Vol. 16 | No. 4 | November 2019

Evidence matters: 15 years of farm policy

Discussion about Australian agriculture seems more emotionally charged right now than at any time in recent history. Whether it be response to drought, climate change action, the future of animal agriculture or a host of other issues, informed and rational debate is often replaced by hostile tribes yelling at each other with no interest in exploring a middle ground.

The provision of evidence to inform rational debate about agricultural policy is why the AFI exists. In this post-truth politics era, delivering evidence-based policy research to a receptive audience can be a challenge, yet the purpose of the AFI is in many ways more important now than at any point since the AFI’s inception. So, what is that purpose and how is it still relevant in today’s environment, 15 years after the establishment of the Institute? (more)



At the AFI’s sixteenth annual Australian Agriculture Roundtable – Valuing Agriculture’s Natural Capital – delegates were invited to post questions and ideas to an online platform throughout the event. While many of the questions were addressed on the day, many more could not be discussed due to time constraints. For this edition of In my view, a selection of these questions was collated into themes and sent to speakers for their response. Read responses from Manu Saunders, Stuart Whitten, Francisco Ascui and Richard Eckard. (more)


Plenty of attention has been given to the protein market in recent years, with emphasis on the rise of alternative proteins. Investments in and production of alternative proteins such as insect proteins, plant-based meat, dairy, egg and fish alternatives are showing increasing growth, albeit with a very small market share. AFI is undertaking a research project for AgriFutures which is investigating the implications of the growth in alternative proteins and assessing the opportunities and challenges inherent in the changing protein market landscape. (more)


Stewardship of productive land has become an increasing area of policy focus for the AFI. Natural capital accounting is increasingly being used by the business community to better understand assets and manage risk. However, the consistent valuation of that capital and practical implementation of its regeneration is not yet well understood across the agriculture sector. To this end, the AFI chose to focus its sixteenth annual Australian Agriculture Roundtable on the theme of Valuing Agriculture’s Natural Capital. (more)


Fiona Dempster, AFI Research Fellow, provides her insights on 'Farming the environment': 

"In the lead up to the AFI Roundtable I wondered where else natural capital could fit in our farm business. Some services that natural capital provide, such as increased soil carbon and pollination, are beneficial to production. Some, such as visual amenity, are important for wellbeing. Could natural capital also provide its own income stream?" (more)


SAVE THE DATE: 22 & 23 June 2020 – Conservation Agriculture 2030 Conference, The University of Sydney.

BREAK: AFI Office Christmas closure dates (inclusive) 
– 23 December 2019 to 3 January 2020.


Conservation Agriculture 2030, Sydney Uni
Conservation Agriculture 2030, Sydney Uni