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Louth farmer a voice for the future

Jessica Murray with her son, Hubert Murray. Photo contributed

Jessica Murray, is one of just 20 national winners of a prestigious Farmers for Climate Action scholarship.

The Climate Smart Farming Scholarship was open to anyone involved in sustainable farming practices, the agricultural industry, business, or academia, on issues around climate change, with more than 230 applying.

Jessica applied for the scholarship when her home, on her family’s sheep station near Louth, was being cut off due to flooding in October last year. She thinks this experience and her interest in climate smart farming saw her secure one of the scholarships and have a voice in one of the most important challenges in the sector – sustainability.

For Jessica, the scholarship enabled access to a priceless pool of expertise, from Nobel Prize winners, internationally recognised climate experts, and the most up-to-date information available in Australia around building on-farm resilience to climate impacts.

Jessica said as well as elevating her own knowledge, skills and practices, the scholarship meant she could have positive impacts on the future of the farming industry, by sharing within her own community.

“The scholarship has been an incredible learning opportunity that I’m keen to put it into action,” she said.

“Over the past five months I’ve completed a farm carbon audit and am excited about the opportunities in renewable energy and sustainability measures for our farm business.

“A lot of what I learnt we can easily do, and the development of an easy and accessible national sustainability measure will strengthen our industry’s position in international markets.

“I would also love support to invest in new technologies and initiatives, with on-farm extension programs and financial supports such as instant tax write-offs for renewable energy investments.

“The farmers among the Farmers for Climate Action scholars are all keen to put what we’ve learnt into practice and bring the ideas home for our communities to take up and prosper,” Jessica said.

The scholarship gave Jessica the opportunity to study with industry leaders at some of Australia’s most prestigious universities, including the University of Melbourne and the Australian National University and ask globally recognised experts about the big visions – carbon accounting, climate science, the growing ecosystem services market, and the rapidly changing practices within the agricultural sector.

The scholarship ran from 28 November 2022 to 31 March 2023, involved approximately 10 hours of commitment each month online, and culminated with three days in Canberra in the last two weeks of March.

Jessica said the trip to the national capital allowed her to meet with politicians who had ‘skin in the game’, including Federal member for Parkes Mark Coulton. […]

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