OUR FUTURE | It's time to re-think traditional farming practices

To create a prosperous future for family farming we need to start embracing change.

In 1906, George Santayana said: “If we don’t learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.”

Farming in Australia is often painted as a romantic and prosperous life. Farming is a wonderful lifestyle, but it’s often a marginal business. Traditional family farming - the lifeblood of Australian regional communities - is a broken business model. As farmers, we have not been learning from the mistakes we make. It’s time we listened to George.

The renewable energy roll out in regional Australia is presenting a historic opportunity. The passive income stream generated by hosting wind turbines and solar panels can allow family farmers and the communities where they live to achieve a new level of financial and environmental sustainability. Farmers in Australia are used to battling the vagaries of the weather. This new level of resilience is not weather dependent.

This new source of income and a move to more regenerative farming practices can change the history of family farming in Australia. It can alter the course of history.

If we work together to ensure the “royalties” from the renewables boom are shared equitably with everyone who lives in “the bush”, a new era of prosperity and social cohesion awaits us.

The benefits of this boom should be shared with all who live in the immediate vicinity of any wind or solar farm. This “benefit sharing” is promoted by the Australian Wind Alliance and it’s something I have been a passionate supporter of for decades.

Let’s all embrace the opportunities that come from this change. We’ll also be doing our bit to save the planet from climate change along the way, ensuring all Australians have a sustainable future.

Charlie Prell is a farmer from Crookwell, organiser for the Australian Wind Alliance and Deputy Chair of Farmers For Climate Action.