I locked horns, so to speak, with many federal politicians during my time reporting for Aunty on rural issues from Canberra.
Agriculture and Environment Ministers were well and truly on my radar. Most I respected, some I did not, regardless of their political masters.
I respected those that showed vision, listened to all sides and negotiated a good outcome. Self-interest was not their motivation.
Around the same time, I did countless interviews with the CSIRO as scientists researched bovine methane emissions and started investigating ways to reduce the greenhouse gases in cow farts and burps.
The Rio Earth Summit set up the CoP meetings, and we have just seen Aussie farmers dodge a bullet when Australia refused to support Joe Biden's call to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 at CoP26.
But the farm sector is well and truly part of the equation if we seriously want to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.
I hear a lot of farmers talk about regenerative agriculture. However, I am afraid it's a bit of a buzzword with no clear definition and could become over-used, like sustainable, resilient and passionate.
Many farmers, especially younger farmers, are tech-savvy, well educated and determined to build soil carbon, reduce artificial fertiliser use, increase biodiversity, improve the cycling of nutrients and water in their farming system and reduce high energy inputs.
Banks, consumers, investors, and governments will demand more of the farm sector and require landholders to demonstrate their social licence to farm.
Farmers should be demanding more of the politicians, especially those claiming to represent rural and regional voters with regard to climate change policy.
The Nationals' party room message in the run-up to CoP26 was like that of a recalcitrant youth or anti-vaxer - 'nobody is going to tell me what to do'.
A federal election looms, and the broader electorate is sick of an absence of policy, u-turns, vote-buying and blatant self-interest.
The community and farmers, in particular, deserve leadership from governments and a climate change roadmap that has their input - a plan with vision and a strategy that goes beyond the next election.
- Robin McConchie, retired rural reporter
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