The week's news and insights from the National Farmers' Federation
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Welcome to the NFF’s Weekly Wrap, bringing you the week’s farming and political news each Friday.
Industry throws its weight behind net carbon zero by 2050
The NFF this week announced that its members have voted in favour of a landmark climate change policy that supports an aspirational economy-wide target of net carbon zero by 2050. The NFF says the announcement is a reminder of the important work farmers are already doing to lower emissions.
Industry calls for National COVID-19 Agricultural Work Code
Ahead of today's National Cabinet meeting, the NFF and state farming organisations have written to Prime Minister Scott Morrison and all state premiers asking for a nationally consistent system for border exemptions to be introduced. The call follows fears that border closures will interfere with Australia's grain harvest.

China launches anti-dumping investigation into Australian wine
This week, the Chinese Government announced that it would immediately launch a one-year anti-dumping investigation into Australian wine imports. Industry expressed its concern at the announcement and stressed the fact that Australian producers are among the least subsidised in the world.
McDonald’s and Domino’s introduce Country of Origin Labelling
Leading fast-food retailer McDonald’s this week announced that it would introduce Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) information on their products from Sunday. Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud expressed his thanks to McDonald's and Domino's for voluntarily signing onto the scheme.
Weekly insight
EYCI at an all time high as slaughter plummets
The latest number from MLA show the Eastern Young Cattle Indicator reaching an all-time high this week, as slaughter numbers fell 30% year-on-year.
Source: MLA, 2020
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NFF introduces CZN2050 policy

The National Farmers’ Federation has recently endorsed a new climate change policy that calls for an aspirational, economy-wide, target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The main concerns we hear are: what will the costs be, and how will we get there?

Firstly, why are we doing this in the first place? This is a global discussion, including for agriculture. All Australian states have a net zero 2050 policy, many of which are still developing an implementation plan.

The Commonwealth have signed up to the Paris agreement which seeks net zero by the second half of the century, and it is developing plans via things like the technology and bioenergy roadmaps consultations (with NFF's close engagement).

A number of NFF’s member bodies and their constituencies are variously progressing climate change policy and implementation of innovative and transitional technologies.

For farmers we need to continue to review our position to ensure that supporting economy wide targets are in the best interests of farmers, especially including that it is economically viable to do. We are bound to those caveats in our policy which requires a 5 yearly review of them.

Against increasing calls for better information, such as baselining across sectors, and better research and development focus it became increasingly clear that the preferred destination should at least be broadly identified.

The policy specifically references that agriculture sector understands and expects other sectors across the economy will play their part in reducing emissions.

The policy is very clear in the caveats that underpin the policy - they are:

  • There are identifiable and economically viable pathways to net neutrality, including impacts from inputs such as energy; and
  • Commonwealth and State legislation is effective, equitable and advantageous to deliver on ground programs that benefit agricultural interests and do not provide unnecessary regulatory impediment.

There are a number of research assessment and design processes underway that will inform the risks and opportunities for the agriculture sector, including by developing better information sets to inform investment options.

The new policy recognises the sector’s role in reducing emissions. In fact, we are the only sector that can sequester emissions and we have played the biggest role in reducing emissions since the 1990s.

The NFF supports an economy-wide target, not a target for agriculture, recognising that different farming sectors have different trajectories and pathways. However, any pathway to reduce emissions must be economically viable and account for impacts from, for example, energy and transport.

Commonwealth and state legislation must also be effective and equitable and not create additional regulatory burdens for agriculture. We will not accept regulation as a solution to reduce emissions.

One of the key focuses is research & development (R&D) which will underpin agriculture’s pathway to net zero emissions. We need to equip farmers with far better tools for evaluating and assessing emissions in their business so they can make informed decisions.

This will require investment in R&D, so we have robust baseline information, new pathways to reduce emissions, and fewer barriers to participation in carbon markets, and thereby supporting adaptation and ensuring that agricultural productivity and farm business profitability can be sustained with changing climatic conditions.

Farmers still have plenty of questions, like getting a better understanding of the ebb and flow of soil carbon, or even how to efficiently measure it reliably. As that knowledge base builds it will be regularly reviewed against agriculture’s ongoing disposition to economically viable adaptation to ensure it continues to make sense to participate in markets.

The red meat sector, for example, has set a target to be carbon neutral by 2030, an ambitious target underpinned by an ambitious research program.

The NFF’s policy is designed to create and embrace opportunities for the sector to participate in carbon and natural capital markets and support adaptation to a changing climate without the burden of unnecessary costs.

Importantly, to get the best outcomes for the agricultural sector, we need to be at the table influencing policy outcomes for agriculture and this will help agriculture achieve both climate goals as well as NFF’s goal for agriculture to be a $100 billion sector by 2030.

Doing so having stated where the target ought to be builds on agriculture’s role in the debate.

Quote of the week
"In business if you don't set goals you never get anywhere... often it's a case of politics catching up to the leading edge."

Sent by the National Farmers' Federation, NFF House, 14-16 Brisbane Avenue, Barton ACT 2600

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