Tuesday, August 15, 2006

We meet with the NFF

If "bad science" is science you disagree with and "good science" is science you agree with, and charming, intelligent people are people you agree with, then the new President of the National Farmers' Federation, David Crombie, is a charming, intelligent man. The Coalition's Convenor Michael Kiely met with Mr Crombie and his natural resource management expert Dr Vanessa Findlay in Canberra on 15 August, 2006. Mr Crombie was eager to hear of the Coalition's mission and progress to date. The NFF is in full listening mode after releasing a paper called "Emissions Trading and the Land" in April 2006. (It is available on www.nff.org.au). Mr Crombie practices what communications expert Hugh Mackay calles "Active Listening". He engaged fully with our message. He explained that "Sustainability" is one of 4 key focus areas for the NFF and he could see how farming with an eye to increasing soil carbon could move farming in that direction. Even better, he liked our message about carbon farming as low input/high regeneration, revealing that he has sown perennial pastures with great results just recently. But the bell really rang when he said his personal philosophy of agriculture is based on the concept of "stewardship". This concept sits smack in the sweet spot of the Carbon Coalition's mission. We hope to use carbon credits to enable farmers to act upon their innate feelings of stewardship or sense of responsibility for leaving the natural resource base of their farms in better condition than when they first took over. David Crombie believes there should be and will be some economic incentive for this to happen. Dr Findlay is right across this issue and knows of the work we have been doing. Both were aware of the contribution Dr Christine Jones has made to this issue. The Coalition will continue to liaise with the NFF and the NSW Farmers' who also gave us a great deal of encouragement. Encouragement is all we can hope for and all we really need.

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