Climate Smart Farming, Forestry & Carbon Neutral
Red Meat

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Hosted by: Australian Forest Products Association and the National Farmers Federation (Australia)

Summary: Climate Smart Farming with Forestry is essential to meet the challenges of climate change whilst ensuring the world’s food and fiber needs.

Speakers: This session will feature the story of Mark Wootton an Australian farmer whose data backed approach has doubled productivity and increased biodiversity outcomes on his farm – Jigsaw Farms, whilst becoming carbon neutral. Hint: it includes growing trees for timber production.

It will also highlight ‘Farming for the Future’, a project which seeks to galvanize the adoption of land-based mitigation measures by mapping the financial and productivity returns of farmers investing in nature capital on their farms across different climatic zones of Australia.

Finally, the audience will hear from Sam Elsom from Sea Forest, an environmental technology company commercialising the at scale cultivation and supply of, Asparagopsis – a feed supplement that can reduce methane emission in ruminants by up to 98%. We will hear about the opportunities Asparagopsis is providing regional communities in Tasmania as the company pioneers the development of a new and environmentally positive industry for Australia.

Date and Time: Saturday 12 Nov 2022 – 10am (EET)

Location: International Chamber of Commerce Pavilion and online

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Diana Gibbs

Chair of the Australian Forest Products Association

Diana is a resource economist with a Master in Environmental Studies and has over forty years’ experience as a consultant working across the forestry, agriculture, and mining sectors, with specific experience on economic assessment and strategic planning issues associated with forestry.

She is a member of the Institute of Management Consultants of Australia, the Environment Institute of Australia and has served on the AFPA Board since 2019. Diana is also currently a Director of Agrifutures Australia, Riverina Local Land Services, the Murray Region Forest Industries Hub, and Softwoods Working Group.

Diana has previously served as a Director with many organisations, including the Murray Darling Basin Authority, Forest and Wood Products Research and Development Corporation, NSW Rural Assistance Authority and NSW Climate Change Council, as well as being a Council Member with the Australian Conservation Foundation. Diana completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Graduate Diploma in 2003 and was included in the Australian list of “100 Women of Influence in Agriculture” in 2014.

Fiona Simson

President of the National Farmers’ Federation (Australia)

Fiona Simson believes that agriculture is an industry of the future. Collaborative and passionate, she has been an agricultural industry leader at both a state and federal level since 2008.  Elected in 2016 as the first female President of National Farmers Federation in its 40 year history, she is now leading industry through an exciting period of change.  

A farmer herself with her husband Ed and family from the Liverpool Plains in NSW, she hopes to create opportunities for more women and young people to become involved in industry, and was instrumental in the launch of the NFF’s first Diversity in Ag Leadership Programme in 2018.  She has also spearheaded NFF’s 2030 $100bn Vision, is leading new approaches to the stewardship of natural capital and biodiversity and is passionate about the need to grow connections between farmers and urban consumers.

Mark Wootton

Co-owner of Jigsaw Farmers

Mark Wootton AO is a geographer by training and a farmer by practice.

With his wife, Eve Kantor, he produces carbon neutral beef, lamb, wool and timber at Jigsaw Farms near Hamilton in south west Victoria, Australia.Jigsaw Farms is a 3,500 hectare high input, high output livestock operation spanning six properties. The operation runs 25,000 Merino ewes and  620 head of cattle.

The family has also planted approximately 18 % of the land to trees (half for timber forestry purposes and the other half for biodiversity plantings and waterway restoration).

The underlying focus of Jigsaw Farms is to integrate a profitable, highly productive stock and agroforestry operation while adhering to environmental guidelines. This has resulted in a doubling of our production while lowering our carbon footprint and improving all our biodiversity indicators.

Michelle Gortan

Chief Executive Officer of Macdoch Foundation

Before joining the Foundation, she was a partner and Head of Philanthropy at Mutual Trust, Australia’s premier multi-family office, where she and her national team advised a large portfolio family foundations. Before a merger with Mutual Trust, Michelle led the Sydney philanthropy practice of the Myer Family Company.

Michelle originally trained as a lawyer, commencing her career in the intellectual property practice of Freehill Hollingdale & Page. She then moved into leadership roles in philanthropy, community and corporate partnerships, government relations, business development and marketing in the NGO and public sectors in Australia, Chile and the UK, including over seven years with the British Council. 

Michelle is a Certified Advisor with 21/64, an New York-based international consultancy specialising in strategy development for multigenerational family philanthropy. She is currently a board director of the Australian Environmental Grantmakers Network.

Sam Elsom 

Chief Executive Officer, Sea Forest 

Sam Elsom is co-founder and CEO of Sea Forest (Ltd), an innovative environmental biotechnology company developing the scaled cultivation of the red seaweed, Asparagopsis. 

This seaweed, when included in very low quantities, reduces the production of methane in ruminants such as cattle and sheep by over 90% and is the most prospective tool for Australia’s agriculture industry to reach its carbon neutral target by 2030. Sea Forest is set to make a significant impact on methane emissions reduction from livestock and dairy production with operations in Tasmania and has the potential to reduce over 1 million tonnes of CO2-e per year by 2023.

Elsom is a passionate environmentalist and entrepreneur with over 15 year’s experience in sustainability and is pioneering the development of a new and environmentally positive seaweed aquaculture industry in Australia.

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