By Growcom CEO David Thomson

Is it too soon to be talking about the cause of the all the fires currently burning across the nation?

With a dry and hot start to summer predicted, it’s likely some of these fires will still be burning well into 2020. That’s a long time to keep quiet.

Meanwhile you can be sure questions about the role of climate change are being raised in the rural communities most affected by the fires.

There’s little doubt it’s also a hot topic among our volunteer rural firefighters as they’re called into action a month or more ahead of the normal fire season.

And these are the same people our politicians say we’ve got to respect by avoiding these questions. It appears the only people in the country seemingly not talking about it are our elected officials.

Beyond bushfires, the many implications of a changing climate are real and unavoidable for our farmers and their industry representatives.

Just in the news this week are reports warning the insurance industry may soon exit agriculture, and plantation crops in particular, due to increasing climate risks.

“If we see significant losses this year from fires, storms and other weather events, we may see an exodus of the few underwriters and insurers who remain in the sector,” said a representative from global insurer Gallagher.

A common misconception heard in cities is that agriculture is somehow reluctant to address this issue. It’s a misconception we must continue to correct.

Growcom, the Queensland Farmers Federation, AgForce, and the National Farmers Federation all have clear, long standing and unequivocal positions on the importance of preparing our industries for greater climate variability.

Agriculture is the canary in the coal mine that is a changing climate. And we’re ready to talk about it.