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Agriculture needs a strategy for the future

The Greens believe that more farm assistance money should be directed to helping farmers transition to climate resilent farming systems.

"Of course we need to help our farmers, but the assistance package needs to be in the framework of how we deal with climate impacts on agriculture," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"If we don't get better understanding of the changes to our agricultural zones and develop a longer-term strategy, then we are going to have to keep paying farmers to help them get through difficult circumstance that are no longer exceptional," she said.

"Yes, of course it will rain again, but our seasons are increasingly uncertain. There is no going back to business as usual."

"We must recognise the climate is changing so we can adapt and transition to a new way of business that increases the resilience of our farming systems and adaptively manages climate risk."

"If we keep going forward on a hope and a prayer without facing the uncertainty of a changing climate we are leaving our farmers almost permanently in crisis mode – without the information, tools and support they need to transition," said Senator Siewert.

"Contrary to what Mr Howard said today, this government has stood idly by … as it has allowed our agricultural research and extension capability to run down."

"This government has stood idly by ignoring the impacts of climate change - keeping our farming communities hanging on, praying for a break in the drought while their assets run down."

"We need to increase the resilience of our farming systems in a changing climate."

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