Farmers hopeful but unrecognised in the fight against climate change, global research reveals
Melbourne, 22 September 2023 – Farmers around the world have spoken: climate change is having a significant impact on farms. On average, farmers estimate that their incomes had reduced by 15.7 per cent due to climate change over the past two years.
This is according to the Farmer Voice survey, an independent global research project commissioned by life science company Bayer that brings to light the views of farmers from across eight countries worldwide, including Australia. The project also surveyed farmers from the US, Brazil, Germany, Ukraine, China, India, and Kenya.
“The survey is the first of its kind to ask farmers worldwide what’s happening on their farm. The results have highlighted the common challenges of climate change and economic pressures being faced by farmers around the world, and brought to light some regional differences,” said Warren Inwood, Managing Director for Bayer Crop Science Australia.
The results revealed that, regardless of location, farmers were already feeling the effects of climate change, with 71 per cent stating that it has had a large impact on their farm in the past two years. Three quarters placed climate change as a major concern for their future.
“A uniting challenge for farmers around the world is climate change. Farmers are already experiencing its adverse effects on their fields. And they expect this challenge to deepen,” said Mr Inwood.
Economic pressure a standout challenge for Australian farmers
For Australian farmers, farm economics are particularly top of mind compared to their international peers.
Australians were particularly concerned about farm costs and access to finance. Energy costs were a top challenge for 78 per cent of Australian farmers compared to 47 per cent globally. Australians were also more likely to state that better access to finance and support in relation to financial risk would benefit their farms than their international peers.
“While economic pressures were felt by all farmers in the survey, we’re hearing that it’s been particularly challenging for Australian farmers,” said Mr Inwood.
Farmers squeezed between climate change and the economy
The research project revealed that farmers are tackling a multitude of problems with limited compensation and recognition.
“Farmers are on the frontline dealing with the direct impacts of climate change on their farms every day. They are expected to look after the environment and tackle the global emissions problem all while under enormous economic pressure,” said Mr Inwood.
Although the world’s farmers are facing a wide array of challenges, 80 per cent are already taking or planning to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Steps include adoption of cover crops, innovative seeds or renewable energy.
In Australia, renewable energy has been, or is in the process of being, implemented by 72 per cent of farmers. And on average Australians are around three times more likely than their international peers to be investigating opportunities to sequester carbon.
Despite these efforts, these environmental stewardship activities are rarely compensated.
“All farmers surveyed agreed that the huge amount of work done to steward the environment should be compensated. Farmers play an irreplaceable role in nourishing the world, yet 88 per cent of them feel they do not receive the credit they deserve,” said Mr Inwood.
The Farmer Voice project revealed that, regardless of these difficulties, farmers remain optimistic, with 71 per cent feeling positive about the future of farming.
“While farmers are incredibly resilient, more can be done to support them. We need to come together to provide farmers with the tools, technologies, financing and recognition to help them continue growing food and fibre for local and international consumers,” said Mr Inwood.
“Bayer began this research project wanting to capture the voice of farmers around the world and share it with the public. We’ve now heard what they have to say. It’s a call to action for the entire food system to innovate, collaborate and deliver the solutions farmers need.”
This is the first year of the Farmer Voice survey led by Bayer. It is expected that the project will continue yearly to track the results over time and continue sharing the perspectives of farmers around the world.
To find out more about the Farmer Voice survey, visit www.bayer.com/en/agriculture/farmer-voice.
Bayer is a global enterprise with core competencies in the life science fields of health care, nutrition and agriculture. Its products and services are designed to help people and planet thrive by supporting efforts to master the major challenges presented by a growing and aging global population. Bayer is committed to drive sustainable development and generate a positive impact with its businesses. The company has operated in Australia since 1925 and has a long-term commitment to the health and nutrition of all Australians. Locally, Bayer currently employs almost 900 people across the country and is dedicated to servicing the needs of rural and remote communities. The Bayer brand stands for trust, reliability and quality throughout the world. For more information, go to crop.bayer.com.au.
Shaun Lindhe, phone +61 476 840 604
Ryan Ong, phone +61 439 575 559