Sustainability on the to-do list

By Hugh Christie on
02 June 2023

The impact of methane has become a focal point of climate change policy and a topic of public discourse concerning livestock and dairy production. However, it is important not to overlook the fact that methane emissions from livestock can be offset through the capture of carbon in above and below-ground biomass.

Australian beef producers, for instance, have made significant strides in achieving carbon-neutral or low-carbon systems by implementing practices that enable them to store more carbon dioxide (CO2) than is emitted from their farming operations.

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It is worth noting that both the dairy and red meat sectors have made commitments to the Net Zero initiatives by 2030. Moreover, the global dairy sector is dedicated to the United Nations Sustainability Development Goals, underscoring its commitment to environmental sustainability.

In an exciting development, the Australian beef industry is set to release its Annual Update of the Australian Beef Sustainability Framework on June 8. This framework will provide 50 Indicators of Sustainability, publicly tracking the industry's Carbon Neutral Target.

Since the baseline year of 2004, the Australian beef industry has successfully reduced net emissions by an impressive 57.6%. This achievement has been made possible through a combination of productivity improvements and effective vegetation management practices.

It is clear that the industry is actively taking steps to address sustainability concerns while meeting the challenge of feeding our population.

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In the quest for sustainability and nourishing our growing global population, dairy products offer a compelling solution. They provide high nutritional value while comparably emitting lower levels of carbon throughout their production cycle.

Our health depends on good nutrition, and agriculture plays a critical role in providing nutrient-rich foods essential for a balanced diet. Dairy, in particular, offers a food system that delivers good-quality, affordable, and nutrient-dense food.

As we move forward, it is crucial that we embrace innovation in providing food security and nutrition to the ever-expanding global population. This entails ensuring profitability across the supply chain while actively contributing to environmental sustainability.

The dairy sector, along with other agricultural industries, must continue to seek new ways to reduce their environmental impact, manage resources efficiently, and advance biodiversity. These efforts are essential for the continuous improvement of the dairy sector and its vital role in nourishing the world.

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By harnessing the potential of sustainable practices and collaborating across the industry, we can create a future where dairy production meets the demands of a growing population ensuring the environment is left for future generations better than we found it.

This includes working with innovative Tasmanian businesses such as Sea Forest, who are actively working on solutions to assist our livestock industries improve their sustainability through seqweed based supplements.

The time for innovation, cooperation, and sustainable solutions is now, and the beef and dairy sectors are well-positioned to lead the way, combined with the whole supply chain in Tasmania and Australia for shared solutions.

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