Two sugar cane farmers have been chosen to represent their industry in a national program to help other farmers manage Australia’s increasingly variable climate.
Mr Quirk and Mr Waring, who are sponsored by SRDC, are among 34 farmers from around Australia that have been selected for the program and were recognised for their interest in climate and weather and improving productivity on their farms. The farmers come from a wide background and represent most of Australia’s agricultural commodities including grains, livestock, wool, sugar, dairy, horticulture, grapes and wine, farm forestry and honey.
“We hope that by being part of the Climate Champion program we will help raise awareness and discussion within farming communities about new innovations for managing variable climatic conditions such as extreme heat and low rainfall,” Mr Quirk says.
“Ian McClelland, from the Birchip cropping group, will chair the group and Brisbane-based science communication firm Econnect will be the project coordinators, while Col Creighton who a lot of you would know is also helping keep us on the right track.”
Participants of the Climate Champion program met for the first time on 29 March 2010 for a two-day workshop in Canberra.
“We developed a plan that will direct our way forward and it was decided that we will be known as members of the Climate Champion program,” Mr Quirk said.
“All members have offered to host research that may help to reduce the effects of climate change.”
Mr Quirk will be doing a report on the Climate Champion program in this and other media on a regular basis.
Participants of the Climate Champion Program will have direct access to the latest climate research findings, the opportunity to run trials on their own farms, contribute to the development of new climate management tools and technologies and pass on their experiences with the changes they’ve made to their own farming systems.
The Climate Champion Program is aimed at getting research information out to farmers on new technologies and practices for dealing with climate variability and climate change. They will share the latest research findings with other farmers through various networks such as field days and farmer group meetings. Participants of the Climate Champion Program will also feed information back to researchers about what farmers need to better understand and manage climate on their properties.
Chair of the Managing Climate Variability program, Ian McClelland, says the strategy reflects that most farmers gain new knowledge and adopt new practices through interaction with their peers.
“Farmer’s value the knowledge and experience of other farmers more than from anyone else, including advice provided by agricultural consultants and researchers,” Mr McClelland says.