Recent rains have soaked many parts of Victoria, providing a momentary breather for farmers, but despite this welcome respite, primary producers simply cannot afford to return to business as usual.
Human beings burning fossil fuels for energy is causing our climate to change.
It is making droughts more frequent, bushfires more fierce and rain, when it does fall, more intense and damaging.
In order to thrive in this rapidly changing environment, farmers must embrace new technology and practices.
My husband and I farm Angus cattle in north-east Victoria, and we have found that having an adaptable plan is essential for the sustainability of our business.
After 18 months of very low rainfall, the perennial pastures at our Wangaratta property were in danger of being wiped out and stock water quality had deteriorated, so we decided to destock the property entirely.
Maintaining ground cover all year round is a priority and we are planning to try pasture cropping this year to provide more winter feed and increase soil organic matter to aid soil fertility and water retention.
We are continuing to subdivide our paddocks and install water troughs to facilitate our rotational grazing plan and allow pastures to regenerate between grazing.
Over the years, we have also invested in shade and shelterbelts to improve the wellbeing of our livestock, mitigate erosion and increase natural biodiversity.
It is an ongoing process but we think these actions will help increase our farm's productivity and resilience to climate impacts.
Australian governments need to fund long-term education and research programs that support farmers' adoption of new practices, to make the whole industry more climate-resilient.
But if we are going to achieve long-term food security, we must minimise climate change impacts too.
We have an opportunity to do this now, as governments look to rebuild the economy after COVID-19.
The stimulus funding can and should be used to reduce our country's dependence on fossil fuels, and invested in low-carbon renewable energy solutions instead.
We could all reap the benefits; a stable climate is good for industry and provides reliable jobs for workers.
Farmers may be celebrating the recent rain, but know that, even with increased business flexibility and resilience, climate action is needed to ensure long-term sustainability.
Jane Carney is a Victorian grazier and a Farmers for Climate Action supporter.
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