In the Field
Farm Visit 18.12.2017
Hi folks, Michael Kane here
As the Farmers for Climate Action, Queensland Coordinator, I spend a lot of time on the road - meeting with farmers from the rich fertile plains of the Darling Downs, through to the spectacular beauty of the rugged outback, and the richly perfumed humidity of sub-tropical cane fields.
Right across Queensland, farmers and graziers are angry about their rights being trampled by fossil fuel barons and concerned about damage to our climate.
Last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Viv Dodt and Michelle Ready and learning about the incredible efforts our cane farmers are going to in order to protect the Great Barrier Reef and maintain a sustainable sugar-cane industry for generations to come.
Viv and Michelle
The Dodt and Ready family own and operate a 200 acre cane farm near Eungella; bordering State Forest and National Park. Viv Dodt is a fourth generation cane farmer and his Great Grandfather was a pioneer cane grower in the district in the 1890’s. Viv’s parents bought their property in the 1960’s, following the land management trends of the time and developing a thriving sugar cane farm.
After taking over the management of the property, Viv and Michelle are gradually forging their own path. As leaders in sustainability, Viv and Michelle set about revegetating the farm over the following decades. Some mature emergent rainforest remains with regrowth establishing itself and biodiversity being restored.
Of course, keeping their saplings alive isn’t the only thing on Viv and Michelle’s minds. As farmers on the front line of climate change, Viv and Michelle are all too well aware of impacts of extreme weather events, rising sea levels and damage to the eco-system services on which healthy and productive agricultural systems are dependent.
Michelle and a conservation volunteer revegetating their paddock.
The fate of the nearby Great Barrier Reef also weighs heavily on their hearts and as custodians of the land, Viv and Michelle are working with the industry to minimise agriculture’s impact on one of the planet’s most loved natural treasures.
The day I visited, they were busily revegetating a 7 acre paddock formerly used for intensive cane growing. 500 native trees were planted! Viv and Michelle estimate that they have spent about $10 000 of their own money on the project and are progressively revegetating parts of their farm to improve soil conservation and environmental values.
The end of a solid days work!
Viv and Michelle take their responsibility to the land, and to future generations seriously - quite literally putting their money where their mouth is, and doing all they can to farm sustainably.
Which is why they are completely baffled about the support from Federal and State Government for the environmentally destructive Adani project. They know how precious and expensive water is for farmers and yet Adani has been granted a free, unlimited groundwater licence for mine dewatering purposes.
Viv believes that once the groundwater is gone, it will disappear forever and completely change the environment and ruin the livelihoods and rural communities that rely on the Great Artesian Basin for their existence.
That's without even mentioning the craziness of building new thermal coal mines to pump out more CO2 at a time when we need to be reducing our emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change!
Take a look at the interview I did with Viv here: