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Helping Australian farmers plan for change: Rural Bank releases new Climate Report.

16 April 2024 |Media release

Rural Bank is pleased to release its first Climate Report for primary producers, an in-depth compilation of likely and predicted scenarios that agribusiness can consider and factor into forward management planning.

The new Climate Report is a welcome addition to the Bank’s popular Knowledge and Insights hub, where the Rural Bank Insights team releases regular research and analysis into commodities, farmland values, business performance and topical agricultural issues. As legislation and related commercial changes around climate and emissions reporting begins to impact farmers, this report provides trusted guidance for the sector.

Andrew Smith, Rural Bank Head of Development, Business & Agribusiness said: “Rural Bank sees agribusiness as having an increasingly important role to play in reducing emissions. Understanding the projected impacts regionally and how carbon mitigation programmes work is something we are keen to help Australian farmers better understand”.

“Regulators aside, consumers, buyers and suppliers are increasingly seeking information on the sources and sustainability of the food and other agricultural produce they are purchasing. We expect this information to increasingly be a factor in contract and procurement decisions, at the checkout and from export markets considering buying Australian produce amidst competing exports from other countries.

“While the Report explores climate change in reference to average global temperature change, changes to Australia’s climate will vary regionally. The amount of change could potentially have very large economic and geopolitical impacts and warrants greater understanding to aid decision-making based on best available information.

“Planning to improve the productivity and climate resilience of a property can lead to greater understanding of the farm as a business. We see this process - and actively planning to reduce greenhouse gas emissions - as ultimately leading to a better business overall”, Mr Smith said.

The Climate Report calls for more focussed research to improve the economic feasibility and broader role that agriculture and land management can play in reaching agreed emission reduction targets.

Mr Smith said: “The report provides background on the growth of carbon markets in agribusiness in Australia and guidance for farmers to consider and apply going forward”.

“Technological solutions to reduce emissions also appeal to financial markets because new technologies, new patents and protected markets can provide a commercial advantage. The transport sector has benefited from innovations arising from investment of risk capital, yet agriculture is benefitting far less from investment in carbon reduction or sequestration technologies. This should change”, Mr Smith said.

“The changing climate is a long-term, difficult and at times controversial topic to address and planning for this change will be challenging. Rural Bank is committed to providing periodic updates to our customers to help clarify and sift through the torrent of information in community discussions that might obscure clear business judgement for the medium to longer term.

“There are no penalties for delaying a business decision to take up carbon farming opportunities, but there may be commercial disadvantages for businesses not reporting on their greenhouse gas emissions when asked - and taking steps to minimise them.

“Rural Bank is committed to continuing to support strategic business decision-making across the range of issues in the farming landscape, including addressing the impacts of climate change, understanding market access barriers associated with emissions quantification and the opportunities that carbon farming presents”, Mr Smith concluded

Disclaimer: Whilst all care has been taken in compiling the information, the information should not be relied upon as substitute for professional advice where necessary. Rural Bank accepts no responsibility for the accuracy, completeness or timeliness of the information and disclaims all liability in relation to any loss or damage suffered by the use of or reliance upon any information contained herein or in any attachment or annexure hereto by any person. Rural Bank – A Division of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank Limited ABN 11 068 049 178 AFSL 237879

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