By Ian McConnel
I’m Ian McConnel, and as well as being a 5th generation beef farmer from Queensland, I am WWF-Australia’s global lead on beef farming and the environment. Earlier this year I spent a few days in central Queensland doing one of my favourite things - talking to other farmers about their passion for the land and the ways in which they run their farm to reduce the impact on the environment and even improve environmental outcomes.
This particular trip was to help make a film about Project Pioneer. Since 2012, WWF and our on-the-ground partner, RCS (an advisory and training service for the agricultural sector), have been working with cattle graziers in the main river catchments of the Great Barrier Reef.
The Reef faces many challenges, with climate change being the major long-term threat. But there are activities that can help support the Reef’s resilience to this and other threats.
One of those is to reduce the impact of sediment running off the land and onto the Reef. At a farm level that can mean adopting practices that improve water and soil retention, which happily for the grazier can also lead to raised productivity and profitability.
I don’t want to be a spoiler for the video, but even I was struck by the depth of emotion and sense of pride coming from these inspiring and pioneering cattle graziers who are a part of the solution to help save the Great Barrier Reef.