The Mornington Peninsula region’s farming production plus food services delivers a $1.3 billion food economy. But it is under threat - and more challenges lie ahead - so the countdown is on.
In the last 30 years, annual rainfall in the region has decreased, particularly in autumn and spring. In that time there have been 12 dry years and an increase in the number of hot days and more regular consecutive days over 35 degrees. The 2018-19 drought saw farmers run out of water, destock, lose high value crops and reduce production and workforce significantly.
In response, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 and introduced Climate Emergency Plan – Ensuring Our Future: Our Climate Emergency Response. This plan’s goal is to reach net zero emissions by 2040 and includes a preference for buying local carbon credits to offset any carbon liabilities for its own operations.
Recently Council sponsored a Zero Emissions Farming conference to help promote regenerative farming and demystify carbon farming and trading. This one-day conference brought together dozens of farmers and industry experts to explore the benefits of zero-emission farming. It showcased the latest research and technology information, and highlighted industry progress towards CN2050.
It explored the risks and opportunities, including stewardship incentives, that could reward farming for biodiversity and shared experiences to encourage others to adopt similar practices.
The conference was jam packed with useful and practical information, backed up with clear evidence. Keynote speakers included learned academics, climate specialists, and industry experts - alongside local farmers implementing the practises and sharing their results.
For those that missed the conference and want to learn more about zero emissions farming, full conference recordings are available.
This conference is just one step on a longer local journey towards greater sustainability. The Shire is also working to support farmers to implement agroecological practices that can sequester carbon. This includes developing a Food Economy and Agroecology Strategy and running a regenerative farming training course.
Council also supports the local agriculture sector with a dedicated Agribusiness and Food industry Facilitation Officer who can connect farmers with resources relevant to their business.
As our local businesses continue to reinvent local experiences, we can all make a difference. Stay, play and explore local – you might be surprised what you rediscover in your own backyard.
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