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Beyond the Bale : December 2012
September 2010 Beyond the Bale 26 on-Farm Fast Facts l AWI has recently given three young woolgrowers the opportunity to join the national Climate Champion program, giving them direct access to the latest R&D results on climate variability. l The Climate Champion program uses producers to link the latest research findings to on-farm management practices. l Each Young Climate Champion grower is already adapting their management in response to climate variability, but is keen to learn and do more. during September 2012, AWI began funding young woolgrowers James Walker, James Hegarty and Kathleen Allen to become Young Climate Champion woolgrowers. All three producers are under the age of 40 and are passionate about wool production and keen to step up in the industry. The Climate Champion program has already recruited 34 other Australian farmers from a variety of enterprises, recognising them as leading producers particularly interested in managing climate variability. Program outline In broad terms, the Climate Champion program aims to get climate-related research information out to the agricultural community, by recruiting those who are most likely to be adopting tools and practices to help them better manage their climate. In turn, the Climate Champion participants are expected to feed information from farmers back to researchers, about what farmers need to better manage climate risk on their properties. For the AWI Young Climate Champion woolgrowers, much of what they will do under the program involves showcasing to their peers the practices and farming systems they already use to manage climate variability and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. They will also be expected to review draft climate-related research outputs and tools relevant to their location and farming system, and draft communication products such as fact sheets and website materials to ensure they meet the needs of their fellow farmers. These young producers will also have the opportunity to contribute their own ideas to those businesses developing new climate management tools and technologies. young guns tackle climate variability December 2012 Beyond the Bale Joining the charge Recently recruited Young Climate Champion grower James Walker runs 15,000 sheep under semi-arid conditions near Longreach and Isisford in central Queensland. Over his two properties, covering 36,500ha in total, James expects to receive 150-380mm of rain each year, and has therefore modified his production practices to account for climatic and seasonal variability. “ We have adapted our management by revamping our livestock watering system. We have now provided watering points for our sheep only 1-1.5km apart, using 62km of poly pipe and 40 new troughs to do it,” Mr Walker said. “ We have also begun to harvest grass during times of peak production, to capture feed quality while it is available – we made 1000 tonnes of hay this year.” When the 2012 Nuffield Scholar was asked about his interest in the Climate Champion program, he was quick to point out the benefits of addressing climate variability. “ It ’s important to create best practices within the industry, as adopting on-ground activities to address climate variability has a beneficial impact on farmer productivity. “Addressing climate variability and lifting agribusiness productivity go hand woolgrowers James walker, Kathleen allen and James hegarty, who will link researchers and producers through the climate champion program.