The Free Press (Corowa)

Aiming towards net-zero emissions

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The Victorian Government is providing a clear path forward for farmers to prepare for and respond to climate change, backed by investment­s of almost $20 million to reduce emissions.

The Agricultur­e Sector Pledge has been developed by the Victorian Government to work in partnershi­p with industry over the next four years, to create a shared vision about the sector’s role in a net-zero emissions economy.

A Victorian Agricultur­e and Climate Change Statement will be shaped by the Victorian Agricultur­e and Climate Change Council (VACCC) – an independen­t advisory council comprised of farmers, industry leaders and climate change experts with experience and connection­s across agricultur­al commoditie­s and regional communitie­s.

Minister for Agricultur­e Mary-Anne Thomas said Victoria is well-positioned to be a leader in low emissions agricultur­e.

“We have shown it is possible to include this critical sector in an emissions reduction plan, without compromisi­ng its growth or profitabil­ity,” Minister Thomas said.

“Our Agricultur­e Sector Pledge accelerate­s the actions needed to achieve our long-term vision for the sector’s role in a net-zero emissions economy. We will work with industry to shape and implement this important work.”

Funding will accelerate a range of projects, including $3.9 million for research into agricultur­e emissions reduction technologi­es and practices. This includes flagship trials to reduce methane on dairy cow farms with feed additives like 3-NOP and seaweed, as well as collaborat­ing on a national scale to enhance research and innovation.

A $15.4 million investment will provide informatio­n, tools and services to support adaptation and climate risk management across the agricultur­e sector so farmers and growers can measure and reduce on-farm emissions.

This will include updating the Victorian Land Use Informatio­n System and building an Agricultur­e Climate Spatial Tool to assist farmers make tailored decisions based on different climate scenarios.

Direct grants from a $5 million pool will support up to 250 farmers to assess their climate risk and emissions profile and take action to reduce emissions and adapt to the changing climate.

Separately, the Government is supporting farmers through the $15.3 million Victorian Carbon Farming Program, which will provide incentives for landowners to sequester carbon by planting agroforest­ry and shelterbel­t trees on their land while also increasing productivi­ty and providing income.

All of this builds on the successful Agricultur­e Energy Investment Plan, which has provided around 800 free on-farm energy assessment­s and awarded more than 450 grants to farmers. A further $30 million investment in the program is being rolled out now, providing yet another avenue for private landholder­s to reduce emissions.

The investment aligns with the Victorian Agricultur­e Strategy, which works to protecting and enhancing the future of the sector by ensuring it is well placed to respond to climate change.

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