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Climate Champion Programme Showcases Producers' Solutions

06 November 2012
Meat & Livestock Australia

AUSTRALIA - Cattle, sheep and goat producers are proactively raising awareness about how risks and opportunities of climate variability can be managed to better the environment and their bottom line, announces Meat and Livestock Australia.

Australia has one of the most variable climates in the world and – over the last decade primary producers have tackled severe droughts through to flooding rains.

Now, 33 farmers across the nation are meeting these challenges head-on as Climate Champion participants, to showcase how they proactively manage climate variability year-round.

The three-year Climate Champion programme is part of the Managing Climate Variability (MCV) research and development (R and D) programme. The MCV Programme has helped Australian farmers manage risk for more than a decade by providing seasonal forecasts and practical tools to incorporate climate information into on-farm decisions.

MCV Programme Science Coordinator Beverley Henry said since the launch of the Climate Champion programme in March 2010, participating producers have accessed the latest research in weather forecasting and climate analysis.

“An important part of the programme is opening up a conversation between producers and researchers, so Climate Champions are given the opportunity to interact with researchers studying climate variability and provide feedback and suggestions to help set priorities for agricultural research.”

Market research conducted for MCV revealed many producers rely on their neighbours for information, so a feature of the Climate Champion programme is ‘farmers educating farmers’.

“The programme does not tell producers what to say. Instead, it is building their capacity by making research, leading scientists and networks available to them,” Beverley said.

“Participants can disseminate this knowledge with their fellow producers at field days, in on-line discussions, through media interviews, and by opening the gate to showcase their own farming systems.

“They also ‘road-test’ research tools and products to ensure MCV’s R and D investment is targeting issues of real interest to producers. This feedback enables MCV to better represent their climate information needs at national and state forums.”

MLA is investing in R and D to position agriculture to manage climate variability, along with fellow MCV partners: the Grains Research and Development Corporation (which manages the MCV), the Rural Industries, and Sugar Research and Development Corporations and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

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