Consumer and community support, market access, reduced risk of government regulatory intervention, access to funding or lower-cost capital, and climate resilience are driving the industry's push towards being carbon neutral by 2030.
What has been more difficult for the average producer to put their finger on is how to take the first practical steps.
That's why the 10 ways for producers to be on the front foot with carbon neutrality presented by Meat & Livestock Australia's sustainability program manager Doug McNicholl at a webinar is possibly the most valuable extension advice doing the rounds at the moment.
Here they are:
- Arm yourself with the right knowledge - identify your emissions sources, know what carbon storage options are available and document them in a carbon account.
- Consider management practices to improve livestock diet, breeding efficiency or structure to reduce methane emissions per kilogram of live weight produced.
- Consider energy-efficient or renewable energy technologies.
- Identify shade and shelter options on farm. Integrate trees and shrubs into grazing systems for improved carbon storage and animal health and biodiversity benefits.
- Consider the potential for savanna fire management methods to avoid emissions and improve carbon storage.
- Monitor and record active dung beetle populations.
- Plan for delivery and distribution of new feeds and supplements which reduce methane emissions.
- Establish deep-rooted, palatable pastures and legumes to improve soil carbon levels and lift animal productivity.
- Consider what mix of pastures, legumes and trees is suitable to maintain livestock productivity in future weather and climate scenarios.
- Look at collaborative supply chain arrangements to mitigate financial and market risks as well as the impact on business inputs and output.
One of key call outs in the 2030 strategy developed by the industry's overarching body, the Red Meat Advisory Council, is the aspiration to double the value of red meat sales by 2030 at same time as reaching a carbon neutral position.
CSIRO analysis shows it's possible to achieve the bold CN30 promise without reducing herd and flock numbers below the rolling 10-year average up to 2015 of 25 million cattle, 70m sheep and half a million goats.