Webinar series: Adapting to a future with drought – unlocking resilience in rural Australia

Will rural communities and agriculture survive future droughts and climate change? Or can they, in fact, grow and profit from it?

In this eight-part lunch and learn webinar series, we look at what it takes to make Australian rural communities drought and climate change resilient and ready to take on the future.

Join our panels of producers, industry professionals and scientists and learn from real-life case studies across the country. Get practical solutions and find ideas to thrive not survive in times of drought.

Upcoming webinars

3 February 2022 | 12.00 pm AEDT

Impacts and predictions – How agriculture can take advantage of a changing climate

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Today, climate change and variability are more than a conversation. More consumers are demanding sustainable products, new markets have long been established and farms that are not adapting are at risk of missing out.

How can farms take advantage of a changing climate and the climate change framework? What opportunities exist for farmers, consumers and the environment where climate change is more than a conversation?

We’re exploring answers to these questions by speaking to a diverse panel including:

Derek Blomfield, a young farmer who has built his business around provenance, land regeneration and consumer health.

James Kerr, who combines decades of experience with in-depth corporate knowledge to bring corporate properties back from decline to environmental and business sustainability.

Rowan Foley, the founding CEO of the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation is an experienced advocate for meeting diverse consumer demands through market innovation that benefits the environment.

Derek Blomfield is passionate about providing families with the most nutritious, chemical-free beef possible.

With his wife Kirrily, and their two sons, the family own and operate a sustainable beef business The Conscious Farmer.

The Blomfield’s conscious farming method is based on holistic grazing management and regenerative agriculture. Taking care of the fertile Liverpool Plains soils the family call home is just as important as taking care of their animals and consumers.

The family is passionate about sharing their conscious farming journey via social media.

To James Kerr, a clear vision and strategy are crucial to ensuring Australian farms can capitalise on new market opportunities and adapt to changing climates.

As Manager at Buckleboo Station, one of South Australia’s largest carbon farming projects, James is focused on reversing the decline of grasslands, building drought resilience and sustainability.

Drawing on extensive experience operating sheep and cattle properties across the country between 1980 and 2000, he recently returned to his farming roots after 12 years in the corporate world.

James shares his experience to help others plan ahead and build sustainable farm businesses in low rainfall environments.

For Rowan Foley carbon neutral or positive commodities are like free-range eggs compared to caged eggs – they meet increasing demand from diverse consumer groups. They also provide access to new markets while supporting sustainability on the farm.

Rowan is the founding CEO of the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation. He comes from the Wondunna clan of the Badtjala Peoples, Traditional Owners of Queensland’s K’gari and Hervey Bay. He was the Kimberley Land Council’s first Land Management Officer and negotiated the first Indigenous Protected Area in Western Australia and he represented Indigenous carbon farming at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Germany and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

24 February 2022 | 12.00 pm AEDT

Trial and error – What happens when we change our ways and fail

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17 March 2022 | 12.00 pm AEDT

Health and wellbeing – How we can support each other in rural communities

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21 April 2022 | 12.00 pm AEDT

Innovation and adaptation – How agtech solves problems on the ground

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12 May 2022 | 12.00 pm AEDT

People’s choice topic 1

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Let us know what topic you would like us to cover.

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16 June 2022 | 12.00 pm AEDT

People’s choice topic 2

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Let us know what you would like to talk about.

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Past webinars

26 October 2021 | 12.00 pm AEDT

Lessons learned from drought – How we can build resilience in rural communities

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Join Australian Rural Leadership Foundation Chief Executive Matt Linnegar in a discussion about lessons learned from drought. With a panel of producers from all corners of the country, we will ponder the questions ‘what have we learned from drought’, ‘what are we currently learning’ and ‘what can we still learn’.


Simon Wallwork

Simon oversees a 3700ha broadacre cropping and livestock operation in Corrigin, Western Australia, with his wife and three children.
Having completed an agriculture science degree, Simon also works as an agronomy consultant when not on the farm.
Simon’s long involvement in the Corrigin Farm Improvement Group has seen him host many on-farm trials and demonstrations over the years.
He was one of 30 growers who participated in the GRDC-funded Climate Champion Program between 2010 and 2014. The group shared the latest research on climate change impacts, on-farm adaptation and mitigation strategies.
In 2019, Simon teamed up with farmers and industry participants to form the AgZero 2030. A program focused on promoting a positive response to climate change from the agriculture industry.

Dr Anika Molesworth

Anika is a recognised thought-leader of agro-ecological systems resilience and international farming development. With a passion for rural communities and healthy ecosystems, she is committed to helping create sustainable and vibrant rural landscapes now and for the future. She is a Founding Director of Farmers for Climate Action – a national network of over 5,000 Australian farmers undertaking climate change action. In 2017, she presented at TEDxYouthSydney the talk “Farmers are key to a better future.” She is also the author of the book, Our Sunburnt Country. Awards include 2015 Young Farmer of the Year and 2017 Young Australian of the Year NSW Finalist.

Angus Atkinson

Angus describes himself as conservative and risk-averse. He normally runs a 360-strong Angus and Hereford herd plus replacements in Central West NSW. He sells into the grass-fed market.
When the drought began, Angus’ strategy saw him sell down and focus on caring for his breeders and feed until the drought broke.
Prior to becoming a full-time farmer, Angus completed a degree in wool and pastoral science at the University of New South Wales and worked off-farm. He is currently the Sustainable Development Committee Chair with the National Farmers Federation.

Tegan Hogan Smith

Tegan hails from the family-run Dreghorn Station near Charters Towers in North Queensland. Ten years in the beef industry, have given her a clear understanding of its opportunities and challenges. She is a founding member of ‘This is Aus Ag’ and was part of the 2018 National Farmers Federation 2030 Leaders Program. Tegan and her husband Eiren are passionate about the positive impacts a well-managed grazing business has on the environment and local communities.

18 November 2021 | 12.00 pm AEDT

Inclusion and diversity – Why there is a place for everyone in ag

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Diversity and inclusion are a top priority across the agriculture industry. Led by the National Farmers Federation’s 2030 Roadmap, agriculture aims to make agriculture an accessible career option for all. As the make-up of regional Australia continues to evolve, agriculture has an opportunity to embrace the benefits diversity provides by including individuals with valued skills, identities, and ideas. A workforce truly representative of Australia will bring new ideas, perspectives, and experiences and accelerate progress and innovation for everyone in farming.  

This panel, hosted by the National Farmers Federation, will highlight the unique experience of individuals from the agriculture sector. Each will tell their experiences in agriculture and how diversity is a strength. As the NFF and Australian agriculture gear up for National Agriculture Day, this webinar will showcase the opportunities and diversity of careers in agriculture that are on offer for everyone. Join us and choose your own #agventure.  


Danyel Cucinotta, Victorian Farmers Federation Vice-President

Danyel is a third-generation farmer helping to operate her family’s egg farm, onsite café and deli in Werribee South. She was elected as VFF Vice-President in late 2020 and holds both an Agriculture Diploma and Bachelor of Business. The VFF is the leading advocacy body in Victoria providing a voice for farmers and their communities. Danyel is working towards progressing Victoria’s farming future by leading a number of VFF farmer-led community support and awareness programs. Initiatives include the recently launched ‘Farmy Army’ that aims to coordinate relief and resources in times of crisis and the school-children based ‘Kids to Ag’ are key areas of her passion.

Troy Setter, Chief Executive Officer Consolidated Pastoral Company

Troy is the Chief Executive Officer of the Consolidated Pastoral Company. He is one of the top cattlemen and agribusiness leaders in the country and well-renowned for his achievements across the industry. As Chief Operating Officer for the Australian Agricultural Company, he successfully executed a 3-year strategic plan to restructure the company’s operations and diversify sales to new markets, invest in and divest assets, develop and implement the genetic improvement strategy and increase profitability and herd size. Prior to that, Troy held key management positions at Torrens Investments, North Australian Cattle Company and Killara Feedlot.

Troy began his career at Twynam Agricultural Group whilst completing a degree in Rural Science from the University of New England. Troy has completed further study including the Agribusiness program at Harvard Business School and the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course. Throughout his career Troy has been responsible for all aspects of the supply chain, from cereal and fibre cropping, grain and grass fed cattle operations, domestic and international logistics, trading and shipping through to genetic improvement, beef and cattle marketing, broad strategy development, investment and finance.

Source: pastoral.com

Jason Smith

Jason Smith runs Baromi Jersey & Illawarra Stud. With one part-time staff member, he looks after the 670 acres and 350 stud milking cows.

The fifth-generation dairy farmer is the last in his family to still be dairy farming.

His passion for and dedication to the industry has been recognised with a number of accolades of the years including top dairy apprentice and top agriculture apprentice. In 2017, he was awarded the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural Young Farmer of the Year sponsored by Case IH.

Since coming out as a gay man, Jason has been a champion for LGBTQ+ rights. He was heavily involved with the marriage equality campaign and appeared in national TB ads and an episode on The Project. He currently mentors four young LGBTI people in the agriculture industry.


This webinar series is part of the Australian Government Future Drought Fund Drought Resilience Leaders Program, facilitated by the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation. The webinars are open to anyone interested in the topic.