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Farmers fear science cuts will put agriculture at risk

Editorial
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Australian farmers fear that sever job cuts at the CSIRO will make it harder for the agricultural industry to plan and cope with climate change.

News broke yesterday that hundreds of climate science jobs will be lost at CSIRO following an Australian Government's decision to cut $110 million from the peak science body's budget in 2014.

Australian Young Farmer of the Year 2015 Anika Molesworth said the industry was trying to produce more food for a growing production while grappling with increasingly unpredictable weather and more frequent extreme events like bushfires and heatwaves.

"The sad reality is that many of the regions already grappling with drought are expected to become hotter and drier. We know this because our leading scientists have the ability to forecast and forewarn. These early warning systems give farmers the upper-hand, by equipping them with the knowledge needed to make well-informed decisions," Ms Molesworth said.

"Climate change is impacting rainfall distribution, frequency and intensity, changing temperatures and creating more extreme weather events. It is having significant effects on both ecosystems that produce essential goods and services, and the ability of farmers to harness these environments to feed us."

Ms Molesworth said more, not less, knowledge and resources were needed in order for Australian farmers to stay productive and competitive.

"We cannot tackle the challenges of farming in the 21st century with 20th century practices and technologies alone. We must continually seek to improve our knowledge of the world, and to improve the ways in which we interact with it, if we want to keep providing the food and fibre required. Scientists help us do this."

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