New climate change initiative

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Demonstrating practical ways in which farmers can adapt to climate change is the aim of a new national initiative that involves demonstration sites in WA.

The National Adaptation and Mitigation Initiative (NAMI) is a $4.9 million partnership between the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

The joint initiative involves research partners across Australia, including the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA).

Demonstration sites in WA include those co-ordinated by DAFWA at the University of WA Future Farm site at Pingelly and the Dryland Research Institute at Merredin.

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There are also sites at Mullewa and Badgingarra co-ordinated by the North East Farming Futures Group and the West Midlands Group with support from BCG, formerly the Birchip Cropping Group.

GRDC managing director Peter Reading said the NAMI aimed to build on and demonstrate research outcomes from DAFF’s Australia’s Farming Future Climate Change Research Program.

“The NAMI will play an important role in equipping primary producers with tools to adapt and adjust to the impact of climate change and to manage their emissions through grower-driven demonstration sites, ” he said.

“Adaptation to climate change and the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions has been identified as a key driver for change in the grains industry to 2012 and beyond.

“In particular, Australia’s grains industry is projected to be significantly affected by climate change and climate change-related policy decisions.

“The potential introduction of emissions trading to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will require the application of new knowledge to ensure a reduction of emissions, while also ensuring ongoing increases in farm efficiency and productivity.”

Mr Reading said the NAMI would bring together farmer groups and research providers to apply research outcomes in climate change adaptation and mitigation.

“The initiative will have strong links with existing DAFF and GRDC climate change research into nitrous oxide emissions reduction, soil carbon and climate change adaptation and mitigation projects, ” he said.

“This will facilitate more effective extension and demonstration of research outcomes to farmers. Close collaboration between stakeholders and well integrated programs are critical to the success of the NAMI.”

Mr Reading said the initiative’s objectives, see box, were consistent with GRDC’s strategic aims relating to climate change under its Environmental Plan for the Australian Grains Industry.

“This plan is developing innovative solutions to climate change that are profitable, productive and sustainable, ” he said.

“The NAMI projects will also contribute directly to implementation of the DAFF National Agriculture and Climate Change Action Plan.”

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