Farmers across Queensland are trying to navigate the vast opportunities and challenges presented by carbon, biodiversity and other environmental markets while positioning their businesses to increase productivity and deliver environmental outcomes.
In a webinar this week, QFF CEO Jo Sheppard facilitated a conversation with RCS Australia Founding Director Dr Terry McCosker OAM to explore the topic of how farming businesses can increase production and business performance in step with ecological and social outcomes.
Can we increase on farm production AND achieve environmental outcomes, while maintaining strong healthy sustainable landscapes and supporting vibrant regional communities?
Terry commenced what was an informative and rich conversation with his learnings from decades of experience working with farmers in the carbon and regenerative agriculture space.
“When people become aware they are farming an ecosystem not just farming a commodity or dirt, their attitude toward the environment actually changes and they start looking at things quite differently. And I have found that over that time the ecological understanding of how we interact with the ecosystem has probably been the greatest turn on for most farmers that I know,” Dr Terry McCosker.
The full recording of the webinar can be viewed below.
A few key highlights have been timecoded (approximately) below:
- 6:22 – RCS Australia work with four key pillars that need to be balanced to enable regenerative agriculture: the land and ecosystem, the production system, the business itself and the people.
- 9:22 – There is shift occurring from sustainable to regenerative agriculture – supply chains want to know what they’re buying and how they can tell their consumers the story of regeneration.
- 16:11 – The difference between verification and certification in reporting. Natural capital and biodiversity and other aspects of the environment are gaining momentum.
- 22:25 – Environmental Sustainable Governance (ESG) and carbon.
- 33:00 – Sequestration verse avoided emissions strategies.
- 35:23 – Net zero verse carbon neutral.
- 43:21 – How can we have a focus on natural capital and ecosystems rather than a one-eyed focus on carbon?
- 44:08 – Advice for farmers turning their thoughts to participate in regenerative agriculture.
- 47:38 – How do we simplify our supply chains and use waste reduction to maximise profits and sustainability?
Thank you to Terry for his contribution to this conversation.
About Dr Terry McCosker OAM, Founding Director, RCS Australia
Terry is an internationally acclaimed teacher and has worked in research, extension and property management in both government and private sectors for almost 55 years.
Terry co-founded RCS over 35 years ago which has set the benchmark for capacity building in rural and regional Australia. He is responsible for the introduction of the GrazingforProfit™ School into Australia which now has over 8,000 graduates. This program is part of the RCS Rural Profit System which has transformed the business performance, production systems, ecology, and wellbeing of many graduates. Living proof that empowering people to take control can achieve sustained success and growth for the agriculture sector.
Terry was described in the Australian Farm Journal editorial in July 2010 as follows: “It is hard to imagine the mental toughness and commitment McCosker and his early farmer adopters had to muster to withstand the flood of criticism from within conventional agricultural science circles. … McCosker’s ideas took farming out of a war with nature to an association with it. He introduced Australian farmers to the concept of ecosystem health and developed methods of measuring it alongside financial health. Critically he introduced the concept of farm family well-being and welcomed female partners, siblings and parents into courses about decision making.”
RCS Australia is a Corporate Partner of the Queensland Farmers’ Federation.