AgForce chief Michael Guerin questions climate science, blows NZ’s promise to reduce farm emissions

The head of Queensland’s largest rural lobby group, AgForce, says science is unresolved in terms of climate change, as he criticizes New Zealand’s plan to reduce emissions from agriculture.

Farmers in New Zealand have worked with the government on a proposed farm-level levy system as an alternative to the industry being included in the country’s emissions trading scheme.

Queensland AgForce CEO Michael Gerin said he was “horrified” by the plan.

“By definition, this is a process of lifelong learning, so climate change is real [but] comes from a number of sources, scientists tell us.

“There are many examples where things have been decided in the past, where [they have] changed their minds to an updated science. “

Charging

He said his personal views on climate change have not affected the work he has done in his role representing farmers in the country.

“What I’m doing now is representing about 6,500 members and presenting their collective views on key issues through a commission process,” he said.

“There are differing views on where climate change comes from, but there is a consensus that we want to work together and productively with science and government on some of these issues.”

Climate change “very obvious”

Sunshine Coast farmer Kerry McMartin, a member of Farmers for Climate Action, said climate change has significantly affected her family’s activities.

“Just because it’s not your reality doesn’t mean it’s not someone else’s reality,” she said.

Sunshine Coast farmer Kerry McMartin said her operation, which involved apples with cream, has been significantly affected by climate change. (Delivered by: Carrie McMartin)

Ms. McMartin runs a mixed gardening and sugar cane farm in Bli Bli, which grows lychees and apples with egg custard for commercial purposes and has a small strawberry farm that you can choose for yourself.

“Dad has been here for 77 years and sees a lot of changes. “The patterns you will see over time, they change, the temperatures change,” she said.

She said the Maruci River farm had lost one padok due to salt flooding and one of its dams was “very vulnerable”.

“They dried the farm, everything. They grew watermelons, they grew green beans everywhere and nothing is irrigated.”

Charging

Irrigation was now needed, and temperature changes increased pests.

“Our summer bugs are already year-round, so we have to spray all year round,” she said.

Still to be done

She said the agricultural industry was “quite proactive” in reducing emissions, but there was still work to be done.

“In fact, I think what they are doing in New Zealand is a result of despair. They are desperate to change the story of what is really happening, “she said.

“They are ready to do something. I think it’s amazing and should be applauded.”

Ms McMartin said even smaller emission reductions were beneficial.

AgForce CEO Michael Guerin with local farmers Bonnie Maynard and Lachlan Collins.
AgForce CEO Michael Guerin has called on the Queensland government to pass new vegetation management laws, saying the industry has been ignored at every turn.

“We use a lot of chicken manure on our farm, so it reduces our superphosphate and urea and fossil fuel fertilizers.”

“I would like to see the government really get stronger, not just fix it, we have until 2050 to resolve this. I would like them to start solving it now.

Carbon capture in cattle

Mr Guerin said agriculture was the only industry in Australia to make a significant reduction in net emissions since 1995, but he acknowledged that there was still work to be done.

He said pasture animals had contributed to carbon capture and a new project, AgCarE (Agriculture, Carbon and Environment), demonstrated that much of Queensland’s cattle industry was positively sequestered.

“It is our opinion that we must continue to work in this spirit, because the wider community has the same ambition, which is to take care of the planet. [and] leave it in a better condition for the next generation, “said Mr Guerin.

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