Agriculture, in its business-as-usual mode, is by nature very adaptive. Climate change presents both challenges (biosecurity threats, reduced productivity) and opportunities (business diversity, new crop types and varieties) for the industry.
Key needs to support future adaptation include:
- Education and extension – especially in the form of on-ground practitioner assistance - and maintenance of industry knowledge;
- Good science as a basis for policy-making, including more investment in social science research;
- Improved seasonal weather predictions, at a regional and district level, rather than further downscaling of climate model outputs for the far future; and
- Policy certainty and adaptability, including monitoring and evaluation feedback loops to assess policy outcomes.
In a changing climate, government has an ongoing role in technology, skill and awareness development, to create an information-rich industry through:
- Extension and education to ensure the best possible knowledge supports evidence-based decision making by farmers;
- Supporting networks to build industry-wide knowledge and skills; and,
- Maintaining corporate knowledge in the industry.
Information should be framed appropriately, for example in terms of business and profitability rather than climate change.