Farmers, foresters push for carbon neutral

Angus Livingston
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Red meat producers and farmers want their industry to be carbon neutral in a decade as they try to “climate proof” Australia.

A coalition of farmers, growers and producers met at Parliament House in Canberra on Wednesday to announce their joint push for an allied front on climate policy.

The Climate Proofing Australia alliance wants to move towards carbon neutral farming and forestry supply chains by 2030.

“We can’t achieve this outcome by working in isolation though. That’s why cross-sector alliance and collaboration … is so important,” Red Meat Advisory Council chief executive Anna Campbell said on Wednesday.

Greening Australia’s Brendan Foran said the alliance wants political parties to recognise the significant roles the farming and forestry sectors can play in tackling climate change.

Farmers and other landholders manage nearly 50 per cent of Australia’s landmass.

“With land-based activities also accounting for around 20 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, it’s no longer viable to ignore a whole-of-landscape approach,” Mr Foran said.

Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said farmers were increasingly recognising how important it was to be good environmental stewards of their land.

“Some of the farming practices that my family undertook, my grandfather undertook, were not something that we were proud of,” Mr Littleproud told the crowd.

“But we proudly put our hand up and we’ve changed, we’ve adapted and we’ve got a better environment.”

Labor’s agriculture spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon said it has taken a long time for Australia to recognise the damage climate change was doing, but the mood had clearly shifted.

The alliance’s call comes a year after Australian cattle farmers backed a plan to make the red meat industry carbon neutral by 2030.

Meat and Livestock Australia managing director Richard Norton last year said the target would help ward off competition from laboratory-produced meat and protein vegetable burgers.

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