Farmers are demanding a ‘fair go’ above the target of net-zero emissions by 2050 so they don’t go bankrupt


Sixth-generation farmer Oscar Pearse prepares for what he expects to be the best crop his family farm has seen in 90 years.

The Moree mixed crop farmer in northeast NSW began managing the 2,800-acre estate 11 years ago.

Since then, he has helped regenerate some of the land, which has meant reducing the footprint of the crops.

Farmer Oscar Pearse (pictured) said carbon is being stored right in front of his eyes and he is not being compensated for it

Farmer Oscar Pearse (pictured) said carbon is being stored right in front of his eyes and he is not being compensated for it

While his parents planted trees 30 years ago for environmental reasons, he is restoring the land for economic reasons, he says.

“Building carbon in the soil helps with soil health, and it makes for a more productive, drought-resistant farm,” he told AAP.

But the 41-year-old says he has stopped planting trees for economic reasons because he is not being paid for them.

“Carbon is being captured as we speak for me and I’m not getting any compensation for it, and I’m honestly sick of it… people from my parents’ generation worry they’re just getting ripped off again,” says Mr. pear.

He is part of a growing chorus of farmers who want a ‘fair go’ in exchange for supporting an economy-wide ambition of net zero emissions by 2050.

He says his support for the Nationals, like many farmers and people on farms, will depend on these decisions.

A growing chorus of farmers want a 'fair go' in return for supporting an economy-wide ambition of net zero emissions by 2050 (Photo: A sheep farmer near Gunnedah, NSW)

A growing chorus of farmers want a 'fair go' in return for supporting an economy-wide ambition of net zero emissions by 2050 (Photo: A sheep farmer near Gunnedah, NSW)

A growing chorus of farmers want a ‘fair go’ in return for supporting an economy-wide ambition of net zero emissions by 2050 (Photo: A sheep farmer near Gunnedah, NSW)

The National Farmers Federation supports a net emissions target by 2050, but they also want an appropriate story for members affected by Australia’s past climate change goals.

Federation president Fiona Simson was due to address the Nationals banquet on Monday about climate change goals for primary producers, but that meeting was postponed.

Ms Simson says farmers need recognition for the losses they suffered during the climate change negotiations in Kyoto and in the 1990s, when their property rights were taken away without compensation.

“The Commonwealth government now owns the carbon rights to land that still belongs to farmers. Returning the carbon rights… would be a big step forward,” she told AAP.

National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson (pictured) said they support the cause but also want an appropriate story for members affected by past climate change goals

National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson (pictured) said they support the cause but also want an appropriate story for members affected by past climate change goals

National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson (pictured) said they support the cause but also want an appropriate story for members affected by past climate change goals

The federation says that more than 400 million tons of excess carbon sequestration has been delivered through this process.

Although Ms Simson admits that financial compensation is unlikely due to the complicated arrangements between the states and the Australian government.

“If we don’t get all the things we ask for, we’ll have to address them when the time comes,” Ms. Simson told AAP.

Pearse says that if farmers don’t get credit for growing carbon-neutral products, it will be difficult to convince producers to help reduce emissions in the future.

“In meeting its Kyoto commitments, the Australian government relied on agriculture to do the heavy lifting,” Pearse said.

“In the future, meeting the Paris obligations will require significantly more offsets and agriculture is one of the few places where you will get those offsets.

“We see that the Commonwealth of Australia has been given free farmland allowances and offsets and in most cases has paid nothing to farmers, so we want that ledger squared.”

Nationals leader Barnaby Joyce said on Monday that regional Australia had been “done over” on emissions targets before and farmers should be compensated over Kyoto.

“We’re not giving anything away. We just keep our cards really close to our chests and we’re being polite – we’re being polite to the Prime Minister,” Joyce said.

The Nationals are in talks with the coalition about its stance on emissions reductions.

Nationals deputy leader David Littleproud said farmers had a right to be angry but blamed the states on Monday.

‘The federal government did compensate for those land clearing rules. They were paid to state governments. So it’s actually the state governments that Australian farmers have to confront because that property right has been lost.’

Back near Moree, Mr Pearse wants more done on climate change goals.

“Australia needs to do more in terms of its share of global emissions reductions, signing a net carbon neutral 2050 is almost the minimum required of the Australian government,” he said.

Mr Pearse said that while he wants action on climate change, it is unreasonable to ask those who feel they have been ripped off over the past 25 years to suddenly do more with what they do

Mr Pearse said that while he wants action on climate change, it is unreasonable to ask those who feel they have been ripped off over the past 25 years to suddenly do more with what they do

Mr Pearse said that while he wants action on climate change, it is unreasonable to ask those who feel they have been ripped off over the past 25 years to suddenly do more with what they do

And while he wants action on climate change, progress for the farmer requires action on the past.

Asking someone who feels they have been ripped off for the past 25 years to suddenly do more with what they do is not reasonable, other sectors cannot expect agriculture to provide these compensations to help Australia meet future emissions targets. to fetch. ‘ says the farmer.

“If the Commonwealth decides to embrace science and face the realities of climate change, then they need agriculture, but right now, farmers on the ground feel like we’ve been ripped off for the past few decades and that needs to be fixed before we can continue.’

‘Managing our farmland is one of the few ways in which emissions can be offset in an economically viable way, for example by planting trees for farmers, by improving farmers’ carbon in the soil.’

“Realistically, the wider Australian economy needs farmers to be involved and participate in that market … and if we don’t get recognition they can’t expect us to participate in the future, it’s that simple.”

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