Invest in climate mitigation, say farmers

Farmers are asking both major parties to commit to practical solutions - not empty promises - in tackling climate change.

With polling predicting a very tight election result and a high possibility of a hung parliament, attention is now on what deals and concessions the Coalition and Labor might make with minor parties and independents to secure government.

NSW Farmers Dairy Committee member Kate Hand said climate targets and policies were likely to be the subject of many discussions, but warned "a target without a way to get there is just a problem".

"We don't want to see agriculture become the sacrificial lamb in the name of climate action," Mrs Hand said.

"Agricultural businesses contribute an enormous amount of natural mitigation to emissions from industries that don't have trees and grasses as their bread and butter, but farmers need research and technology for the future.

"What we need is a commitment to a dedicated Climate and Emissions Reduction Innovation Fund to help find emissions reduction solutions for farms."

Australian farmers had a global reputation as natural innovators , Mrs Hand said, but with high business pressures and rising costs, she warned productivity could be lost if rash decisions were made by the next government.

"We must maintain productive farms to continue growing the state's food and contributing to the economy," Mrs Hand said.

"Government has a role in investing in technology and in investing capital to develop new ways for farmers to do more with less inputs, and we believe targeted and specific investment in ways to make farming even more efficient and reduce reliance on inputs is a smart way forward to protect food supply while supporting industry innovation.

"Ad hoc funding is always a threat to real development and innovation, but a dedicated fund will encourage smart minds and the big solutions that can build further the agriculture contributions to climate change mitigation."

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