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CLIMATE READY FARMING LEADERS

April 2012

The Climate Ready Farming Leaders project’s purpose was to enable regional farm businesses to improve their knowledge and understanding of climate change. This should allow them to adapt their management and strategic planning to cope with predicted climate change impacts. This addresses the NRM Principles of balanced decisions and prevention is better than cure.

INFORMATION SHEET

INTRODUCTION Climate Ready Farming Leaders was a three year project delivered by Cradle Coast NRM in partnership with Serve-Ag and RM Consulting Group utilising extensive training for climate readiness, delivered by an experienced team of consultants. The project worked with two pilot groups of young farmers in the Cradle Coast NRM region (Sassafras and Forth / Ulverstone regions) to develop their capacity to adapt to climate change through targeted training and action oriented learning. Apart from developing the technical skills required for “climate readiness’, a major goal was to enable participants to weigh the economic, social and environmental aspects in the decisionmaking when implementing new practices. The project worked to assist farmers to understand the potential impacts and opportunities of climate change to their farm business, and to evaluate management options that will increase their ability to adapt to these changes. A range of practical activities were used to achieve this, including regular farmer group meetings, training workshops, information sharing, travel and local on-farm trials

and monitoring. The target outcomes were; • To increase farmers’ understanding of the impacts of climate change and relevance to their farming business and industries. • As a result of the increased understanding, each participating farmer has commenced changing business/operational plans and practices to make their business more resilient • Understanding of effects of climate change and variability on current practices.

Farmers will have a strategic plan, which can be incorporated in their farm Project activities: field trips (variable rate planning that foirrigation) (above right), on ground trials cuses on ‘climate (above left) and training workshops (below) change’. The project had funding for activities to run from 1 July 2009 until 30 March 2012.


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CLIMATE READY FARMING LEADERS

BENEFITS The Climate Ready Farming Leaders project had many benefits to the farmer participants including; Networking “The most beneficial thing I think has been being able to talk with other farmers about the issues we all are facing in our industry. Climate change seems to be a big one” “More being involved in the group and bouncing ideas off each other and suppose confirming that what we are doing is not well behind everyone else” Improved knowledge and understanding “Greater understanding of farm business and being made aware of what is out there to take advantage of - funding, technology, ideas, support” The topics covered “The importance of carbon in your soil” “Learning about our markets and meeting them otherwise we are just wasting our time” Field and bus trips

“The most beneficial thing I think has been being able to talk with other farmers about the issues we all are facing in our industry. Climate change seems to be a big one”

“The trips where the group travelled were very interesting.” “The first bus trip to Scottsdale where we visited Steven Creese and the Rhubarb farm... were great and I got heaps out of it ” Access to guest speakers “Listening to the CSIRO people that we had sessions with was probably the main one because you know you are getting information straight from the horse mouth. You also get to appreciate the amount of work that has gone into getting this data.” Shared interest in Climate Change “Seeing the change”

interest

shown

in

climate

Photos: Farmer participants on Renewable energy bus trip to Woolnorth and Circular Head, Feb 2011


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INFORMATION SHEET

LESSONS LEARNT “..The last few years I have really tried to use a lot less energy and reduce my carbon foot print…”

The project resulted in many lessons being leant by the farmers involved and have led to changes to current farm management practices and future plans, including those listed below; “Apply more kelp, hopefully less fertiliser and (use) more green manures because the (trial) outcome results were very interesting with the changes in the levels and soil improvements.”Nathalie Wolfert Kindred “The last few years I have really tried to use a lot less energy and reduce my carbon foot print. What I have found is that if you use less energy you can greatly reduce your input costs and not necessarily have a loss of production but in a lot of cases have an increase in production as well. “Richard Lee, Preston

“Variable rate irrigation is something that will work in some of our farm arTony Badcock & Doris Blaesing discuss soil health eas” Matthew Young, Sassafras

The project team found that many aspects of the project design contributed to its success including; An action learning and participatory approach was successful for working with the farmer groups Group facilitation models increase networking amongst farmers which is a major draw card for involvement In field sessions & bus trips were more widely accepted by farmers than formal presentations. On ground activities were an effective way of engaging farmers in project content Flexibility is important in project format and for timing of project activities, especially for mixed farms. As one farmer commented “The biggest problem is dealing with farmers and not getting them in the one place at one time.”

RESOURCES The Climate Ready Farming Leaders project was delivered by Cradle Coast NRM in partnership with an experienced team of consultants from Serve-Ag and RMCG. Project resources consisted of; A project officer to facilitate farmer group training activities and on ground trials and monitoring A Project management team consisting of representative from each of the partner organisations to develop and review project plans

Specialist consultants to deliver training activities that aligned to the farmer’s priority topics Travel and operating costs associated with the project delivery Farmers contributed $600 each per year to participate which was used to fund on ground activities including trials and soil health monitoring.

Richard Lee from Preston undertaking soil health monitoring on his farm


PROJECT HISTORY The FarmReady Program from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry provided a good opportunity to understand and improve the region’s farmers approach to managing climate change within their business. The project was developed as a partnership between Cradle Coast NRM, Serve-Ag and RMCG, in 2009. Upon approval, promotion was undertaken to obtain participants and begin the project. The contents of this information sheet are based on project experience and have been collated with thanks to Serve-Ag, RMCG, Sophie Folder of Pear Consulting and of most importantly the participating farmers.

Farmers inspecting truffles on a bus trip to look at new opportunities and business models

Project delivered by: This activity was delivered by the Cradle Coast Authority with the support of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry under FarmReady, part of Australia’s Farming Future

Information sheet written by:

PO Box 338 30 Marine Terrace Burnie Tasmania 7320 Phone: 03 6431 6285 Fax: 03 6431 7014 E-mail: nrm@cradlecoast.com www.cradlecoastnrm.com.

Profile for Cradle Coast Tasmania

Climate Change Adaption - Climate ready farming leaders  

The Climate Ready Farming Leaders project’s purpose was to enable regional farm businesses to improve their knowledge and understanding of c...

Climate Change Adaption - Climate ready farming leaders  

The Climate Ready Farming Leaders project’s purpose was to enable regional farm businesses to improve their knowledge and understanding of c...