Defending the Social Licence of Farming:

Issues, Challenges and New Directions for Agriculture

Defending the Social Licence of Farming

Issues including climate variability, water scarcity, animal welfare and declining biodiversity have led to increasing demands on farmers to conduct and communicate their farming practices so as to protect their ‘social licence to farm’. Farmers are increasingly expected to demonstrate their social and environmental responsibility as a pre-condition to being allowed to carry out their preferred farming and commercial practices. Current examples include the live animal export trade, battles over protection of aquifers from mining, and contests over rural carbon emissions.

In Defending the Social Licence of Farming, authors from Australia, the USA, Europe and Iceland document the diverse issues associated with the 'social licence to farm'. They provide examples of different sectors’ strategies and experiences, and give specific indications of what is involved in coping successfully with this political and legal dimension of farming.

As resources become scarce and society’s expectations more diverse and demanding, farming can expect that social licence issues will become both more difficult and more important. The book suggests that the old models of response, largely focused on defensive positions, will often be insufficient to protect the interests of both farmers and the community. This book will provide a useful stimulus for innovation and proactive policies to defend the social licence of the farm sector.

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