Pele Cannon – Climate Champion for the Beekeeping Industry

I recently attended the induction workshop of the Climate Champion program. This program is run under the Managing Climate Variability (MCV) initiative, an Australian government initiative, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) and Land and Water Australia. The Climate Champion program is funded by a collective of RDC’s – namely Grains (GRDC), Sugar, Meat and Livestock (MLA), Dairy and RIRDC.

The aim of MCV is to help Australian farmers meet climate variability challenges in a changing climate. For the Climate Champion program, farmers have been chosen from all over Australia, from all different sectors of agriculture, from sugar cane to grain, meat, and dairy and even viticulture and beekeeping.

The program is based on the idea that farmers learn best from other farmers. The main aim is to open up two-way communication channels between farmers, researchers and policy-makers. Peer networks and farmer-to-farmer learning and knowledge/management practice transference is an essential part of this program. This means communicating with RDC’s about what research farmers want done, and working to help improve forecasting and modelling programs to better suit farmer’s needs. It is also an avenue to celebrate the achievements and innovations that are continuously coming out of the agricultural sector in response to climate challenges.   The Climate Champion program has set up a website – www.climatekelpie.com.au  - designed to help farmers better understand the climatic situation in their region, and better utilise the range of farm management models and decision support tools available for each particular region and/or commodity.

I was accepted to the program as a representative from the Honeybee Industry, drawing on my background as the daughter of a beekeeping family, and utilising my parents’ experience and networks. I am also a 4th-year student at the Australian National University, studying Climate Science and Human Ecology. As a member of the Climate Champion program, I will be required to gather information, feedback and queries from the wider beekeeping community to take to the Climate Champion workshops, and also to report back to the beekeeping community on what the program is achieving in improved forecasting and research applicable to the beekeeping industry. I will also be aiming to improve the networking of information between beekeepers about options and potential methods of dealing with the challenges of a changing climate.

(Amendment): My father, Des Cannon, has now replaced me in the Climate Campions program. If you would like more information about the program and what he can do for you, or if you have feedback you would like him to pass on to any of the forecasting or research bodies involved with the program, please forward him an email at 

Author: Pele Cannon