OPINION

Farmers flock to yellow climate movement

I painted my farm gate yellow last week as a message to our politicians. For three years we've grappled with drought on my dairy farm near Milton on the NSW south coast. Since Christmas, my place has been hit four times with fires.

My 1000-strong herd is mostly OK, but one of those bushfires wiped out half my pasture - 160 hectares - in 10 minutes. Barely had the paint dried on my "We want climate action" sign and I was again on high alert - my neighbour's place had caught alight.

There's no question that the intensity and frequency of these fires is being driven by climate change - the same force that is causing ocean levels to rise.

At some stage I fully expect king tides will also start to threaten my land. I'm the fifth generation to farm this land, which has been in my family for more than 150 years. Never before have we seen conditions like these.

My two teenage daughters would like to take over the farm one day, but these school holidays the fires made it too dangerous for them to come home.

We have started talking about their vision for the future and the sort of business they want to run.

Despite the challenges that climate change poses for agriculture, there are also endless opportunities. The same can be said for Australia's economy.

We need to give our political leaders the confidence to lead and to make brave choices for our future.

And we have no time to lose. Australia needs a comprehensive national policy to cut back on the carbon emissions that are driving climate change.

We need better infrastructure to help regional communities prepare for the disasters it brings, including a national emergency response unit. And we need a fully-funded and implemented national strategy for climate change and agriculture.

Across Australia, farmers like me are painting their homes, their sheds and their fences yellow, as a way to call for action on climate change. Yellow is the colour of the bushfires and drought that have ravaged our communities. It's also a colour of hope and of bumper crops.

We're encouraging all Australians to join in and paint our communities and our social media feeds yellow.

Share what you've done with the hashtags #ShowOurColours and #CanariesInTheCoalmine, ask your friends and neighbours to do it too.

Together, let's show our true colours on climate action.

Rob Miller is a fifth-generation dairy farmer on the New South Wales south coast