The world has changed since our last newsletter, as we all work together to minimise the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). To help keep you update with information relevant to small farms, you will now receive this newsletter fortnightly.
In this edition, I have included lots of information on assistance available as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic along with links to many and various resources to help you learn at home.
If you know someone who might be interested in joining the Greater Sydney Small Farms network, they can register HERE. To provide ideas on how the Greater Sydney Small Farms network can help you, please emailor phone me on 0436 803 337.
Richard Stephens Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF)
Assitance available as a result of COVID-19 (Coronavirus)
For the latest Coronavirus news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia, clickHERE.
The NSW Government Small Business Commissioner, websiteor call 13 77 88, provides information on the below and more: - What businesses are restricted from trading? - Business experiencing lost trade and cashflow problems - can I get help with my bills? - What financial support is available from the government? - I’m struggling with my rent.
The Australian Taxation Office websiteprovides information on: - JobKeeper payments (register HERE to receive updates as the details are rolled out) - Government payments to individuals - Government’s stimulus package - Giving individuals early access to their superannuation, - and more. You can also call on 1800 806 218. The Australian Government Business, website, provides Coronavirus information and support for business, including financial assistance, eligibility and timing for the new government support for Australian businesses.
Beyond Blue, website,have a number of tailored resources to assist people throughout this time, including a dedicated ‘Coping with the Corona Virus’ thread in online forums and 'Practical tips and advice' about managing feelings of uncertainty, stress and anxiety associated with COVID-19. You can also call 1300 22 4636.
Local Landcare Coordinator – CALL FOR PROPOSALS Proposals are being sought from community based, Landcare organisations within the Greater Sydney region to host a part time (0.5 FTE) Local Landcare Coordinator from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2023. This position is part of the NSW Landcare Program 2019-23.
This is an opportunity to improve your organisation’s capacity to support local Landcarers in your area and to participate in the Greater Sydney Landcare Community of Practice. Five Local Landcare Coordinators are currently supported by the NSW Landcare Program in the Greater Sydney region and there is an opportunity to make this six.
The role of a Local Landcare Coordinator is to enable community volunteer activity resulting in land conservation. The Host Organisation must be incorporated, members of Landcare NSW and be willing to directly employ the Local Landcare Coordinator.
Hosts will be required to demonstrate how they will use the role to actively support the broader Landcare community in their area, actively collaborate with other host and non-host organisations in Greater Sydney and work to ensure the empowerment of Landcare volunteers.
Proposals are to be submitted by COB 17 April 2020. For more information and application details, please contact Madeleine Florin, Regional Landcare Coordinator, on 0427 197 860
or email [email protected]
Aboriginal fire knowledge and landscape burning Fire has a profound influence on Australian landscapes. For Aboriginal people, cultural burning involves manipulating cool season fire to create a mosaic of patches across the landscape. Aboriginal fire practitioners and ecologists emphasise burning practices need to be carefully tailored to the specific features of the ecosystem they are intended to protect. Discover three practical ways to support Aboriginal landscape burning in Australia by clicking HERE.
Relaxed specifications for fruit & vegetables Major supermarkets in Australia have relaxed specifications for fruit and vegetables to get more fresh produce onto shelves during the COVID-19 pandemic. 'Ugly' fresh fruit and vegetables are finding a renewed market among buyers as Woolworths and Coles relax cosmetic specifications, Farmers say the dual crisis of drought and coronavirus has led to the uptake. For more information, click HERE.
Connecting carbon focused farms with young people Are you engaging in regenerative farming practices? Helping Humus is connecting carbon focused farms with young people enthusiastic to be apart of the solutions of the future. If you want hands on the farm or to work on one please contact Will at [email protected] or phone 0484 313 945.
How soap absolutely annihilates coronavirus When you wash your hands with soap and water, you’re not just wiping viruses off your hands and sending them down the drain, you are annihilating them. One side of a soap molecule (the side that’s attracted to fat and repelled by water) buries its way into the virus’s shell and, as the chemical bonds holding the virus together aren’t very strong, this breaks the virus’s coat. "This pulls the virus apart, making it soluble in water and it disintegrates,” says Palli Thordarson, Chemistry Professor, University of NSW. For more info, click HERE.
Poisonous plants and ash Many landholders are reporting significant, poisonous weed problems following the extended dry period in 2019 and good rainfall over the last few months. In addition, following the bushfires, ash from burned treated timber and ash contaminated drinking water has poisoned some livestock. Click HEREfor a brochure detailing 12 known poisonous plants to livestock in Greater Sydney, or contact your Weeds Officer at your local council. Click HERE for details on protecting livestock against the risk of poisoning following bushfires.
Strong demand for local produce As humanity's most pressing health crisis plays out across the globe, Australian consumers appear to be rushing to boost their immunity with locally grown vegetables. Demand for locally produced fruit and vegetables is strong amid coronavirus fears with prices strong across all vegetable commodities. Eating fresh fruit and veg gives provides a big intake of antioxidants, which known to boost immunity. For more information, click HERE.
WEBINARS & EVENTS
NOTE: All future workshops and seminars promoted in previous newsletters have now been postponed or cancelled.
Online Farm Biodiversity Forums Funding for an Australian Farm Biodiversity Scheme has been announced which aims to reward farmers for managing biodiversity on farm through market-based mechanisms. Phase one involves a series of online consultative forums from now until 7 May 2020 to identify critical success factors. Click HERE.
Producer 'Back to Business' Webinar Series Hosted by Meat and Livestock (MLA), Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) and AWI Sheep Connect NSW, 12 webinars are being provided to support livestock producers during these challenging times. The 12 hour-long webinars have already started and will be held every Tuesday at 1:00 pm over 12 weeks and offer resources and support to help those impacted by recent events to get "Back to Business". Click HERE for the schedule of topics and click HERE to register.
Open Food Network Australia COVID-19 is already having an impact on food supply. How do we support direct supply chains that keep farmers in business? What happens to farmers' markets as public gatherings get shut down? Open Food Network Australia is running weekly webinars to share learnings. Register for the shared learning Webinar HERE, share ideas via the Fair Food Forum Post HEREor connect via the Open Food Network Australia Facebook page HERE.
Young farmers virtual hangout In these challenging times it is important to stay connected and support each other. Got questions, challenges or solutions for the COVID-19 era? How can we continue to build resilient food systems and feed our communities? Young Farmers Connect - Greater Sydney is hosting bimonthly online farm chats in place of face-to-face events. The first farm chat is on 15 April 2020. ClickHERE.
Natural Sequence Farming Expressions of interest are being taken for a partly sponsored ($1500) place on a Tarwyn Park Training Natural Sequence Farming course held at Mulloon Creek. The sponsorship is a generous donation from Cheryl Whittaker in memory of Alan Eagle and in recognition of his work and leadership of the Hawkesbury Harvest. Eligible farmers need to be from the Hawkesbury region and currently farming in the Greater Sydney basin. To apply please complete the Expression of Interestform.
NOTE: Significant government funding is available to help business and individuals deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Please refer to the first article in this newsletter.
Black Summer Innovation Fund Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) has announced its Black Summer Innovation Fund to provide grants of up to $25,000 to support innovation in Australian food and agribusinesses impacted by recent events. The aim is to encourage food and agribusinesses to think differently about their challenges and partner with technical experts and researchers. Application close 9 April. For more information, click HERE.
Churchill fellowships Applications are now open for the 2020 Churchill Fellowships that supports people from diverse backgrounds to explore best practice anywhere in the world for up to eight weeks. Over 100 Fellowships are awarded each year. In 2020 two recipients interested in agriculture will also receive additional mentoring, networking and development opportunities from the NFF. Applications close 30 April, click HERE.
2021 Nuffield Scholarships Applications are open for the 2021 Nuffield Scholarship program. Young farmers with a desire to drive their knowledge and businesses forward are encouraged to apply. There are more than 25 Nuffield Scholarships on offer, each valued at $30,000. Final proposals are required by 12 June. For application details, click HERE.
Water infrastructure funding Additional funding for the Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate (EWIR) scheme is now available to drought affected farmers in NSW for the purchase and upgrade of on-farm water infrastructure. The scheme enables primary producers to claim rebates of up to $25,000 on new purchases and installation costs of water infrastructure projects for animal welfare needs, including installation of pipes, water storage and water pumps, de-silting dams and associated power supplies such as generators. Applications close 30 June 202, or when the allocated funding is exhausted. Click HERE.
Small business bushfire support grant A new small business bushfire support grant of $10,000, covers loss of income for small businesses that have experienced a revenue drop of 40% over a three-month period compared to the previous year as a result of the bushfires, is now available. Small businesses owners who have already received financial support may also be eligible. Please call Service NSW Specialist Business Concierge team on 13 77 88 or click HERE.
Problems for the 2020 Water Challenge 'Bridge Hub' is an innovation hub for the agritech sector to solve the needs of farmers or consumers, deliver a commercial return and have a positive impact on society or the environment. Its 2020 Water Challenge aims to identify and commercialise research and new technology that enables smarted use of water in agriculture and the food production sector. Bridge Hub is looking for input into the water problems that most need solving, problems can be submitted via the website until 9 April, with four prizes of $1,000 each on offer for the most compelling problems. For more information, clickHERE.
Soil Carbon Cowboys In collaboration with Arizonia State University and the World Bank, several 'Ranchers' describe how they have regenerated their soils while making their animals healthier and their operations more profitable. They are enabling rainwater to sink into the earth and, as a result, be more drought resilient. View the Youtube video HERE.
Get ready animals Resources are now available to help you, and your kids, develop emergency management plans for your pets, small animals, livestock and horses. The website contains information to help you, your group, club, business and local community to be prepared for emergencies. The 'Are You Ready' kids passport is a useful booklet to use with kids and great for those currently home schooling!
FeralScan FeralScan is a free community website and mobile App for people to monitor pest animal activity in their local area. This collated information is then used to guide feral animal management actions. It is citizen surveillance where landholders and the community map feral animals and the damage they cause. Check out the feral animals in your area HERE.
Regenerative agriculture videos The Regenerative Agriculture Alliance has launched a series of videos for a resilient farming future. One-on-one interviews with high profile practising farmers on how to improve soil health, human health, landscape resilience and biodiversity. view the videos or read the transcripts HERE.
Bushfire recovery clean-up Fact Sheet The NSW Government has appointed Laing O’Rourke to coordinate the clean-up of fire damaged residential and eligible commercial properties, including both insured and uninsured properties. The clean-up may include the removal of known hazardous materials, materials destroyed by bush fire and hazardous trees as well as the removal of concrete slab foundations. Click HERE.
Have a look-see at carbon farming Carbon farming reduces greenhouse gas emissions by capturing and holding carbon in plants and soil. CSIRO have developed an online App to help farmers decide to undertake a carbon farming project or not. The tool quickly assesses the greenhouse gas abatement options for a specific land area, such as a paddock. Australia’s carbon markets can help farmers achieve best management practices, steward the land and supplement farm incomes. Download the App HERE.
Weather forecast in your paddock A new App by CSIRO has been developed to enable farmers to access climate and weather data specific fro any location in Australia and in real-time. The App uses BOM’s historical, real-time and forecast data and applies analytics. It pinpoints your location and can be used to forecast pasture growth, plan certain activities and help determine what farming enterprises should be considered. Click HEREto download the App.
Integrated Weed Management (IWM) Two videos have been produced that explain a strategic approach to weed management in the Australian vegetable industry. The first video covers the IWM approach and the mix of control methods during the crop life cycle and during fallow. The second video describes how to incorporate stale seed beds and inter-row cultivation into their IWM approach, minimising reliance on herbicides. Click HERE for more information on the Soil Wealth program.
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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