Meeting the climate challenge

Meeting the climate challenge
Bryan Clark
Industry Development Manager, Grain Growers Association Limited
z The Grains Industry Climate Initiative will ensure grain growers across Australia are provided with information,
training opportunities and access to decision support systems to help them to make business decisions with the
impacts and implications of climate change taken into account.
While general debate over policy and scientific certainty
ensues, industry bodies continue to consider the risk
management implications of the range of changes facing
the grains industry in the event of adverse climate change.
Farmers generally, and the grains industry specifically, will be
challenged by potentially adverse outcomes if the range of
projected climate change scenarios eventuate. Figure 1 shows
two different scenarios for impacts on wheat yield. Scenario
1 indicates that wheat yields could decline broadly by 0–10%
and more in some areas. Scenario 2 indicates that wheat yields
could in fact increase broadly by up to 10%.
The sheer variability of the two predictions makes it obvious how
difficult it will be for primary producers to plan for the future.
Helping growers with climate change
In the face of much information but little clear indication about
the actual effects of climate change on agricultural production,
the Grain Growers Association recognised the need for primary
producers to have access to partly ‘sifted’ information and be
able to develop skills to be flexible in their farm businesses.
Last year Grain Growers was successful in seeking Federal
Government support for an initiative now known as the Grains
Industry Climate Initiative.
The project is underway and through several strategies or
programs, aims to achieve the goals listed.
2030 Scenario 1
1. Ensure that grains industry participants are informed with
up to date information about the potential impacts of
climate change and the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme
2. Improve the access to information on climate change and
skills development opportunities.
3. Provide a service to industry participants to self assess their
training and information needs and determine the most
appropriate course to address their needs.
4. Ensure that the industry leadership and future potential
leaders are skilled and equipped to lead the industry to
face the challenges that will arise under the range of climate
change scenarios.
5. Reduce the transaction costs for growers seeking to improve
their skills and knowledge through industry supported and
promoted information and self assessment process.
6. Provide an internet based system for growers to determine
likely seasonal implications of climate change on their annual
decision making through information based on historical
performances integrated with future predictions.
7. Provide a web based system that can inform industry
investors in long run assets about the potential impacts of
climate change on future investment decisions such as grain
related infrastructure planning.
2030 Scenario 2
Figure 1. Possible effects of climate change on wheat yields in Australia – based on two different scenarios. Source: ABARE Australian Commodities
Volume 12, Number 1, March Quarter 2005 p 165 – Kokic et al.
IREC Farmers’ Newsletter – Large Area No. 182: Autumn 2010
products & projects
preparing for climate change
8. Ensure that courses are developed to service the specific
needs of the grains industry such as marketing and quality
aspects taking into account climate change scenarios.
To achieve these goals, the Grains Industry Climate Initiative will
comprise four main areas of activity.
Communication with grain growers
A communications strategy and associated information to
assist members and others within the grains industry about the
potential impacts of climate change and the ramifications of
these changes should they eventuate. This would also include
information about the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction
Scheme (CPRS) and how agriculture will be considered once
the scheme is finalised and legislation in place.
Over the course of the project we will be using several
avenues to provide information as it comes to hand. This will
be via information centres and decision support systems to be
developed by GGA and accessed through the GGA website,
as well as general media releases and customised information
Training opportunities
The project will include the development of a web based training
programme portal and associated database of courses available
to grain producers and industry participants so that they can
self assess their requirements for improved knowledge, skills
development or training to increase their capacity to respond
to the challenges that will arise from climate change. The portal
will make it easy to identify the course best matched to their
needs. Such courses/skills may relate to increased knowledge
specifically about climate change or adaptation to climate change
through improved business skills, grain production and marketing
skills. The skills may also be for personal development so that
some individuals can participate in industry leadership roles at
various levels to ensure that there is an evolution of skilled and
aware people in senior industry roles that can assist the rest of
the industry with policy and industry strategy development.
Progress on this aspect of the project has been good and the
developing portal has been dubbed the Online Agricultural
Training Service (OATS). The OATS website is due to be
operational after June 2010.
IREC Farmers’ Newsletter – Large Area No. 182: Autumn 2010
Scenario planning program
A web-based decision support system will be developed to
provide increased understanding of the historic and future
seasonal and production changes under climate change
scenarios. This system will help grain producers understand how
the grains industry may change over time. Such a system will also
assist industry participants to plan for long-term infrastructure
investments such as rail, silo and port infrastructure so that
decisions about these investments might better consider the
implications of climate change. The working title for this system
is FutureWise and will be developed over the course of 2010.
Grain industry courses
BRI Australia, a subsidiary of GGA, will provide a number of
training courses for growers and industry in relation to grain
marketing and quality. Grain quality is impacted by climate
change through changes in the nature of the protein as well as
yield and this in turn changes the behaviour of the flour when
making wheat based products. Consideration of the implications
for grain marketing and grain quality arising from climate change
will be included in the courses being offered by BRI. The Grains
Industry Climate Initiative project will be run until June 2011.
The Grains Industry Climate Initiative is
supported by funding from the Australian
Government Department of Agriculture,
Fisheries and Forestry under its FarmReady
Industry Grants program
Further information
Overall project and FutureWise
Bryan Clark
Grain Growers Association Limited, Barton ACT
T: 02 6173 6407
M: 0428 645 232
E: [email protected]
Online Agricultural Training Service
Melissa Henry
Grain Growers Association Limited, North Ryde NSW
T: 02 9886 2200
E: [email protected]