Young Farming Champions with an appetite for change are dressed to impress

You never know where one of our Young Farming Champions will pop up next

Josh and Tom at Parliament House

YFC Josh Gilbert and Tom Tourle dressed to impress at Parliament House in Canberra

This week Beef and Cattle Young Farming Champion Josh Gilbert and Wool Young Farming Champion Tom Tourle have hit the bush capital along with seven leading farmers and three environmentalists  who are taking their climate concerns to Parliament House tomorrow.

Creating a very powerful and compelling partnership in an exciting collaboration between two sectors who haven’t always met in the middle and at times have been at loggerheads the team will have robust conversations with Australia’s top decision-makers at Parliament House in Canberra about the devastating impacts of climate change on food and farms

The plan was spun by nine farmers featured in the Planet to Plate cookbook  (released this month as part of Earth Hour on Saturday March 28) and made possible by the team behind Earth Hour Australia.

Not only will the delegation speak with Australia’s top decision makers about the impact of climate change on food and farming they will also deliver 226 copies of the new Earth Hour Planet to Plate cookbook – one to each MP and Senator – which is packed with climate stories from 50 Aussie farmers and information from scientists about how climate change is affecting farming and rural communities.

“9 farmers, 226 politicians and one key message- climate change is impacting our food production and something needs to be done now,” Josh Gilbert said.

“The opportunity to discuss the real climate change impacts we are experiencing on our farms to the leaders of our country is incredible,” he said.

“Backed by leading scientists from Australia and extraordinary showcases of Australian food production on our farms, we believe our stories have the ability to change the government’s stance on climate change forever.

“That proposition is breathtaking, especially to be able to change the world for future generations.”

Earth Hour Australia said the farmers will be sharing their stories to highlight that “climate change is not just an issue that people in urban areas care about, but one that resonates strongly with people from the bush.”

“We will be encouraging politicians to aim higher when it comes to cutting pollution and making the swap to renewable energy,” the team said.

Among the delegation are some of agriculture’s most noted and inspirational names, including 2014 Dairy Farmer of the Year, Greg Dennis, and ‘Climate Champion’ and sheep and cropping farmer Peter Holding.

Owner-operator of Scenic Rim 4Real Milk at Tamrookum, Qld, Mr Dennis said sustainable agriculture is a two way street. “The farmer’s conscience in day to day operations have grown considerably in recent years,” he said.

“We now pay attention to our impact on climate change, with equal respect to the impact of climate change on us – and our subsequent management decisions.”

On Mr Dennis’s family farm 77 kW of solar panels are currently being stalled, reducing the reliance of fossil fuel power sources by almost 50pc. “Our individual actions…as a collective agricultural community, will play a major role into the foreseeable future,” Mr Dennis said.

Peter Holding farms merino ewes, canola and wheat on the south west slopes of NSW, and set up his own local Landcare group 15 years ago.  Mr Holding said climate change is damaging farming in his local area and across Australia.

“The problem is becoming more urgent every day: even though we’re in one of the best areas of NSW for rainfall (at Harden), we’re now sitting on the edge of an encroaching drought.” Mr Holding said.

“I just don’t know how people are going to survive it – it’s such a serious problem that it’s getting past the need for a polite discussion about it,” he said.

“Agriculture is the lifeblood of rural Australia; it helps keep communities together and alive. But it’s not taken seriously enough because it’s not as sexy as mining.”

Josh and Tom with Joel Fitzgibbon

Josh and Tom meet with Shadow Minster for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon MP

Proud of you team @art4ag YFC #appetiteforchange #drivingchange

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