Climate survey a chance for farmers to be heard

Farmers are known for telling a ripping yarn. They can conjure images of a bubbling creek, wheat crops rippling in the wind and apricot pink sunsets. They get their listener’s heart racing with tales of chasing micky bulls.

It’s a farmer’s affinity to their surrounds that enables them to do this. When they talk about the land, their strong connection to it is tangible. When they speak about livestock you feel the genuine concern. Farmers have powerful voices and incredible stories.

It can be more difficult to tell the hard stories – of mental health, farm debt or drought years – but our response to such challenges determine the course of our lives, and others.

Current trends indicate this year will be the hottest ever measured. The previous record was set in 2015, the one before in 2014. Of industrialised countries, Australia is the world’s most vulnerable to climate change impacts such as worsening droughts, floods, heatwaves and spread of pests. And agriculture is our most exposed industry.

Farmers are demonstrating leadership in adapting, and reducing their farming emissions. Yet the public, and even our own industry and political representatives, often assume we aren’t concerned. It’s time to set the record straight.

As farmers, we must share all our stories, even on tough topics like climate change, because if we don’t you can bet someone else will speak for us. The Australian Farmer Climate Survey is reaching out to farmers to collect their stories and views on the impacts of climate change. This survey will provide critical data on the agricultural sector to ensure our interests are looked after.

Let’s ensure the story we pass on to our children and grandchildren is one we’re all proud of.

Anika Molesworth is Australian Young Farmer of the Year. To take part in the survey, visit www.surveymonkey.com/r/farmers_survey

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