Our newly released'Big Shift for Small Farms' podcast series has already attracted great interest, with more than 1000 individual listens to date. If you haven't subscribed yet, you can do so HERE or watch this short video for more information.
Also featured in this edition is the 'Good Food Mood' marketing campaign for horticulture; Beetles with benefits (if they are dung beetles); Microwave technology to combat herbicide resistant weeds: the Soil Knowledge Network videos and more. 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 email or phone me on 0436 803 337.
Richard Stephens Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF)
The 'Big Shift for Small Farms' Podcast
The 'Big Shift for Small Farms' series started with Urban Farming and Startup Farming.In this newsletter we're featuring episodes about soil health and mental health, two very important issues.
Episode three covers Healthy Soils. When it comes to agricultural productivity it all starts with soil. In this episode you'll hear from experts in the field and scientists in the lab about the power of healthy soils. Then you'll get your hands dirty with veggie growers and cattle farmers to hear how to achieve it. Click HERE for a one minute sample, or for the complete Healthy Soils episode, click HERE.
Episode four explores Cultivating Wellness because according to Mental Health Australia, one in five Australians are affected by mental illness, yet many don’t seek help because of the stigma attached to it. This episode features the very personal story of a farmer who grappled with the dark side of mental health and experts and professionals with tips on staying well. Because mental health and well-being is not just a state of mind, it is a skill we can all practice. Click HEREfor a one minute sample, or HERE for the complete episode
The remaining six topics are: Community Supported Farming; Supply chain innovations - mobile abattoirs; Compost; Farm Resilience in a Changing Climate; Certification; and Holistic thinking. You can access the entire podcast series by clicking HERE and you can read a brief description and listen to each episode or subscribe through your favourite apps (ie. Apple Podcasts or Spotify).
This project has been developed by Greater Sydney Local Land Services and the Grow Love Project through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.
For the latest Coronavirus news, updates and advice from government agencies across Australia, click HERE.
Enhancing farm dams Thousands of farm dams scatter our landscape and are an essential source of water for stock and wildlife. With a few modifications traditional farm dams can provide cool, clean stock-water and increase native biodiversity, farm aesthetics and landholder well-being. Tips for enhancing farm dams include control livestock access; provide water via water troughs; allow fringing vegetation to grow; create a grassed buffer zone in the inflow area; add logs, rocks, trees and shrubs to the dam area; create shallow areas. Click HERE.
Good Mood Food - marketing campaign Hort Innovation has developed a whole-of-horticulture, direct-to-consumer marketing campaign that aims to invigorate consumer purchasing habits for fruit, vegetables and nuts, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Eat on the bright side. Naturally boost your mood with fresh Aussie fruit, veg and nuts. Using TV, newspapers, radio, online, social media and retail partnerships, the campaign runs from May to September. Have a look on Instagramor Facebook.
Integrated water management Wollondilly Shire, which contains much of Sydney’s drinking water catchment, has released a draft Integrated Water Management Policy and Strategy for comment and is undertaking a community survey on water reuse and recycling. The aim is to promote water conservation and reuse; protect aquatic ecosystems; and, make the most of water for biodiversity, recreation, liveability, climate resilience, drought, irrigation and flood management. The survey closes on 17 June. Click HERE.
Empowered food citizens 'Sustain' is a national network designed to give people, councils and organisations tools to help them become empowered food citizens that support healthy communities, people and ecosystems. COVID-19 social restrictions have highlighted problems with our existing commodified food system. A recently released sketch video outlines how Sustain can help create a healthier and more sustainable food future. To watch the video or for more information, click HERE.
Improving soil microbiology 'Korean natural farming' methods have been adopted in Australia to improve soil health and productivity by facilitating the growth of indigenous microorganisms. The steps involved include: Collecting a culture (mouldy leaves) from the farm environment to grow mould; mixing with brown sugar and storing; combining with farm crop waste and garden soil; adding manure. Click HERE for more information.
Five strategies to protect fresh food supplies The COVID-19 crisis has given us a taste of disrupted food supplies. Five strategies to protect fresh food supplies: Buying more local produce at farmers markets, online or via Community Supported Agriculture (CSA); Local businesses using locally produced food; Supermarkets sourcing food products locally and championing “buy local” campaigns; Identifying and mapping regional food bowls; Local councils supporting potted balcony, backyard, rooftop and community gardens. Click HERE.
WEBINARS, SHORT COURSES & EVENTS
Free online short courses by TAFE TAFE NSW are offering 21 free online short courses to assist job seekers and workers looking to diversify their skills, and businesses in hibernation to up skill their workers. Short courses include: eMarketing for Small Business; Engaging Customers Using Social Media; Writing and Presentation Skills; Computing Skills; Team Leader Skills; Admin Skills for Team Leader. Click HERE.
Business disruption webcast The 40-minute Business Disruption webcast addresses key issues facing business owners during Covid-19 and other business disruption. This webcast focuses on Rural and Regional areas during these times, offering practical advice from experts and enabling questions from viewers on the live broadcasts. Click HERE.
Create your own website - webinar Learn from a digital specialist as she guides you through the process of building your own website from scratch on a user-friendly and easy-to-use website platform. Suitable if you already have a Wix website and have questions about Wix or just want to do things more effectively on your existing website. Click HERE.
NOTE: Significant funding is available to help business and individuals deal with the COVID-19 outbreak. Please refer to the second article in this newsletter.
$310 MILLION boost to drought assistance The NSW Government has announced a further $310 million in emergency drought relief. Extended support for drought affected communities and farmers includes; $116 million to continue the Drought Transport subsidy;$99 million to continue waiving of Local Land Services rates, bee site permits, and provide assistance for vehicle registration costs for eligible primary producers; $28.5 million to continue existing water licence fee waivers for stock, domestic, general and high security water users; Continuation of health and wellbeing programs. For more detail, go to the Drought Hub websiteHERE.
Farm Innovation Fund To help farmers improve productivity, manage adverse seasonal conditions and ensure long term sustainability, the NSW Government has committed $1 billion to the Farm Innovation Fund. Farmers can borrow up to a maximum of $1 million per project, with a total of $1 million outstanding at any one time to build on-farm infrastructure, including stock containment areas. In addition, interest charges on Farm Innovation Fund loans for the 2019-20 financial year will be waived. Click HERE.
AGL’s Farmers Assist Farmers in recently drought-affected areas can apply for Drought Relief Assistance and Solar Assistance as part of AGL’s new $2 million Farmers Assist program. Eligible farmers can get up to $1,500 (incl GST) of existing debt wiped from their AGL business energy bill to help relieve the pressure. For more info, click HERE. Also, eligible farmers can get help funding their own solar system with an upfront discount ranging from $2,500 - $25,000 (excl GST). For more info on Solar Assistance, click HERE.
Beetles with benefits They may be small, but dung beetles can provide some big ecosystem benefits on-farm. The Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers (DBEE) project aims to fill in the gaps in the distribution of beetles in southern Australia by introducing new species. It will also build on previous research to expand the distribution of existing species and develop a supply and distribution pipeline so more livestock producers can access beetles. Click HERE.
Seaweed reduces greenhouse gas emissions CSIRO researchers have developed a method to stop cows from emitting methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Their research found that a common Australian seaweed, Asparagopsis, eliminates methane emissions in cattle and sheep. Asparagopsis is a species of red alga that is typically found in warm temperate climates and produces a bioactive compound called bromoform, which prevents the formation of methane. A small dosage of Asparagopsis to a cow’s diet can reduce methane emissions by up to 99 percent. Click HERE.
Microwaves put the heat on herbicide resistant weeds Herbicide resistance means that a growing number of weeds are become more tolerant to herbicide control methods. Using microwaves to ‘zap’ and kill weeds has the potential to be effective and more environmentally friendly. The microwaves vibrate and heat up water molecules in the target weeds, causing plant cell walls to rupture and kill the weed. For more information, click HERE.
The Regenerative Farmer In this YouTube video, David Marsh speaks about his change moment from industrial agriculture to a more holistic approach that has seen his property have plentiful grass coverage even during drought. An honest, articulate farmer with passion and commitment to restoring his land and community resilience, David describes what landholders can stop doing to create a better future. To view the video, click HERE.
Environmental protection planning and development tools A range of resources about Australia’s national environmental law and how it applies to landholders have been released by The Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment. They include an information page, kit,video and a search tool that makes it easy to see what ‘nationally significant’ animals, plants, habitats and places are found in a local government area. ClickHERE.
Helping children know where food and fibre comes from With many school students now learning from home, Australian Farmers has compiled a selection of the best learning resources to help kids understand agriculture. They include: Primezone; Cattle and Sheep Farming Today; Discover Dairy; George the Farmer; Workboot Series. For more information, click HERE.
Soil Knowledge Network The Soil Knowledge Network have produced a series of 6 short videos to help landholders improve the management of their soils. Titles include: Paddock tests for soil health, Your soils from top to bottom; Why soils are so important; Saline and sodic soils – the difference; Who we are; Our purpose. To view the videos, click HERE.
Managing climate risk on your farm The Dept of Primary Industries has published "Managing Climate Risk on your Farm'. The book explains daily and seasonal weather events; discuses the drivers of weather and climate; reviews the longer term complex scientific models that measure and monitor our variable climate and describes how to manage the risks that weather and climate present. Climate is about long term records, trends and averages. Weather is our day to day experience. 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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