With the appointment of local farmer Kathleen Allan to the Climate Champion program, Yass is now a strong hub for addressing questions about managing climate variability and change on-farm.
Ms Allan, supported by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), is passionate about wool production, but is also keen to bring climate research to the paddock to ensure future research meets the needs of farmers who are managing scarce water and nutrient resources.
Ms Allan and her family grow superfine merino wool at Yass, as well as running an agricultural education business.
She joins two other new Climate Champion woolgrowers who are located in Longreach (Queensland), James Hegarty and James Walker, and 34 other farmers from around Australia from various industries.
“There is a lot of work being done about climate variability,” Ms Allan said.
“We need to use that research to develop practical, local solutions.”
For Ms Allan, managing climate variability is something that all farmers do, but having access to the latest research will mean better on-farm decisions and increasing the sustainability of their operation.
For example, she says it’s critical that she understands long-term climate trends and the impact on soil health and pasture production.
Ms Allan is excited about her opportunities.
“I want to draw on other producers’ experiences and the latest scientific developments to develop a toolkit for myself and other wool producers in the Yass area.”
Superfine-merino woolgrower John Ive completes the pair of Climate Champion participants in Yass. Mr Ive is a carbon-conscious farmer whose ultrafine flock is at the finest end of the spectrum, 14-micron fibres.
Mr Ive and wife Robyn use a mix of pasture systems that respond to rain. They have also transformed their property Talaheni meaning that they no longer have salinity problems.
For AWI, the Climate Champion program is another way to communicate about climate research, particularly the risks and opportunities of climate change, forecasting tools, and on-farm adaptations for woolgrowers.