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13 December 2023

Farmers have their say: Net zero sector plans

Most Aussie farmers say climate change is the single greatest threat to their business, according to Farmers for Climate Action’s online survey on the Net Zero Sector Plan for Agriculture and Land.

Farmers for Climate Action created the survey to make sure farmers, many of whom are very busy at this time of year with harvest, could easily have their say as part of the Federal Government’s Sector Plan consultations. The survey was shared with 60 agriculture groups across Australia including via the National Farmers Federation’s social media, and hand-delivered to Agriculture Minister Murray Watt in Parliament House on Monday (December 11).

Key results from the survey, filled out by 708 farmers and people working across the agriculture industry, included:

  • 89% of farmers have experienced “very unusual” or “somewhat unusual” climate change related events including rainfall events, unpredictable growing seasons and storms in the past three years
  • 71% of farmers have already invested their own money into emissions reduction, including solar panels and batteries, electrifying farm equipment, tree planting and such;
  • 64% are planning to invest in future or additional emissions reduction measures
  • When asked what they thought was the single greatest threat to the future of farming in Australia: 55% said climate change, 15% said bureaucracy and red tape, 9% said water security, 8% said increasing costs of insurance, fertiliser and other farm expenses, 1% said transmission lines on farmland, and 1% big renewable energy projects.

Farmers for Climate Action Chair Brett Hall said the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures revealed the cross-section of farmers filling out the survey had very closely reflected a proportionate slice of Australia’s farming community by state and commodity

“Farm sizes ranged from one hectare to 430,000 ha, with the number of farm employees ranging from 0 to 420,” Mr Hall said.

“Farmers are telling us climate change is here and hurting them right now, and they’ve shown agriculture is leading the way on reducing pollution.

“Farmers told us they have three clear barriers to reducing their emissions on farm: a lack of clear government policies or incentives, the high upfront cost and limited access to finance to invest in new technology, and challenges in measuring and validating emissions changes on farm. A Net Zero Sector Plan for Agriculture and Land needs to act on these challenges.”

Asked to consider the best ways to reduce emissions and build carbon stores on farms:

  • 65% said promoting biodiversity with mixed-species pastures and agroforestry systems
  • 60% said rehabilitating degraded land and reforesting areas not suited for agriculture
  • 57% said implementing rotational grazing to enhance pasture health and carbon uptake
  • 53% switching to renewable energy sources, like solar and wind, for farming operations.

Farmers for Climate Action represents more than 8000 farmers across all farming systems right across Australia.


Key facts:

  • Farmers have had their say on a net zero sector plan for the industry through the Farmers for Climate Action Survey
  • Farmers for Climate Action created the survey to allow farmers an easy way to have their say at a busy time of year
  • Most farmers say climate change is the biggest threat to their businesses

Media contacts:

Les White 0409 805 122 / [email protected]

Jacqui Street 0498 188 528 /,au

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