As mentioned last month, 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, see below for more detail.
Carbon farming is now a reality. Farmers can not only get paid for storing carbon in either the soil or in plants, research shows the long term productivity benefits are significant when implementing carbon farming practices. Also featured in this edition is your opportunity to comment on the Draft Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan, learn 'The Food Farm', review new funding opportunities and choose from a plethora of useful resources covering pollination, a guide to rural living and identification of ant species.
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)
Carbon farming is now a reality
The Australian Government has identified carbon farming as a key component of its newly released Technology Investment Roadmap. What does this mean for farmers and landholders?
Not only can farmers get paid for increasing and storing carbon in the soil or in plants and vegetation, the physical benefits result in greater productivity through improved plant nutrient update and moisture retention.
So, how much can carbon farmers get paid? AgriWebb believe an additional revenue of between $50-$100/ha/yr is possible. However, there are many steps involved, such as:
Undergo a carbon ready assessment and appraisal
Develop a carbon management plan, to increase soil carbon
Register your farm program with the federal government
Consider bidding for a contract to sell Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) to the Clean Energy Regulator
Complete your baseline documentation, establish the history of farm practices
Do your baseline soil testing
Review your management plan annually to see that you’re on track
Undergo three independent audits during the life of the project
Receive payment within three to five years from the sale of the ACCUs, to either the government or corporates.
There are costs involved in setting up a carbon farming project, including registration and audits. The Federal Government has identified the need to bring down the cost of testing soil carbon levels and want to bring it down by 90 percent to just $3/ha.
While soil carbon farming projects are better suited to larger block sizes, say 400ha or more, AgriWebb believe viable soil carbon farming projects in South Eastern Australia can be as small as 40ha. Aggregation of carbon farming blocks is also possible.
The NSW Government are committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This is also supported by the National Farmers Federation. For more information:
Draft Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan The Draft Cumberland Plain Conservation Plan is on public exhibition until 9 October 2020. Community feedback is sought to help finalise the the plan. Several documents are on exhibition and some files are large and may take time to download. View these documents and make an online submission HERE.
Creating viable regional food systems The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the fragility of our current food production and distribution system. This has accelerated the need for strong regional food systems that support local growers, provide food security, give communities some control over their food supply and yield environmental benefits. Consumers increasingly value local and sustainable food production. Click HERE.
Foxes and how to live with them The European red fox was introduced to Australia in the mid-19th century. Today they can be found all over the country and cost our farmers dearly each year in lost stock. Pest ecologist Graham Wilson from the Greater Sydney Local Land Services says foxes thrive in urban areas where they are at east two or three times the density of foxes in agricultural and rural landscapes. Click HEREfor information on foxes and how to live with them.
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. Participants will be able to attend workshops, access key resources and expertise, discuss innovation, market trends, the circular economy, supply chain management, the changing climate and be supported in making changes on and for the farm. To be involved, please email Julie McAlpin on [email protected]or myself on [email protected].
WEBINARS, SHORT COURSES & EVENTS
Startup Story - The Food Farm Join the Future Farmers Network and Young Farmer Business Program for their first 'Startup Story Online', 6.30pm on 6 October 2020. Tim Eyes and Hannah Greenshields from The Food Farm in the Yarramalong Valley on the NSW Central Coast are passionate about producing food in a regenerative way, growing beef, lamb, chicken, and eggs. Listen to and ask questions of Tim and Hannah via this free webinar. Register HERE.
Beekeepers field day
The Tocal Beekeepers’ Field Day on Saturday 17 October will be a virtual event, streamed for free on YouTube and Facebook. Now in its 41st year, this Beekeepers' Field Day is run collaboratively with several primary industry and beekeeper organisations and this year will feature national and international presentations, Q&A sessions, beekeeping demonstrations, honey competition results and more. Click HERE for more information or to register.
NSW Small Business Month 2020
In the wake of devastating bushfires and COVID-19, this year is possibly the toughest many small businesses have faced. To support small businesses as they enter the recovery phase, the NSW Government have teamed up with a host of partners to provide a wide array of activities and assistance. Explore the various activities available throughout the month (both online and in person)and check out the Business Connect program to receive free business advice from specialist advisors. Click HERE.
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 $297pp for community groups, farmers, food companies and students. For more info, click HERE.
Natural Resource Management Drought Resilience Program The Natural Resource Management Drought Resilience Program is providing grants to foster innovation and change in the management of our natural resources to deliver drought resilience in agricultural landscapes. Organisations, farmer groups and individuals can apply for between $20,000 and $200,000 to deliver innovative NRM approaches to build drought resilience in the rural sector. Applications close 30 October, click HERE.
Business events exhibitor grants Businesses are being encouraged to attend events, trade shows and conferences within Australia. Grants to help cover costs including the hire of exhibition spaces, the design and manufacture of displays, travel and accommodation are available. Under the program, Australian businesses exhibiting at an approved business meeting, convention, or event in 2021 will be able to apply for upfront grants to cover up to 50 per cent of their costs (between $10,000 - $250,000). Click HERE.
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.
Boundary fencing funding The NSW Government will help bushfire-affected landholders with the cost of rebuilding boundary fences adjoining public lands. Private landholders who share a boundary with public land and were impacted by the bushfires of late 2019 and early 2020 are eligible to receive up to $5,000 per kilometre to contribute to the replacement of damaged boundary fences. Grants can be issued retrospectively to cover costs already incurred. ClickHEREto complete the form, or call 1300 778 080.
Biological control for fireweed Fireweed, a common weed found throughout Greater Sydney, competes with pasture and is toxic to livestock, especially horses. While cattle are usually reluctant to eat fireweed, young, hungry or new stock may eat it, resulting in weight loss, severe brain damage and possible sudden death within 3 to 6 months. Hard to get rid of, a fireweed plant can produce up to 30,000 seeds in one season. The CSIRO is currently researching biological control options including a South African stem-boring weevil. For more info on fireweed, including control options, HERE.
A new deal between farmers and the society is needed The' Herdwick Shepherd', a farmer from the Lakes District of northern England, tried to modernise his farm in the 1990's
with industrial technologies. However, within a few years he found the new model wasn't working so he started the slow process of salvaging the farm. As only 15 percent of money spent on food goes to farmers, a new deal between farmers and the society is needed. Listen to the 'Conversations' podcast HERE.
Female farmers seek alternative methods of production and marketing Research conducted by Lucie Newsome, University of New England, examined how female agricultural producers are responding to the cost-price squeeze of Australian agriculture. The research indicates female producers seek alternative methods of production and marketing, rather than pursing economies of scale, resulting in more sustainable production of niche products on smaller plots of land with direct marketing. Click HERE.
Balancing biodiversity and food production The CSIRO have used a number of land-use and biodiversity models to assess how to reverse terrestrial biodiversity declines due to habitat loss. The study shows
an ambitious integrated program of conservation and restoration efforts, along with transforming the food system, can reverse the decline in biodiversity loss. It requires further sustainable intensification and trade, reduced food waste, and healthier human diets. HERE.
Every Bit Counts website A new website packed with resources designed for small landholders who are trying to improve their land, production and environment is now up and running. Information is provided on a wide range of topics including: rural property ownership; farm safety; livestock and poultry; water; weeds; soil; aboriginal cultural heritage; native vegetation; pests & diseases; emergencies; horticulture; wildlife. Click HERE.
Identifying invasive and native ants Ants play an important part in our ecosystems. Check out the online guide to identifying ants by clicking HERE.Any suspicious sightings of an invasive species, such as Red Imported Fire Ants or Yellow Crazy Ants, must be reported immediately as they can spread rapidly. Do not disturb these ants or nests or try to treat the infestation yourself as they are known to inflict painful bites and stings. To report a possible invasive ant sightings, click HERE or phone 1800 680 244.
Powerful pollinators Spring is in the air, and pollinators of all shapes and sizes are out in force enjoying the blossoms on trees, shrubs, pastures and crops. In this webinar recording, Professor Saul Cunningham from ANU, Wheen Bee Foundation's Anna Carrucan, and Sustainable Farms ecologist Angelina Siengrist explain the role pollinators play in our agricultural landscapes.
Breaking new ground Evidence is mounting that regenerative agriculture is not only possible, it is a great story of hope. Charlie Massy, regenerative farmer and author of 'The Call of the Reed Warbler' runs a family property near Cooma in NSW. Three years into a drought his property is covered in grass, a stark difference to some of the neighbouring properties. Watch the ABC's Australian Story on Charlie Massy HERE.
A guide for rural landholders The Rural Living Handbook by LLS is a free guide to help rural landholders experience the wonderful aspects of rural life and raise awareness of the risks and responsibilities involved. It is for: people who are new to rural life in NSW; prospective rural property owners; owners of hobby farms and lifestyle blocks; people who are having a go at primary production for the first time; long-term property owners who want further resources on living sustainably in a rural area. Click HERE for the latest 2020 edition.
Small farms and climate change How can small farms tackle and prepare for climate change? On 5 September, a forum for SE NSW on this topic was held with speakers Melinda Hillery, Senior Project Officer, Climate Resilience and Net Zero Emissions Branch, NSW Dept of Planning, Industry and Environment, Harry Watson from Millpost Merino and Helena Warren from Cadfor Agistment and Murray Greys. A recording of the presentations can be viewed HERE.
Dung beetle videos The Dung Beetle Ecosystem Engineers project has developed a series of new short videos about dung beetles. The videos include: The Benefits of Dung Beetles; How to setup traps to identify dung beetles in your area; and, How to release dung beetles on your property. As the project evolves, more videos on the management and identification of dung beetles will be created. Click HERE.
Ten ways to improve natural assets of a farm Sustainable Farms have launched a new booklet, 'Ten ways to improve the natural assets on a farm'. The booklet highlights how small changes on a farm can create new habitat for native animals and lead to increased stock productivity. The publication is underpinned by 20 years of long-term research into biodiversity on farms. Click HERE.
Mental health booklet The Rural Adversity Mental Health Program (RAMHP) has updated the ‘Helping Hand for Western NSW – Pathways to Services’ guide. It provides a simple mental health self assessment checklist and information on support services covering mental health, family and relationships along with other rural support services. 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
You received this email because you subscribed to our list. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Lvl 4, 2-6 Station Street Penrith NSW 2750 Australia