More about the Climate Champion Program:

As announced in the May issue of the ABK, and also in the recently released RIRDCHoneybee R&D News (No.5 May 2010), I have recently been selected as a Climate Champion, representing the Honeybee Industry.

As I explained in the last issue, the Climate Champion Program is being run by the Managing Climate Variability program, the Grains Research & Development Corporation, and Meat & Livestock Australia, and it is funded by Australia’s major research and development corporations

The program gives us, the Climate Champions, an opportunity to raise awareness and discussion within farming communities about new innovations for managing variable climatic conditions such as frost, extreme heat and low or extremely variable rainfall.

One of the problems that I perceive in the beekeeping industry in relation to the Climate Champion Program is that beekeeping is such a disperse industry. Beekeepers migrate their hives over long distances into varying environments, often in response to budding of trees that was initiated by rainfall events 12 months, or more, earlier.  The challenge for me as your Climate Champion lies in determining:

  • What climate risk management tools and technologies best suit your needs

  • What sort of information do you want access to?

  • How can managing climate risk improve your productivity?

  • What sort of research would best suit your needs?

  • What are your perceptions of the effects of climate change upon the resources you use?

As a participant of the program, I will have direct access to the latest climate-related research findings. This will allow me to influence the development of new climate risk management tools and technologies, and keep beekeepers informed of the tools and information available to them.

The 34 farmers who are participating in the program are from across Australia and represent most of the country’s agricultural commodities including grains, meat, wool, sugar, dairy, horticulture, grapes and wine, farm forestry and honey/pollination. The participants are all interested in managing risks associated with climate and weather to improve productivity on their farms.

Farmer and Chair of Managing Climate Variability, Ian McClelland, says the program reflects research findings that most farmers gain new knowledge and adopt new practices through interaction with their peers, rather than with scientists. “Farmer’s value the knowledge and experience of other farmers more than from anyone else, including advice provided by agricultural consultants and researchers,” Mr McClelland says.

For more information on the Climate Champion program see the website  For tools and information to help farmers make decisions about their farm business see

(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

Author: Pele Cannon