Northern ‘Carbon Bus’ Tour Participant Testimonials
The Young Carbon Farmers “Carbon Bus” tour of Northern QLD was such a valuable experience for me. As there is always so much media attention given to climate change and green house gas emissions, it is almost a bit worrying the lack of knowledge most people have about the carbon cycle and the effect we are having on the environment and climate in our day to day lives. To spend a week with some of the finest young people in agriculture and hear from nationally recognised experts in the field of climate change was such a huge eye opener for me.
Before heading to Townsville, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into, but what I was wanting to achieve was to gain a higher level of understanding of carbon sequestration and how to find opportunities in carbon credits. I already had an understanding of the carbon cycle and how to capture carbon in soil, but this higher level thinking is where the big opportunities are for businesses.
The Carbon Bus Tour answered a lot of my questions, and has prompted me to ask more!
The Northern Carbon Bus Tour was everything I had hoped for and more. I had hoped to gain a greater understanding of climate science, to understand what the Government’s Carbon Funding Initiative (CFI) entailed, and gain some ideas of what farmers can do to adapt to climate change.
However, I never expected that I would see amazing CSIRO trials in action, tour across expansive Queensland cattle stations to see what farmers are doing to cope climate variability, and form an amazing alliance with a network of young, like-minded, rural-focused Australians. I felt privileged to be listening and learning from some of the greatest minds in the science community about climate change.
They explained the science behind an increasingly variable climate, how this will impact upon Australia’s social, economic and environmental systems, and how farmers can mitigate green house gas emissions and adapt to increased variability.
The group of YoungCO2Farmers was eager to learn and their passion for rural Australia was contagious.
Together we discussed issues from our geographic regions and areas of expertise, and brainstormed how we, as the next generation, could make a difference in our local communities and at large.
The Carbon Bus tour was an informative few days culminating in a workshop discussion on all aspect that had been covered during the tour.
The tour was conducted in North Queensland, in the area surrounding Townsville and Charters Towers North Queensland. However the attendees were from a much broader cross-section of agri-businesses, and many different climatic regions of the eastern half of Australia.
I found the tour had a good range of topics that related to carbon including sequestration, mitigation, opportunities and research potential. These were presented by experts in the topic, keen to spread their knowledge. The subject which I was most interested in was the policy of the CFI and how it will affect producers in Australia.
Climate change is one of, if not the most serious issue of the 21st century, and there can be no doubt for those in the world who choose to listen to the continually mounting evidence that the change is accelerated through human activity, primarily through Greenhouse Gas emission.
Due to this I consider it a great opportunity to have partaken on a tour to learn more about the subject and what issues and opportunities it will present for Australia and in particular Agribusiness.
I consider the reason that a large portion of the Australian population are sceptical about climate change is simply due to lack of adequate knowledge. It is not because the public are sticking their heads in the sand or acting ignorant. I consider that there would be very few people in the country or world who would actively refuse to combat a problem that will affect their livelihood if they see enough evidence to confirm the issue.
I had so many questions leading into the Young CO2 Farmers Carbon Tour, that if posed to me I would not have been able to answer.
The two words, “Carbon Farming” were enough to make me question just how much I had been paying attention to the enormous amount of information available about carbon and greenhouse gases.
After spending three days on this tour, I may not have all the answers, but I do have a far better understanding of how producers are currently working towards carbon mitigation and abatement, what it means for their production systems and how I can continue to be involved in the carbon arena.
The Young CO2 Farmers Carbon Tour has set the bar very high for any future tours or workshops I am involved in. I am still amazed that they were able to take a group of 10 strangers from all different backgrounds, with an array of experiences and have it run so smoothly and so effectively!
I went on the young carbon farmer’s tour in search of techniques to sequester carbon and gain financial benefit for carbon credits. I did not find this. However, what I did find was a group of young people who care about the future. The tour enlightened us on current technologies and research on greenhouse gas mitigation.
It provided context to how we fit into the problem of climate change and where the science and legislation is up to. We met with researchers and industry representatives whom gave us insights as to the many possible avenues in which to become more involved and proactive in exploring our options regarding a changing climate.
Most importantly of all, it provided us with many contacts and a network of people with many and broad ranging skills to work with on climate related issues. I am glad that I took the time to go and though it wasn’t what I expected, the tour was exactly what we young people needed.
‘This experience was invaluable. It was a fabulous opportunity to visit on-ground research in carbon farming and to be shown around some of the leading research being undertaken in the grazing but also to hear from many of the other agricultural industries that exist not only in north Queensland, but close to home too. It challenged me to not only listen to the lessons and information, but to apply them to my own work situation and to then write them down as possible tweets! Good fun, and educational as well. Thanks for putting on an excellent few days!’
I had one of the best experiences of my working life on the Carbon Bus Tour. It was fantastic to meet such great people who are as interested and passionate about agriculture as I am. The diversity of work young people were doing in agriculture was amazing with participants working in forestry to wool to industry representative groups and I know that the contacts I made while on tour will help me in the future as I build my career.
I learnt so much about the Carbon Farming Initiative and I have already been passing on that knowledge to my colleagues and the local farming community. Before I went on tour, I found the carbon farming initiative a little overwhelming and had avoided discussions with local producers as I did not feel I had enough knowledge to help them. The tour allowed me to begin understanding the CFI. Since then, I have participated in even further CFI training that built on the information I learned on the Carbon Bus Tour.
Thanks very much to Sefton & Associates and the Future Farmers Network for such a fantastic time!
Participating in the carbon bus tour was an invaluable experience where I got to meet other young people involved with the agriculture industry and get a feel for how they are addressing and dealing with challenges from climate change.
The on ground practical tour allowed us to visit a CSIRO research station where they are developing technologies and improved farming practices to minimise green house gas emissions and improve productivity whilst increasing the long term sustainability of farms facing changing climate conditions. After learning about the theory we visited two cattle stations that apply the management strategies developed by scientists and farmers and were able to see the benefits of adopting best management strategies. The theory and real world applications clearly demonstrated that utilising best practice standards increased long-term productivity and profitability.
Whilst it is early days for carbon farming, the adoption of land management practices that decrease carbon emissions will deliver significant economic returns. This demonstrates that everyone should engage with these effective land management strategies even if they aren’t involved with carbon trading.
Driving across landscape that seems much harsher than southern Australia, it was easy to comprehend the exposure of northern agriculture to climate variability and change. I took away a lot for the northern carbon bus tour and as such the impact of seeing and interacting, on the ground, with people as reputed and passionate as those featured cannot be underestimated.
The group was responsive and personable and one that extracted and developed the presentations beyond the content simply delivered by the speaker. That such a group of young professionals could be rallied upon the issue of carbon and climate variability is positive indicator for Australian agriculture. I look forward to maintaining these relationships and watching each of us share our journey and learnings amongst our colleagues, clients and friends.
The trip was a great experience as the farming in the Townsville area is completely different to the style of farming here in North West Victoria and completely different industries. It was great for expanding my knowledge into the different styles of farming and practises, it was also a great to network with the other members on the trip as I would never have been in contact with them otherwise. I found that the other members were as interested in learning about my region as I was learning about theirs.
I learnt more about the carbon credits which I had a very limited knowledge of prior to the trip and found this most interesting.
I really didn’t know what to expect with the trip when I first applied for it as I have a very limited knowledge of carbon credits, carbon trading and carbon farming, and I did not know much of the beef industry or the other farming industries in QLD. I guess I was using this trip to expand my knowledge in all of these areas and hopefully be able to expand the knowledge of them to others who may be interested in Donald. The trip definitely met all those expectations
It was a valuable experience in many ways as I learnt a lot more about the carbon scheme and what are the biggest emission factors in the farming sector and how much research has gone in to trying to reduce it. The other valuable part of it was to be able to network with other like-minded people who all were off farms and interested in carbon and protecting the environment and being able to talk about all the different farming back grounds we were all from.
When I first applied to go on the tour I was a little hesitant because I had just started university and I thought that the information would not be useful to me. However, I am really glad I attended as I gained such an insight into the world of carbon farming, and it has given me a perspective that I can focus on as I continue my study (livestock science). My main area of interest is in ruminant nutrition. On this tour I learnt that producing meat or fiber from sheep or cattle can be made more efficient by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This is something I will also take home to my family farm in southern QLD is to increase the efficiency of production there. I would recommend it to any motivated young person involved with the land, it has opened my eyes to new innovations and given me the confidence to embark on this incredible journey towards our future.
Heidi Brunker – Sefton & Associates
As a professional who has worked in the agricultural sector for about 20 years, it is trips such as this one that remind you how great the industry is. From the hard working, forward thinking and progressive producers of our food and fibre to the researchers discovering and exploring ways for us to be more efficient, more productive and more sustainable…to the young, fresh and passionate participants who will be the future of Australian agriculture…you would have to day that the future is in good hands.
I guess it is easy to become jaded, confused and disconnected about the topics of climate change, emissions, Kyoto, abatement, sequestration and the like. There is so much debate at a higher level that it seems to become less relevant to us all on a day to day basis.
The beauty of a tour such as this, however, is that it brings all of that scientific and political discussion to a very real level. It reminds us that no matter the debates about policy and the origins or nature of the changing climate, the facts are that the climate is changing, it is getting hotter, it is becoming more universally variable and unpredictable, we are pumping out more CO2 than ever before. So we do need to act.
Climate change and the resulting variability is very real for Northern cattle producers such as the Landsberg (Trafalgar Station) and Lyon (Wambiana Station) families in Charters Towers. In order to survive, thrive and have a prosperous and viable concern to hand onto their children these producers are using research, facts, climate data, advice and their knowledge of the land to adapt to the changing climate and mitigate their effect on it.
I feel very fortunate (both personally and on behalf of Sefton & Associates) to have, in partnership with the Future Farmers Network, lead a group of passionate and enthusiastic young professionals with enquiring minds to places such as Landsdowne Research Station and the two properties to hear from leading minds both on and off farm.
I would encourage you to check out the blogs below from the participants to get their first-hand account of the tour and the benefits that they received as a result of jumping on board the Carbon Bus.
A big thank you to Snow Barlow for guiding us all along the way, Kiri Broad for co-piloting, all the participants and our speakers (Dr Andrew Ash – CSIRO, Michael Waring, Geoff Dickinson – DAFF QLD, Daryl Killin – Select Carbon, Dr Ed Charmley – CSIRO, Dr Chris Stokes – CSIRO, the Lyons family at Wambiana Station, the Landsberg family at Trafalgar station, Steven Bray – DAFF QLD, Peter O’Reagain, DAFF QLD).
If you feel as though you have missed out on a great opportunity by not applying to come with us, don’t worry as you can also catch a ‘virtual tour’ video with highlights from the tour on our YouTube channel or take a look at all of the presentations on the ‘What’s Happening’ page of the Young Carbon Farmers website.