The Greens (WA) agriculture spokesperson Diane Evers has opened constructive bi-partisan dialogue in support of innovation in the West Australian agriculture industry, in a push towards embracing regenerative farming methods.
On November 21, National Agriculture Day, Ms Evers addressed the Legislative Council in a member’s statement, followed by a motion to discuss the topic the next day in parliament.
Ms Evers has been encouraged by the uptake of regenerative farming practices in Western Australia and is eager to encourage others to do so, and increase the benefits coming from such innovation.
“We know modern agriculture is facing many challenges, we need to look at the farmers who have adopted new practices and understand the practices that have worked,” she said.
“But we need to get to work very quickly.”
Ms Evers explained how the pursuit of regenerative agriculture could combat often unfavourable economic, land and climate conditions, with an end benefit to both farmers and communities.
“Regenerative agriculture is about looking after the soil by getting carbon into the soil, increasing the ability to retain moisture, and providing a healthy environment for microbes,” she said.
“With diversity and health in the soil, microbes can break down the minerals in the soil, get the nutrients out and put them into a form that can be taken up by the roots of plants.
“If we can grow more nutritious food, we will all benefit.”
The issues raised were well-received across the chamber by Ms Evers’ parliamentary colleagues, with positive contributions in response to the motion from parliamentary colleagues including Agriculture and Food Minister, Hon Alannah MacTiernan MLC, current farmer Hon Darren West MLC and former farmer Hon Colin de Grussa MLC.
Despite the need for action now, Ms Evers was keen to point out the positive approach to the industry necessary and its importance to the state as a whole
“Metropolitan dwellers have a distorted view of farming – often, all they hear about are the bad things,” she said.
“Our food security is great at the moment – we produce 93 per cent of our own food.
“Our farmers should be appreciated and admired, because they produce our food.
“With this in mind, let us support our farmers and their communities that so valuably produce our food.”
Regenerative Agriculture fact file:
– carbon farming
– adaptation to climate change
– reducing subsoil constraints
– groundcover and soil stability for wind and water erosion control
– perennial pastures and grazing management
– groundwater and surface water management
– land-use planning, land capability and land suitability analyses
Source: Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development