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Environment and Livestock Find a Single Voice

04 March 2008

AUSTRALIA - With climate change and greenhouse gas emissions two of the biggest issues facing agriculture Meat & Livestock Australia has bolstered its ‘green’ credentials by employing one of Australia’s leading experts in the field.

Dr Beverley Henry, who joined MLA this month, is one of the nation’s most distinguished greenhouse gas and environment researchers and has a wealth of experience in greenhouse gas measurement and climate change policy development.

Dr Henry, who was previously the Principal Scientist with the Queensland Climate Change Centre of Excellence, has had a distinguished career that has included helping compile the National Greenhouse Gas Inventory, being a project leader at the CRC for Greenhouse Accounting and representing the Queensland Government on issues relating to climate change science.


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"Agriculture, and more specifically livestock production, has often been at the centre of the environment debate, whether it be greenhouse gas emissions, water usage or land use impacts"
Dr Ian Johnsson, MLA’s General Manager of Livestock Production Innovation

Dr Ian Johnsson, MLA’s General Manager of Livestock Production Innovation said the addition of Dr Henry to MLA’s R&D division is a great gain not just for MLA but also the wider industry.

“Agriculture, and more specifically livestock production, has often been at the centre of the environment debate, whether it be greenhouse gas emissions, water usage or land use impacts and we need to ensure the industry is well represented in future debates and discussions about these topics.

“The recent release of the interim report of the Garnaut Climate Change Review highlighted the difficulties in effectively and accurately measuring greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, and this indicates just how important it is for Australia’s livestock industries to be in a position to provide a science-based and balanced voice to any future environmental debates.”

Dr Johnsson said MLA is actively setting about ensuring the company and the industry can effectively tackle the broader environmental issues currently facing livestock producers.

“For example, we are in the final stages of a two-year on-farm ‘Life cycle analysis’ study that will provide accurate figures on the amount of water and energy used to produce a kilogram of beef.

“We are also investing heavily in R&D that aims to reduce the amount of methane released by livestock, as well as identifying on-farm production techniques that improve both environmental sustainability and on-farm productivity. MLA will continue to collaborate with other agriculture research bodies, rural groups and environment organisations to help the red meat and livestock industry meet the challenges of climate change.”

Dr Johnsson said that the Australian livestock grazing industries had made a significant contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, something that is not reflected in the greenhouse gas accounting standards used for the livestock industry.

“It is only major reductions in net emissions from agriculture which allows Australia to claim that it will go close to meeting its Kyoto target. The Australian Greenhouse Office estimates that most of this reduction has come from land use changes, and in particular the phasing out of broad scale tree clearing, which has reduced Australia’s net emissions by 76 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents per year,” Dr Johnsson said.

“The savings in net emissions each year due to these changes more than offsets the total gross emissions attributed to red meat production each year by the Australian Greenhouse Office.

“The red meat industry has reduced its own total gross emissions by 6 percent and reduced emissions per tonne of production by more than 12 percent as a result of efficiency gains made since 1990.”

Dr Henry’s role as MLA’s Manager, Environment, Sustainability & Climate Change will involve developing policy and research priorities for MLA in relation to climate change, sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as providing expert advice on new and emerging environment-related issues.

ThePoultrySite News Desk



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