New Climate Action group formed to help farmers protect against seasonal changes

READY TO ACT: Molong farmer Robert Lee has joined the Farmers for Climate Action group to help protect his farm from climate change. Photo: Supplied
READY TO ACT: Molong farmer Robert Lee has joined the Farmers for Climate Action group to help protect his farm from climate change. Photo: Supplied

Molong farmer Robert Lee says farmers need to make changes to cut pollution and protect their livelihoods from climate change.

Mr Lee, who has a 1600 hectare beef and cattle property, attended the first meeting of the national Farmers for Climate Action group last weekend.

He said it was vital farmers acted now as they would be among the first to feel the affects of change to drier, more unpredictable seasons.

“We are probably the people who are going to suffer the most,” he said.

Mr Lee said he was already noticing changes with drier seasons.

He said that in 2015 many Molong region farmers entered summer without water in their dams after a particularly dry winter.

“We have seen a dramatic increase in the evaporation rate making ground water very unreliable for stock over the past four springs and summers,” he said.

“I have spent a lot of money upgrading my stock water systems.

“I have also tried to sow vigorous deep rooted perennial pastures, fertilise them well and give them sufficient rest so that we can get through the extended hot dry spells that we are seeing and will no doubt see more of in the future.”

Mr Lee said farmers were often portrayed as being non-believers in climate change but he said many were concerned about the situation and wanted to protect against the changes.

He said he had also established solar panels on his property and together with about 100 other district farmers was producing 750 kilowatts of power.

Mr Lee said he and a beef cattle producer at Canowindra were the first farmers in the region to join the advocacy group.

The group’s chief executive officer Verity Morgan-Schmidt said the farmers had committed to cut pollution from their farms.

“The very seasons and conditions that farmers rely on to produce our food and our fibre are becoming less predictable,” she said.

“That spells trouble not only for agriculture but for anyone who needs to put food on the table.

“Our members aern’t going to wait around and watch things worsen.

“They are determined to make changes on their properties and make their own operations more sustainable, and profitable, in the long term,” she said.

Mrs Morgan-Schmidt urged other farmers to get involved with the group.