Member publication

This article (with accompanying photographs) appeared in the Winter 2011 Issue 52 of the Victorian Landcare and Catchment Management magazine. The original can be seen as a pdf here

The Environmental Farmers Network - sustainability, one policy at a time
By David Cummings

Australian farmers are still looking for the right balance between farm outputs and environmental outputs. As human population increases so do the pressures on our farms. What will happen if we keep pushing farm production without proper consideration for the
environment? Farmers must also learn to cope with the imperfectly defined effects of climate change.

Six years ago, in the light of these growing concerns, a group of interested commercial farmers saw the need for an organisation to represent the many farmers who see that farm production is intimately linked to environmental production.

Because many of the existing organisations are focused on the production of individual commodities, the opportunity to see the way the whole system links and works together
was often being missed.

The Environmental Farmers Network (EFN) provides a collective voice for farmers who are concerned about the declining health of native vegetation, wetlands, waterways and soil and
interested in the long-term sustainabilityof farming in a social, environmental, energy and economic sense.

The EFN promotes policies that further the environmental health of private and public land in farming areas. The policies are built from member contributions. The current policy coverage includes biodiversity, farm greenhouse emissions, bio-fuels, water, wetlands, farm forestry, wind farms and climate change. The EFN policies are used as a basis for taking part in debates on the future of farmlands and farm production in southern Australia.

According to Andrew Bradey, EFN President, the EFN aims to influence standards, regulations and expectations, and to be a force for change towards a more sustainable future.

“We need to re-evaluate the environmental costs of farming – and investigate the role that farming land can play in improving the general state of the environment,” Andrew said.

For further information about the Environmental Farmers Network visit the website at www. environmentalfarmersnetwork.net.au

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