The $5 billion Future Drought Fund is an investment by the Australian Government to build drought resilience in Australia’s agriculture sector, landscapes and communities. Each year, $100 million is made available to help Australian farms and communities prepare for the impacts of drought.
2024 Nuffield Scholar
Scholar to build industry's regenerative ag resources
Splitting her time between working as an agronomist and in her family's Queensland beef operation, Claudia Benn is well-versed in regenerative agriculture, She plans to use her 2024 Nuffield Scholarship to extend the work already done, helping Australian farmers to deepen their understanding of how to farm profitably in alignment with natural systems.
Claudia is one of five recipients of the Future Drought Fund scholarship.
“Biological relationships between soil, microbes, plants, animals, and people are the basis of our agricultural system, yet the importance of these relationships is often overlooked,” Claudia says.
“As a result, the incredible complexity of the natural systems we are managing as primary producers can go unrecognised. Individual components tend to be isolated and manipulated without understanding how that impacts these inextricably linked biological relationships, or the flow on effect for our ecosystem and community.
“There is no prescription or silver bullet for effectively managing the environmental challenges we are facing in a changing climate; however, I believe gaining a deeper understanding of how our management decisions impact natural processes by being inquisitive about what we’re doing and why is a good place to start.”
Claudia's Scholarship will take her to France, New Zealand, Canada, and the US. She will visit innovative industry leaders and researchers in the regenerative agriculture space, as well as places with environmental similarities to Australia.
“I want to better understand root causes and bring my learnings home to change the way I think, farm and educate. I then want to support farmers to trial and experiment, get creative with problem solving, and be curious about better ways of farming,” Claudia says of her plans to share her research.
“I believe that if we can deepen our understanding of the importance of cultivating biological relationships, we can farm more in alignment with complex natural processes, and the result will be more profitable and resilient farming systems, communities, and agricultural industry.”
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