Chris Clarke points a finger out the window of the Landcruiser at a boggy patch of paddock just below the house on her property Baringa, south of Cooma. A few weeks ago water began to seep to the surface of the barren creek bed, a sign, she had hoped, of better things to come. It didn't last long.
"In a good year the water becomes so deep you couldn't get a car across it, but it hasn't been like that in a long time," she sighs. Having already reduced her herd of Angus from about 200 down to 140, with the prospect of another three months of dry conditions predicted her family is now facing having to sell off some of the breeding stock.
In her 40 years carving a living out of the harsh landscape of the Monaro region she has seen plenty of dry years, but this time it feels different.
"There are people around here who still say, 'it's just a cycle', but it's more than that. When you look at what's happening, look at the data and what the scientists are telling us, it's pretty clear it's part of a bigger change."
Clarke is one of a growing number of farmers around the country increasingly calling on the federal government to take the issue of climate change more seriously and start enacting deeper, more meaningful actions.
On Monday an unlikely delegation will head to Parliament House to add their voices to a growing chorus calling for an urgent rethink to the government's current climate change policies.
The group, Farmers for Climate Action, will attempt to present Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie with a petition signed by more than 5000 farmers from across the country calling for the development of a comprehensive strategy to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
They will also present politicians from rural and regional electorates with a research report from the Australian Farm Institute warning of threats to the nation's long-term food security and a potential collapse of parts of the agriculture sector without a comprehensive action plan.
One of those headed to Canberra on Monday will be fourth-generation Crookwell sheep grazier Charlie Prell.
Prell, who hosts wind turbines on his property, says farmers across the country are seeing direct evidence of climate change in their paddocks and are speaking up.
"I'm 62, and it really concerns me that at my own property what's happening now was predicted for the 2030s and we're not even in the 2020s yet," he says.
According to the latest Bureau of Meteorology State of the Climate report April to October rainfall has declined about 11 per cent in southeast Australia since the late 1990s. In the west it's closer to 20 per cent.
"It gets my goat up a bit when I hear politicians lauding farmers for taking action environmentally in relationship to their stewardship of the land with absolutely no incentive from government and no recognition other than a quick thank you," Prell says.
He has spent weeks travelling across regional communities presenting the latest data and research from the Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian National University Climate Change Institute and other organisations talking about the risks, but also the opportunities available to the agriculture sector. He says traditionally conservative farmers are becoming disillusioned with the rhetoric emanating from both major parties.
Opportunity amid risk
According to the Farm Institute's report, being launched today, agriculture contributes 17 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions and a further 7-14 per cent through land use change.
The report estimates the cost of climate change adaption at 2 per cent of GPD for developed countries like Australia but says there are opportunities for landholders to benefit from the transition to a lower carbon economy, such as through hosting wind farms or better yields through improving their soils.
The launch of the report adds to moves in federal Parliament to put climate change firmly on the national agenda. The Greens, supported by several crossbench MPs, have put forward a motion for the federal Parliament to declare a climate emergency.
So far, 45 local councils and the ACT have declared a climate emergency in Australia, covering about 20 per cent of the population. Globally, close to 1000 local and regional jurisdictions, including the City of London, have declared climate emergencies since 2016.
Critics of climate emergency declarations have labelled the movement left-wing propaganda.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week defended the government's record, rejecting claims that Australia was not doing its fair share of the heavy lifting. But Mr Morrison has also said he would not be attending the United Nations Climate Summit in New York later this month, despite being in America during the event.
On Tuesday the minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, said during an interview he didn't know if climate change was man-made, while One Nation Senator Malcolm Roberts also used a parliamentary debate on proposed farm invasion laws to warn of a Greens-led ideological assault on Australian farmers.
But an increasing number of conservatives are now voicing their concerns. On Wednesday former Liberal leader John Hewson lent his support to the Greens' motion, calling for Coalition MPs to be given a conscience vote on the issue.
"[Coalition MPs should] declare their stance on climate so that they're accountable to their constituents, they're accountable to their children and their grandchildren, they're accountable to future generations," Dr Hewson said.
Earlier this month the Australian Medical Association joined other international health organisations in declaring climate change a health emergency. And when the British parliament declared a climate emergency in May, conservative MPs were instructed not to oppose the Labour-led motion.
On Friday Canberra students will again march join the next round of global climate strikes.
Prell says while there is a national groundswell of support for greater action, the message is still not getting through to some politicians.
"I understand the dynamics of the political paradigm in Australia. Unfortunately the climate has been front and centre of parochialism in relation to the environment, but that has led to inaction."
While many councils have been eager to add their names to the scores lining up to declare climate emergencies, not all have been as enthusiastic.
In August the Snowy Monaro Regional Council to Canberra's south rejected a proposal to declare a climate emergency.
Mayor Peter Beer says while there was general agreement of the need to act, there was concern about what such a resolution would actually achieve.
"I had a concern that we were dabbling in state and federal issues rather than concentrating on local issues. We don't make legislation at the local government level, we're not going to be stopping coal mining or export."
Nationals Senator and Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie says the government is already taking strong action on climate issues and incentivising farmers to adopt new practices and technologies to reduce their emissions.
"For example, emissions reduction and sequestration projects on the land represent a $1.9 billion investment through the Emissions Reduction Fund. Our $1.1 billion investment in Landcare is promoting the adoption of sustainable natural resource management practices and improved resilience to climate risks," a spokeswoman for the minister said.
The $34 million Agriculture Stewardship Program, announced in the 2019-20 budget, was also aimed at promoting the adoption of practices to improve sustainability and productivity.
In October the Agricultural Ministers' Forum will also consider a paper on a national approach to support the agriculture sector to adapt to a changing climate.
But as she pulls another expensive bail of feed off the back of the truck for the hungry cows that have followed her from the shed, Clarke says she isn't overly optimistic of meaningful change any time soon.
"When you listen to them go on, I just don't think they understand what's really happening out here. There are simple things they could do to help. It hasn't been this bad for this long before, I'm worried about the future."