Sustainability

"Our vision for sustainability is to enhance livelihoods, improve wellbeing and reduce our environmental impact so that Australia’s dairy industry is recognised worldwide as a responsible, responsive and prosperous producer of healthy food"
Australian Dairy Industry Sustainability Framework

Background

Globally

Today farmers are cultivating 1.5 billion hectares of arable land globally.

Since the turn of the century, the amount of arable land has been decreasing by about 1% a year due to erosion, degradation and urbanisationArable land has halved from 1.5 ha per person in 1960 to less than 0.8ha per person today.

On the other hand every minute the world population grows, adding another 158 more mouths to feed.

So obviously the majority of the additional food and clothing needed by 2050 is going to have to come from growing more food and fibre per hectare.

On top of this according to the WW Fund, today our global footprint exceeds the world’s capacity to regenerate by 50%.

So if we continue consuming as we do today we will need the equivalent of two planet earths by the mid 2030’s.
We only have one.

If agriculture is going to be sustainable how do we reduce waste and produce more food with less water, chemicals and fertiliser?
Science offers solutions.
To produce more from less will require enormous effort but it is possible there are enormous opportunities.
Increasing productivity and efficiency through sustainable intensification is the key High yielding and efficient systems use fewer inputs per kg of end product and have lower greenhouse gas emission.
Moreover these farming systems use less land leaving more space for nature, urbanisation and recreation.

Australia

In Australia our farmers look after 61% of the land mass, produce 93% of the food we eat, yet only have 6% of arable land to do this on.

Disturbingly Australia has one of the world's largest ecological footprints per capita. More than 50 percent of Australia's footprint is due to greenhouse gas emissions, with the average household emitting around 14 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. If all countries consumed the amount of resources that Australian's do, it would take three Earths to support their lifestyle.

The last 100 years has seen Australia become increasingly urbanised. An estimated 89 percent of Australians now live in urban areas, with no close links to rural communities and little knowledge about the production of their food and fibre. It’s equally troubling that farmers are also gradually losing touch with urban communities through their interaction with modern supply chains.

The diversity and complexity of the modern Australian economy now means greater competition for resources, including land, water and people, among all sectors. A greater awareness of the role agriculture plays in supporting our cities will contribute to informed decision making around resource allocation.

It’s clear that to move forward and meet the escalating food and fibre needs of our cities, as well as satisfy the community's expectations about environmental sustainability; both rural and urban communities must have a greater understanding of one another. This can only happen when a common ground for communication and knowledge-sharing is found.

On Farm

In recent years most Australian farmers have adjusted their farming practices to improve the animal husbandry and environmental and economic sustainability outcomes of their farming systems.

Sustainable farming systems are generally agreed to have the following characteristics:

Sustainability isn’t only about the environment, it’s also about good animal husbandry practices, contributing to local communities, and ensuring that farming is economically viable for future generations.

To see how Australian farmers are working towards a sustainable future please visit:

The Australian Cattle and Sheep Industry and Sustainably

The Australian Cotton Industry and Sustainability

The Australia Dairy Industry and Sustainability

The Australian Wool Industry and Sustainability

The Australian Grains Industry and Sustainability

Natural Resource Management