The Australian Government today launched a new multi-million dollar research initiative to boost productivity and reduce carbon emissions across Australia's agricultural and forestry sectors.
Unveiling the new A$70 million CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship today Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr and Agriculture Minister Tony Burke said the research will aim to strike a balance between environmental concerns and the need for ongoing prosperity in the agriculture and forestry industries.
"This important public sector research initiative will help drive innovation across the economy by addressing the critical productivity and carbon management challenges facing these important industries," Senator Carr said.
"It will bolster Australian scientific expertise and encourage the development of new technologies to help address global food security.
The Flagship's goals over the next two decades are to support growth in productivity by 50% and to reduce the carbon emissions intensity of agriculture by at least 50%. This will effectively position Australia as a world leader in this field."
Mr Burke emphasised the collaborative approach the flagship teams will take, working with government, rural R&D corporations and peak agribusiness bodies and companies to produce practical, science-based policy.
"The big challenge is that we need to achieve significant levels of carbon abatement as well as substantial increases in the global production of food and fibre," Mr Burke said. "This research agenda will promote better understanding of soil carbon, biochar and methane emissions from livestock; improved farm management leading to greater productivity; and better management of our natural resources and ecosystems."
The Sustainable Agriculture Flagship brings the number of CSIRO Flagships to 10, and will complement a number of existing Flagships including the Food Futures Flagship and Climate Adaptation Flagship.