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National Agriculture & Climate Change Action Plan: Implementation Programme
The emerging importance of climate change and greenhouse gas mitigation identified the value of including greenhouse gas best management practices as a key component in a survey of environmental stewardship by Australian farmers. Through a project funded under the National Agriculture Climate Change Action Plan, Meat and Livestock Australia developed a set of questions to enable livestock producers participating in the Landleader survey to rank themselves according to practices that contribute to greenhouse gas mitigation.
The 2008 Landleader project (Landleader 2008) successfully engaged 11 priority regional natural resource management bodies across Australia to collect information on the environmental and livestock management practices of 362 broadacre graziers. The project was a joint initiative of Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA) and was funded under the Australian Government’s EMS Pathways to Sustainable Agriculture Program. The objective of Landleader 2008 was to capture best practice data from Australian broadacre farmers to enable documentation of current environmental management practices and to provide direction for land managers to continuously improve their environmental performance.
MLA's strategic plan identifies the need to continuously monitor and improve the capacity of the red meat industry to promote environmental stewardship as a contribution to long term production and profitability and to responsible natural resource management. Demonstrating good environmental stewardship is important as it plays a role in maintaining access to natural resources, influencing consumer opinion and promoting markets.
The specific questions on management for greenhouse gas mitigation developed in this NACCAP project were an important addition to the Landleader survey and enhanced its potential to capture relevant best practice data from Australian broadacre farmers. The first objective for MLA in undertaking the Landleader 2008 survey in collaboration with Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) was to benchmark the red meat industry’s current environmental impact. This in turn provides a basis for tracking future change in impact and providing a record of environmental stewardship of the industry. The second objective was to raise awareness of best management practices and provide direction for land managers to continuously improve their environmental practices. Both objectives were enhanced by inclusion of a greenhouse gas module.
A key aspect of Landleader 2008 was the regionalisation of the data collection process, achieved by working closely with a sample of natural resource management (NRM) bodies to test the robustness and validity of using farm practice data to report on regional NRM targets. Ten NRM bodies and one producer group cooperated in the distribution of the Landleader surveys and provided an initial evaluation of this process. These groups will be involved in discussions with MLA and AWI on maintenance and potential future roll-out of the Landleader project. An independent evaluation of the implementation and value of Landleader 2008 for the regional groups was undertaken. The greenhouse gas questions enabled Natural Resource Management (NRM) regional groups to monitor practices relevant to emissions management within their catchment boundaries and enabled the industry to raise awareness of best management practices for greenhouse gas mitigation and to develop a trial ‘baseline’ for monitoring practices that affect future greenhouse gas intensity.
CMAs participating in the survey reported favourably on the development and inclusion of a module on greenhouse gas emissions best practice in the Landleader survey because of the emerging focus on the need for all industries in Australia to demonstrate response to the threat of climate change. The Australian Government released a Green Paper on the proposed Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme in July 2006. While the Government’s preferred position is that agriculture not be covered by an Emissions Trading Scheme until at least 2015, there is a possibility that complementary measures could be used to encourage management practices that produce a greenhouse gas reduction benefit. By raising awareness amongst red meat producers through a voluntary survey format, Landleader 2008 can contribute to preparing producers for future greenhouse gas strategies.
The independent evaluation saw an encouraging future for Landleader, with a generally positive view from the NRM bodies involved, 90% of participating landholders being prepared to be involved again, there bring potential for landholder practice change, and NRM body respondents saying they would be interested in distributing Landleader in the future.
This page was last updated on 24/07/2017
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