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
Brushing up on agroforestry knowledge to improve drought resilience
Agroforestry is a key component of Taylors Run, the farming business Michael Taylor operates with his wife, Milly, and parents, Jon and Vicki.
Over four decades operating the business, the Taylors have realised persistent challenges that hinder the widespread adoption of agroforestry.
Now, Michael hopes to address these challenges through a 2024 Nuffield scholarship supported by the Future Drought Fund.
"There are two key issues," Michael says.
"Limited access to suitable processing technology and skills for small agroforestry enterprises, and the persistent need to cultivate a culture of small-scale forestry in regions dominated by grazing and cropping. In other words, the need to build the social capital that supports agroforestry adoption sustainably.”
"Mechanised harvesting and value-added processes can enhance profitability for small-scale forestry, while education and awareness campaigns are crucial to promote agroforestry benefits such as drought resilience, mental health, tourism and increased profitability."
Michael says trees will be a prime solution for farm drought resilience and carbon sequestration into the future, and that demand from farmers for more information continues to grow. His scholarship will build on Scholar Stephen Briggs' 2012 research into agroforestry and more recently Frank Miller’s 2019 report on integrated grazing in African mahogany plantations.
"Stephen's work is a great resource in agroforestry activities globally and his work continues on addressing adoption rates in the UK. However, there's now room for more research."
Michael will travel to Scandinavia, France, New Zealand, China, India and North America. He says this work will help achieve Meat and Livestock Australia and Australian Wool Innovation's 2030 net zero commitments.
"Agroforestry will be a significant driver to achieving the net zero goals, as well as adding resilience to grazing and cropping operations.
"Tree carbon has been shown to be a significant factor for carbon sequestered on farm and also as a potential increased profit driver."
Ph: 0412 332 484