Sustainable Initiatives That Affect Agriculture Businesses in Australia

June 10, 2024

Agriculture is a cornerstone of Australia’s economy and food security. The industry, however, is vulnerable to climate change, soil degradation, and water scarcity. Weather, pest outbreaks, and market fluctuations also threaten farmers’ financial security. That’s why it’s recommended that farmers get agriculture insurance for financial protection and stability amid environmental uncertainties.

Whether you’re a small-scale farmer or part of a large agricultural operation, considering agriculture insurance is a wise decision, and East West Insurance Brokers is here to help. Our team of expert Insurance Advisers can help you navigate the insurance market and shop around for a good coverage plan. Contact us today to stay protected.

Government agencies and nonprofit organisations alike have implemented initiatives to enhance agricultural productivity while preserving natural resources. Let’s explore a few of these programs and initiatives driving sustainable agriculture in Australia.

Net Zero Plan

Australia’s Net Zero Plan is a bold and ambitious initiative to reduce carbon emissions by 43% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The plan seeks to achieve these goals through the support of independent and nonprofit organisations, to create a more sustainable and environmentally friendly future for Australia.

But how does this affect the agricultural sector?

Well, the agriculture industry plays a significant role in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), mainly through livestock production, fertiliser use, and land use changes. They account for 15% of the total emissions in 2019. Meeting net zero targets will require substantial changes in farming practices, potentially impacting productivity, profitability, and livelihoods. Here are the common practices that are being adopted today:

  • Acceleration of the transition to renewable energy
  • Planting cover crops to improve soil quality and prevent erosion
  • Improving fuel efficiency of fishing vessels
  • Investing in new technology to increase efficiency and reduce waste or raw material consumption

For their part, the Australian Government is developing plans to provide farmers with the necessary education and support to reduce GHG emissions.

Research climate-Smart agriculture programs.

Climate-Smart Agriculture Program

The Australian Government established the $300 million Climate-Smart Agriculture Program through the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT). Below is a sample of programs they offer grants to farmers:

Partnerships and Innovation Grants

The program offers grants ranging from $250,000 to $5,000,000 for medium to large-scale projects that promote climate-smart agriculture practices. The application for the first round began on 22 February 2024, and the second round is still being discussed.

Small Grants

Another grant is offered for projects focused on increasing on-farm productivity and sustainable agriculture for community groups. The start date for application is to be announced later this year.

Soil Capacity Building

The Australian Government has invested $21 million in a program that monitors soil quality nationwide. This program aims to gather and assess data about soil trends. Additionally, $6 million has been invested in improving the sharing and use of soil data through the Australian National Information System.

NFF 2030 Roadmap

The National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) spearheaded the development of the NFF 2030 Roadmap, which was developed through a collaborative process that involved more than 300 representatives in the agricultural sector. Created as a strategic blueprint, the 2030 Roadmap identifies key opportunities and challenges in the agricultural sector. Essentially, it’s developed as a guide for growth and sustainability.

The NFF releases annual reports to track progress, maintain accountability, and push continuous innovation for everyone involved. You can access the 2030 Roadmap and its annual reports here.

Australian Agricultural Sustainability Framework

Another initiative by the NFF, with the support of the Australian Government, is the Australian Agricultural Sustainability Framework (AASF). It aims to promote responsible environmental stewardship by upholding ethical practices in compliance with the law, reducing GHG emissions, and preserving the environment. The framework also encourages the development of communities by nurturing the well-being of people and animals.

The AASF started in 2020 and is still in ongoing development. However, you can visit their site to learn more about the initiative.

FutureFeed aims to reduce GHG emissions.

FutureFeed

Farming, particularly livestock, is a major methane emitter and GHG contributor in Australia. As a solution, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) established the FutureFeed program.

It aims to reduce GHG emissions, boost animal health, and improve farm efficiency with the development of a sustainable feed supplement for livestock using Asparagopsis seaweed.

FutureFeed currently provides licenses for growers and processors rather than selling seaweed directly.  If you want to buy the product for your livestock, you can buy from their licensed seaweed growers.

The Future of Sustainable Agriculture

Challenges and triumphs, emphasising innovation, adaptation, and collective action, mark Australia’s journey toward achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The goal, however, extends beyond meeting the deadline. It sets the stage for a sustainable future that preserves Australia’s diverse environment while pushing for innovation and collaboration across all industries. Australia is also contributing to the global fight against climate change for a greener future by adopting transformative technologies and forming eco-partnerships.

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