Like many industries around the world, the Australian grains industry is keen to ensure its long-term sustainability. The Grains Council of Australia (GCA), with the support of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), commissioned CSIRO Resource Futures Program to undertake an initial examination of the future sustainability of the grains industry. This analysis took a long-term, strategic view of the grains industry within the context of agriculture as a whole, rural landscapes and regional economies. Key objectives of the consultancy were to:
describe current and emerging drivers of change in Australia's rural landscapes, including sustainability issues; and,.
explore consequences of alternative plausible futures over a 50 year time horizon for the sustainability and development of the grains industry.
The futures analysis reported in the consultancy used an approach developed especially to examine long-term sustainability issues for Australia. In this approach, developed in collaboration with whatIf? Technologies Inc., a representation of the grains industry is embedded in the Australian Stocks and Flows Framework (ASFF)1 that represents economic activity, resource use and environmental impact over the whole economy and provides the context for activity in the grains sector.
Each of the three scenarios explored in the consultancy reflects a different balance between a wide range of values and outcomes for Australian agriculture, the environment and society.