our regions, we will achieve a much greater acceptance of this change within our communities as well,” Charlie Prell said.
“Farmers can diversify their income by being paid an annual payment for hosting renewable energy infrastructure on their property. The more farmers that are included the better the outcome for the region.
“You can put up a wind turbine on an area about half the size of a football field that’s going to produce enough clean electricity to power about 2,000 homes a year while having little or no impact on the agricultural productivity of the farm.
“I’m also a strong advocate for a shared benefit model for large renewable energy projects in regional areas, whereby a fair share of profits are distributed widely and equitably within the local community.
“We should be aiming to get as much money as we can and give it to as many people as we can on the ground across regional Australia. There will be a regeneration of regional Australia and a much brighter future for the next generation of farmers,” he said.
What: National Renewables in Agriculture Conference
When: Thurs 18 August
Where: Albury Entertainment Centre, 525 Swift Street, Albury
Media welcome – best time to attend is 9:50
Images attached were supplied by Sandra Jefford from Wilandra Farms.
Farmers for Climate Action represents 7000 farmers asking for economy wide emissions reduction.
For interviews and to arrange media passes to the conference:
Jacqui Street 0498 188 528 / [email protected]
Passes can also be arranged by contacting conference organiser Karin Stark: [email protected]