AgriFutures Australia invests in research, leadership, innovation and learning to support industries that do not have their own research and development function, new and emerging industries, and the issues that affect the whole of agriculture.
2024 Nuffield Scholar
Scholar seeks to understand the land-use change implications of the transition to net zero emissions
Taking over her family’s cattle and cropping farm two years ago has been a period of “rapid learning” for scholar Sally Higgins. Sally now looks forward to continuing to learn about the large-scale land use changes resulting from climate change as a result of a 2024 Nuffield Scholarship. Specifically, she aims to examine how Australian agriculture and farming communities will be impacted by the various land-based climate solutions required to meet net zero emissions and how farmers and farming communities can best respond to the opportunities that will emerge
“The transition to net zero is a live challenge in Australia," Sally says.
“Careful planning and preparation is needed to ensure that agriculture doesn’t shoulder the burden of the transition to net zero and that farming communities are positioned to fairly benefit from the change that will occur".
For Sally, this topic hits close to home, with several wind and solar projects within her region – Queensland's Darling Downs. She brings a passion for connecting with farmers and regional community members to elevate their perspectives into government policy and program desi.
As well as operating her farm, Sally is also an agricultural strategy consultant with Nous Group and advises all levels of government on agricultural sustainability, land use change and climate resilience. Through her engagement with agricultural stakeholders, regional community members and government decision makers, she has a deep understanding of the current challenges facing the agricultural sector in Australia.
Sally hopes to deepen this understanding through her Nuffield scholarship research. She plans to visit counties that have taken a range of approaches to land-use change in response to net zero targets and environmental pledges. Researching best practices, she plans to test how different government, industry, and community responses could be applied here in Australia. She is keen to uncover what lessons have been learned overseas and how we can avoid repeating any mistakes.
“There is a clear policy implementation gap in Australia. Current approaches to implementing sustainable agriculture policy are failing to adequately bring farmers and regional communities along the journey, and to adequately position regional stakeholders to fairly benefit from the many opportunities to come from the transition to net zero.”
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