Australia’s farmers are a living example of sustainability leading to better business and environmental outcomes, writes NAB Agribusiness Customer Executive Neil Findlay.
The word ‘sustainable’ is invoked frequently in the commercial world but, here in Australia, our farmers don’t just talk the talk – across the country, they’re walking the walk.
One of the most rewarding aspects of my role at NAB is the opportunity it affords to meet our customers and see their dedication to implementing more efficient and sustainable farming methods. Long-term planning and prudent management of natural capital and assets are second nature to those running Australia’s 85,000-plus farm businesses and the rural enterprises that service them.
Although the country no longer rides on the sheep’s back, primary production remains one of Australia’s largest and steadiest export industries, despite changing economic conditions and a variable climate. While the number of corporate farms has grown in recent years, farming is still very much a family affair in this country. For many individuals working the land, the concept that responsible stewardship leads to better results has been passed down through generations.
Weather-related events remain the top issue affecting confidence in the sector, according to the NAB Agribusiness Banker Survey Q1, 2019; hardly a surprise in the land of drought and flooding rain. Other recent bank research has found that soil health and energy costs are also regarded by farmers as significant business risks. Our customers are solutions-oriented people and three quarters of respondents indicated they were taking steps to address these issues.
As I’ve travelled through our farming communities I’ve been lucky enough to witness many innovative sustainable technologies and practices firsthand. Here are five important ways farmers are managing their resources to nurture their continuing health.