Cam Laurie: Future farming – in a changing climate.

A fifth generation beef farmer from the Gloucester district, Cam began adult life travelling in a different direction. An Industrial Design degree completed, family loss saw Cam returning to the family farm to help after his father’s death.

Workshop brief: Future farming – in a changing climate.
How do we conduct the business of running a farm in a changing climate? Strategies and management tools to help allay some of the effects of climate change. How might agriculture be part of the solution? A rambling discussion!

A chance mention of drought-proofing the farm in 2007 while listening to the Country Hour saw Cam seeking out the thoughts of renowned American microbiologist Elaine Ingham and her Soil Food Web. I enrolled in her two week course in 2008 and a whole new world opened up to me. Elaine was telling us that if we look after the organisms within a soil we can see much greater water use efficiencies and much less need for fertilisers.

Trials using composts and other biological soil conditioners were very encouraging, but further training in Holistic Management made him realise that it was not the only answer. He began to realise many of the problems that are experienced in farming and grazing are actually a result of poor management practises and that bandaid applications of any product do little to solve these problems. Rather one needed to address and change or at least take into consideration these practises to help solve them.

It’s about keeping your eyes and ears truly open and observing all the effects of your practises rather than just the ones you are hoping to see.