Farmers demand action as extremes intensify

Farmers have called for urgent action to address climate change in the wake of a new report detailing the extent to which climate change has fuelled extreme weather events in 2018.

The report Weather Gone Wild released by Climate Council last week shows that Australian insurance companies paid out over $1 billion in claims following extreme weather events in 2018, the fourth hottest year on record.

Wentworth farmer Angus Whyte said: “The fall out from extreme weather events on farmers is enormous, with much of it impossible to capture in dollar amounts. Just like in Cloncurry in Queensland right now where floods have followed a long dry spell.

“At a property level, essential climate-smart agricultural practices, such as maintaining such as ensuring they have high levels of biodiversity and adequate levels of ground cover to help prevent erosion and dust storms, will help. ”

“Farmers are adaptable but there’s only so much we can do. We need urgent leadership from our federal politicians now to stop the devastation from climate change on rural communities.”

Katunga dairy farmer Daryl Hoey said: “Last year we received less than half our average annual rainfall and water prices rose to the second highest level on record due to low supplies and then low water allocations.

“As our climate changes, dairy farming in Northern Victoria is becoming increasingly difficult. This is having a flow on effect to our local communities, as families battle with increased debt or decide to leave the industry and area.

“The longer government go without taking decisive action to turn our current trajectory around, the harder those policy decisions will be and the more difficult it will be for farmers to manage extreme climate conditions.”

Farmers for Climate Action CEO Verity Morgan-Schmidt said: “2018 was a tough year for Australian agriculture, and followed a number of difficult years for many farmers. Unfortunately 2019 is not looking any better at this stage for many areas.

“Farmers are adaptable but there’s only so much we can do. We’re calling on all rural and regional MPs to stand up for their communities, the social fabric of which is being torn apart as a result of our changing climate.

“This election year it is critical all sides of politics understand that standing up for rural Australians means standing up for urgent action on climate change.”

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