Gus's Musings

December 13, 2015

Farming Opportunities/innovations, That make sure we have a future.

When I think of “innovative farmers”, I don’t look for the latest technical/mechanical equipment, instead I look to how they best utilise what they have. Farming to me is more about the connection with the soil, the animals and the plants, than having the shiniest latest and greatest gadget/machine/vehicle. So below is an example of the types of questions I ask around the value of innovations to us:

• How will it improve my connectivity to the soil, plants and animals?

• Can I produce a saleable product while regenerating the landscape?

• Will this add to the plant and animal diversity we have?

• Will this decrease my reliance on fossil fuels, or at least improve my kg of meat, wool/ltr of fuel ratio?

• How will this improve water infiltration and improve biodiversity?

I wish to focus clearly on the outcome, the reason for the innovation, rather than how it helps to get us there. As you can see I don’t look for reducing our labour, I enjoy working on the farm and that keeps me fit, I don’t want to do less of it. There are many fantastic farmers out there that realise how important the Climate change issue is and are constantly innovating and finding better ways to work with the land and turn around land degradation. The benefit of this is that more carbon is stored in the soil feeding the microbes in the soil and this is aided by the soil being covered and having green vegetation year round (regardless of rainfall). The more in tune our farming systems are to the natural environment, the less needs there is for National Parks, this would in turn save the community. This is the direction I see agriculture going due to the multiple benefits to the broader community, not just through healthier ecosystems, the food produced is healthier so the people benefit as well.

A few examples of this can be found here:

Col Seis “Winona”

David Marsh “Allendale” &

Bruce Maynard “Willydah”

Angus & Lucy Maurice “Gillinghall”

These and many more farmers are putting lots of thought into their farming systems, so that our production systems are not sustainable, they are regenerative, building their production base while storing carbon for all and improving landscape health.  This was happening well before the Paris Climate talks #COP21, the hope is that out of the decision made, there will be clear drivers for the increase in this sort of innovation.  This is an area that having a diverse mix of people in your decision making team can really help, you need lots of youthful energy and ideas with a long vision for the future, mixed with experience and knowledge of past mistakes and pitfalls to avoid, then of course we need many to fill the important knowledge gaps in between and provide much needed support. How do you judge innovations?


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