All going well, Greater Sydney Local Land Services is planning to hold face to face events again under strict COVID-19 protocols. Pasture management and holistic grazing workshops are being organised for the coming months, see below for more detail.
Farmers in Sydney's peri urban area are being called on to get involved in the new 'How to run a resilient and profitable agricultural enterprise' project. Read on to find out how to be involved.
Also featured in this edition are a review into the treatment of farmers, Q fever, small business bushfire support grants, women in horticulture scholarships, Smart Farm Small Grants and a new, free publication on Aboriginal Cultural burning.
If you know someone who might be interested in joining the Greater Sydney Small Farms network, they can register HERE. To view previous newsletters, click HERE. To provide ideas on how the Greater Sydney Small Farms network can help you, please email or phone me on 0436 803 337
Richard Stephens Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF)
Calling all innovative farmers
How to run a resilient and profitable agricultural enterprise on the peri-urban fringe of Sydney is the focus of a new project to establish three community learning groups, one in SW Sydney, one in NW Sydney and one on the Central Coast.
Participants (farmers, land managers and agribusiness representatives) will be able to participate in workshops, access key resources and expertise, discuss innovation, market trends, the circular economy, supply chain management as well as the changing climate and be supported in making changes on and for the farm business.
The project is being run by Regional Development Australia Sydney, in conjunction with several local councils, Greater Sydney Local Land Services and is funded by the National Landcare Program.
As featured on Gardening Australia, Farm It Forward is a successful social enterprise that connects landowners and younger community members who are passionate about a sense of community and growing food regeneratively.
Saturday 22 August saw 20 volunteers set up the first Farm It Forward permaculture beds in the Hawkesbury at The Secret Garden, Richmond NSW. Removing the existing pasture plants, marking out growing beds and paths, adding mulch, worms and compost, planting seedlings and seeds and installing irrigation was achieved on the day.
If you are in the Hawkesbury or Hills district and would like to be involved by either providing a block of land or being a farmer, please contact Katherine Clare, Hawkesbury Landcare Coordinator via email [email protected] or phone 02 4574 9600.
Farm It Forward has expanded its footprint from the Blue Mountains to the Hawkesbury region with a successful
volunteer day on Saturday 22 August, resulting in the creation of three permaculture growing beds.
Review into the treatment of farmers The competition watchdog will consider whether supermarkets should face tougher regulations in their dealings with farmers who supply fresh produce. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will investigate bargaining power imbalances across the perishable goods sector, between farmers, processors and retailers. Farmers are able to submit confidential evidence to the inquiry. Click HERE.
Velvety tree pear Velvety tree pear, a weed of national significance, has been found in Sydney's South West. A tree-like cactus, Velvety tree pear has a trunk, grows up to 6 metres tall and has a distinctive velvety covering on the stem and fruit. The plant’s sharp spines can cause injury to stock, native animals and humans while large stands can harbour pest animals. It produces viable seed which can be dispersed by water, birds and other animals and it can also grow from fallen stem segments, fruit and flowers. For more information, click HERE.
Bin Trim The Bin Trim program provides free help and support to businesses to maximise recycling and minimise waste to landfill. Roughly 70% of a business’s general waste can be reused or recycled, from cardboard, paper and plastic through to food waste. Click HERE for more detail on the NSW Bin Trim program. A rebate of between $1,000 and $50,000 is also available to help with the purchase price of recycling equipment. Click HERE for rebate details.
Q fever and farms Q fever is a disease that is spread to humans from infected animals, mainly cattle, sheep, goats, but also alpacas, camels, llamas, horses and even some native Australian and feral animals). It can cause a severe flu-like illness. People who live, work on or visit a livestock farm are at risk, and vaccination is the best way to prevent infection. Everyone living or working on a livestock farm should talk to their doctor about Q fever vaccination. There are also practices on the farm that can reduce the risk of infection. For more info, click HERE.
Soils ain't soils Soil organic carbon (SOC) is an important indicator of soil quality and agronomic sustainability. It influences the physical, chemical and biological properties of soil quality, leading to effects on nutrient and waste cycling, water holding capacity, and biodiversity. Carbon farming is a key plank of Australia’s climate mitigation efforts, and CSIRO scientists are looking for new and innovative approaches to help realise the benefits. Click HERE.
New Fodder Vendor Declaration form Farmers and feed recipients are encouraged to request a new Fodder Vendor Declaration Form be completed and to keep it on hand due to several significant weed outbreaks. Fodder distributors are also encouraged to provide this declaration. ClickHERE.
WEBINARS, SHORT COURSES & EVENTS
Pasture Recovery Workshops
The Pasture Recovery Workshops that were postponed in March will now go ahead in October under COVID 19 compliance rules. Both the Richmond and Central Coast workshops were booked out in March 2020 and those who registered will be contacted. However, the Camden workshop, Wednesday 21 October 2020, is available and taking registrations, click HERE to register. The cost is free. These workshops will provide practical advice on: Assessing pasture condition and identifying the main pasture types; Pasture management options; Improving bare soil and/or poor ground cover; Species for different soil types; Options following drought, fire, compaction, etc. Click HERE.
Grazing management for drought resilience - An introduction to holistic grazing Date: Friday 6 November 2020 Time: 9:30am - 4pm Location:Camden Town Farm, Camden Cost: FREE - Numbers limited, registration essential! Presented by farmer and educator, Brian Wehlburg, participants will gain an introduction to principles of holistic grazing management. A repeat of the very successful workshops held last year at Richmond, Kulnura and Lower Portland, this workshop provides an understanding of how to use animals as a tool to build soil health. For more information and to register, click HERE.
Food in the Capital Featuring three events held across 12 months, this extended conference program will bring together food businesses from across South Eastern NSW. A key focus will be on food production, consumption and technology with 95 speakers. Being held in Canberra on 17 November 2020, 18 May and 16 November 2021, the cost is $297/hd for community groups, farmers, food companies and students. For more info, click HERE.
Two day holistic grazing planning workshop Date: Thursday & Friday, 3 & 4 December 2020 Times: 9:30am - 4pm Location:Western Sydney University, Richmond Cost: FREE - Numbers limited, registration essential! If you participated in any of the 'Grazing management for drought resilience' workshops held last year, or on 6 November this year at Camden, and you want to go the next step, this workshop is for you. Understand how to use animals to increase biodiversity and long term profitability; Discover how to monitor grass growth and give plants the maximum opportunity to thrive; Accurately estimate standing feed and budget your stock feed requirements; Learn how to set up monitoring sites. For more information and to register, click HERE.
Biosecurity for Beekeepers The Biosecurity for Beekeepers online course is free for all Australian beekeepers. The course, which takes about 90 minutes to complete, covers: Checking your hives for pests and diseases; Identifying exotic and established pests and diseases; Taking action after finding a serious pest or disease; Minimising the impact of pests and diseases. Successful completion of the course provides compliance with the Australian Honey Bee Biosecurity Code of Practice. Click HERE.
Small business bushfire support grant The Small Business Bushfire Support Grant provides small businesses, including primary producers, with funding of up to $10,000 to help them recover from the bushfires and rebuild resilient businesses.Applications close 30 September 2020. Click HERE.
Women in horticulture scholarships Scholarships up to $10,941 per person are available to women who work in the horticulture sector to support their participation in a leadership development program. Participants will network with female peers and learn about; reinforcing resilience and wellbeing, rewiring your networks, evolving strategic change, team dynamics and supporting leadership performance. Register your interest HEREbefore Friday 2 October 2020.
Smart farms small grants - round 4 Applications are being sort for short-term projects to build the capacity of farmers adopting best practice in natural resource management. These grants will support land manager practice change for more sustainable, productive and profitable food, fibre and forestry businesses while protecting Australia’s biodiversity and improving our natural resources. Funding of between $5,000 and $100,000 is available, Applications close on 9 October 2020. Click HERE.
Special disaster grant extended The Special Disaster Bushfire Funding Program has been extended to 15 December, 2020. The grant for eligible primary producers is up to $75,000 and is designed to help pay for immediate clean-up and repairs to infrastructure. Over 1,600 primary producers have so far received the grant payment with almost $100 million in special disaster grants approved since January 2020. Click HERE.
Free energy advice Since 2018, the Business Australia's Energy Service have identified energy savings estimated at over $7 million across more than 4,000 accounts. Business Australia are now offering free energy advice aimed at reducing energy costs and can audit your business energy use, suggest energy-saving opportunities, provide fact sheets and suggest relevant government grants. Click HERE.
Community trust in our rural industries A national survey shows that Australians view farmers, fishers and foresters as important to Australia’s economy, identity and future and highly value the products they produce. The main drivers of community trust in our rural industries are; environmental responsibility, industry responsiveness and the value of rural industry products to the lives of Australians. Click HEREfor the full report, click HERE for a summary.
National Feral Pig Action Plan - have your say! Feral pigs pose a significant threat to Australia’s $60 billion agricultural industry, destroying crops and pastures, spreading weeds and disease, preying on livestock and they cause serious damage to our natural environment. A survey is open until midnight 4 September seeking your valuable input. Please, click HERE.
National soil strategy A national soil strategy is currently being developed. The strategy will be used will be used by the federal and state governments, as well as other partners, to set policy and actions to improve the management of Australia's soils. You can have your say by completing a short survey comprising of thirteen short questions. Please complete the survey by 25 September 2020, click HERE.
Land use and climate change A new special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) states it will be impossible to limit temperature rise to safe levels without altering the way the world produces food and manages land. Land use and climate stability are a delicate balancing act: Getting it right can reduce emissions while creating significant co-benefits; getting it wrong can fuel climate change while worsening food insecurity and environmental problems. Click HERE.
Traditional knowledge of 'cultural burning' A new book on cultural burning, 'Lighting the Path: A journey to heal people and country' has just been published. A culmination of 10 years work tracing the challenges, joys, and discoveries of working with Aboriginal people to reignite traditional knowledge of cultural burns. The book details collaboration between Aboriginal people and the broader Central Tablelands community working together to rehabilitate and care for our natural environment. Click HERE for a free copy.
Acid Soils: filling the bare patches In a video recording of a recent webinar, Dr Jason Condon discusses the impact acid soils has on ground cover and provides an overview of acid soils. Despite good rainfall in many areas since autumn, some patches of soil are still bare. Simple methods to diagnose soil acidity are explained. Click HERE.
New Regen Ag video series Hosted by Declan McDonald - certified professional soil scientist (CPSS), an eight part video series investigates the key principles of Regenerative Agriculture. They cover: Minimising soil disturbance; Maximising plant diversity; Keeping soils covered; Ensuring living roots year round; Integration of livestock and trees; Transiting to regenerative agriculture. Click HERE.
Looking for harvest help? The agriculture industry is facing a significant labour shortage as a result of COVID-19. If you need help with finding harvest labour or looking for harvest employment opportunities, the new 'Help Harvest NSW' portal consolidates job opportunities for seasonal work across the primary industry sector in NSW. Click HERE.
How to build soil organic matter Most of the soils across Australia contain only a small proportion of organic matter. Unfortunately, there isn’t simply a one-size-fits-all way to build up the organic matter and boost productivity. Soils for Life have developed three case studies showing different methods for building soil organic carbon, including; Inoculating the soil with fungi, bacteria and biologically-derived fertilisers; Direct sowing of compost-coated seed, and; Compost-based fertiliser with crop rotations. Click HERE.
What is your biggest asset? What’s the biggest asset and most important piece of equipment of your business? It’s YOU! It’s crucial we manage our stress and mental health concerns effectively to ensure our decision making, concentration and safety are not compromised on farm. Watch this short video for some simple tips for how to look after yourself, click HERE.
Kids become 'Food Adventurers' A new program from the CSIRO is using science to encourage primary school kids to eat more veggies. Drawing on research that shows repeatedly offering kids a variety of vegetables, objectively describing vegetables, and making vegetables fun works best. CSIRO’s new vegetable education program for primary schools, Taste & Learn is free of charge and provides teachers with scientifically backed, hands-on lesson plans that get kids tasting up to 24 vegetables. Click HERE.
This project is supported by Greater Sydney Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.
The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that the information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate officer of Local Land Services or the user’s independent adviser. For updates go to www.lls.nsw.gov.au
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