OPINION

Dung beetles trump MPs in climate action

A few years' ago I noticed dung beetles on our beef and sheep farm in central Victoria.

These creatures appeared to be improving our soil health, so I set up trials to test them. For months, I took poo samples and gradually figured out what feed mix allowed the beetles to prosper.

Now, Meat and Livestock Australia has taken up the research examining the role of dung beetles in improving soils and storing carbon.

And my soils? They've been transformed. Ground that was bare and had very little topsoil is now home to lush pastures, despite the lack of rain.

If only the federal government and our politicians could contribute as richly to our agriculture.

Not by pooing on it, I hasten to add, but by having a clear plan on how they are going to tackle climate change.

Out here in the country, we're on the front line of fires, floods and droughts.

Every year it seems as though another record falls: the hottest day, the driest winter, the wettest month.

Last year, Australia's state agriculture ministers agreed to advance a national plan on climate change and agriculture, but we're still waiting to see what shape that's going to take.

My husband and I have three kids who are all passionate about farming, who are involved in climate action and supportive of renewables.

But my family needs to know that our business has a future.

Without forward planning to mitigate and adapt to climate change, that future looks increasingly dicey.

I was delighted when the beef industry committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2030, and some farmers are already getting there and seeing biodiversity gains as well as modelling agricultural best practice. Carbon offset programs are also offering potential income streams for farmers.

But to meet that target as an industry, we need commitment from federal government to address the underlying causes of climate change and move towards a future powered by renewable energy.

And while I am keen to do my bit, I can't exactly spend my whole life collecting poo samples.

The future of our farms and our industry depends on politicians and us working towards a sustainable future.

We can all learn a lot from the humble dung beetle.

Carly Noble farms with her husband Darren at Arnold, Victoria and is a supporter of Farmers for Climate Action