Issue 36 - 10 November 2021
Message from RALF

Hi everyone,

In this edition: learn about the new
National Soil Strategy, have your say on the Warragamba Dam Environmental Impact Statement, apply for a new water licence, or take part in an edible insect farming webinar.

Also, funding is available for
special consideration COVID-19 support, networks for building drought resilience or pitching your agribusiness idea to the world!

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) 
National Soils Strategy

Healthy soils are central to delivering resilience to climate change and natural disasters, meeting our emission reduction targets, growing our agriculture industry, and securing human health, food and water security, biodiversity and economic growth. 

The National Soil Strategy sets out how Australia will value, manage and improve its soil. The goals and objectives aim to restore and protect soil nationally by driving collaborative and coordinated on-ground action, research, education, monitoring and governance. 

By June 2022, a National Soil Strategy Action Plan will detail specific actions (programs and activities) required to achieve the vision, goals and objectives of the Strategy.  Read the nation strategy and interim action plan HERE.

Soil carbon sequestration is an important component of the Australian Government’s plan for carbon neutrality by 2050. To achieve it, considerable technology is required to measure, market and make soil carbon. Keep update with the Soil Cooperative Research Centre technology HERE.
Warragamba Dam EIS
The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the raising of the Warragamba Dam wall has been released and submissions are invited by 29 November 2021. There are many possible impacts for this proposed initiative, including endangering 5700 hectares of UNESCO World Heritage-listed national park and flooding of 1541 cultural sites of the Gundungarra people in the Burragorang valley. Read the EIS and have your say HERE. Read the Australian River Restoration Centre response 
Online community market
A NSW Agrifood e-commerce company 'Food Markies' has recently launched an online community food market to help solve the challenges of direct sales facing small food growers and producers in Australia. The marketplace makes it easier for locals and tourists to discover and shop directly with various local producers around their location in one place. Free online storefronts for Agrifood business owners are available. Click HERE.
Improving prospects for NSW Agriculture 
Reducing and managing land use conflict, along with economic growth for agriculture and the regions, are the two main themes in the recently released NSW Agricultural Land Use Planning Strategy. 'Improving the Prospects for Agriculture and Regional Australia in the NSW Planning System' contains 13 recommendations to ensure land use planning decisions are well informed regarding the importance of agriculture. Click ​HERE.​
Drought resilience mentoring program
The Drought Resilience Leaders Mentoring Program connects farmers and people in the agriculture industry to share trusted advice and help tackle common challenges associated with drought, climate change, wellbeing and agricultural practice. If you are looking for someone to call for advice, or looking to make a positive impact on someone’s life by sharing your knowledge, click HERE.
Adopting rescue dogs to protect chickens
Egg farmer, Boyd Carmody, has 4,000 birds which were being targeted by birds of prey and foxes. So, he adopted four Maremma rescue dogs to work on his property. The dogs came from suburbia (where they barked too much) and now they now work in two pairs covering a 30-acre paddock each. Taking care of his open range flocks, Boyd says they're his best workers! Click HERE. 
Opportunity for new water licences
New water access licences are available in 47 groundwater sources across NSW. The Controlled Allocation Order 2021, presents an opportunity to buy new shares in specified groundwater sources with unassigned water. The Order makes available new aquifer access licences through a tender process. Register your interest before 30 November 2021. Click 
Edible insect farming
A sustainable farming system that grows Edible insects is featured in this one hour lunchtime webinar on National Ag Day, 19 November 2021. Hear how Skye has developed robotic technology specifically for use in insect farming in urban locations and has designed and implemented processes to extract nutritional ingredients from the insects (such as oils, powders and mylks). To register, click HERE.
Ag Day
Friday 19 November 2021 is Ag Day! Celebrate stories from those in the industry, highlighting the many different jobs in the sector, and hopefully inspire a new generation to consider a career in agriculture. It’s a day of celebration for the industry – a chance to take stock of the significant contributions agriculture makes to the lives of all Australians and invite people who may not know much about the industry to give agriculture a go! Click HERE.
Greater Sydney Landcare Network
The Greater Sydney Landcare network AGM and Christmas party will be held on Sunday 28 November 2021. To be held at the Education Centre, Sydney Olympic Park, online participation is also available. Presentations include: Mik Petter, President of the Bulimba Creek Catchment Coordinating Committee; Julie Sheppard - Razorback Landcare Group, NPA Macarthur Branch; Mel Tyas, Landcare NSW & ex NPWS. 
Greater Sydney Landcare Gathering
Calling all small farmers, landcarers, bushcarers and environmentalists. Greater Sydney Landcare and Greater Sydney Local Land Services invite you to connect, imagine and create our future together! It’s been a difficult couple of years with drought, bushfires, floods and a global pandemic Together, we can find new connections and develop positive ideas and initiatives. Be a part of the Greater Sydney "care" community on 20 February 2022. Register your interest HERE. 

Hawkesbury Ag field day
Cultivate your future in agriculture and discover the breadth and level of agriculture innovation within the Hawkesbury. The field day and local tours will showcase agribusiness education pathways, careers and opportunities in the Hawkesbury, link industry to students and the local farming community and highlight the contribution of small farms networks and niche agribusinesses make to our community. To be held in Richmond on 22 March 2022. For more info, email Julie McAlpin at julie.mcalpin@rdasydney.org.au
Carbon farming comes of age
After more than 10 years of development, carbon farming and trading is now almost 'mainstream' providing income diversification, productivity improvements and biodiversity benefits. On 23-26 May 2022 in Albury NSW, learn about renewable energy, emission reduction credits, soil carbon credits, agroforestry, water credits, carbon offset credits, biodiversity credits & blockchain technology. Click 

2022 National Landcare Conference
The theme of the 2022 National Landcare Conference is “The Power of Landcare - Shaping Our Future”. The six concurrent streams will be; Landcare Farming and Emerging Environmental Markets, Environment and Climate Change, Community Partnerships in Action, Landcare Impact, Urban Landcare and First Nations Peoples. To be held at Darling Harbour on 23-25 August 2022, abstracts close on 27 February. Click HERE.


Strengthening rural communities
The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and the Australian Government are partnering to provide the Networks to Build Drought Resilience program. This funding opportunity for small rural, regional and remote communities encourages collaboration, improves skills and capacity to help communities become more resilient to the impacts of drought. Round two grants are open until 15 November 2021. Learn more HERE.
New COVID-19 support 
If your business or not-for-profit organisation is not eligible for any current Service NSW support schemes you may still be able to access financial support by submitting your details to the COVID-19 business hardship review panel for special consideration. Businesses must be able to demonstrate financial hardship as a result of NSW public health orders. Applications close 15 November 2021. Click HERE.
Pitch your agri-food business to the world
Six agricultural, food and beverage manufacturing and technology businesses will have the opportunity to pitch to high-profile investors and customers from across the Middle East and the World. This initiative is part of the NSW agri-food event at Expo 2022 Dubai, supported by Investment NSW, NSW Department of Primary Industries, and the NSW Smart Sensing Network. Applications close 19 November 2021. Click HERE. 
Stronger communities
Round 7 of the popular Stronger Communities Programme is now open! This grant funding is aimed at community groups and not for profit organisations for infrastructure and capital works projects that increase community participation and contribute to vibrant and viable communities. Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains grant requests must be between $2,500 and $20,000.  Submit your expression of interest by 22 November 2021. Click HERE.
Destination Australia scholarships extended 
2022 Destination Australia scholarship places are now available. With a value of up to $15,000 per year for 2 years, the scholarship can be used for a Diploma of Agriculture or an Advanced Diploma of Agribusiness Management. The study mode is on-campus in Armidale NSW, 3-4 days per week. Click HERE.


Opportunities with Agrivoltaics
Agrivoltaics integrates solar PV systems into land or infrastructure already used for agriculture. In large-scale solar farms, the spaces between the arrays of panels can be planted out with low height vegetation and used as land for grazing. Solar panels can also be integrated into existing or new structures, such as shade structures for cattle waiting to be milked or shade-loving crops such as blueberries. Click HERE and HERE.
Sheep and goat survey
NSW sheep and goat producers can have their say on electronic identification in a confidential survey being conducted by Charles Sturt University. A mob-based system is currently used for identifying and tracing sheep and goats in NSW. The survey will examine the barriers and drivers for electronic individual identification for sheep and goats to inform how to improve traceability via the National Livestock Identification System. Click HERE, before 10 December 2021.


How to start your own food co-op
Blue Mountains Food Co-operative Limited is one of the largest and longest running food co-operatives in Australia. Established in 1981 as a tiny buyers group operating from a member’s garage, the Co-op now has an annual turnover of over $4 million. The Co-op has frequently been asked for advice on starting and operating a food co-op, so they have created a resource document to share and assist others. Click HERE. 
Free small business advice
Small businesses can now access additional support from the Business Connect advisory service. Free advice and new resources is now available for COVID-19 impacted businesses. Independent advice on topics such as developing a recovery plan, reaching new customers online and managing cash-flow and multicultural advisors and translation services are available. You can choose a local advisor or browse by business topic, such as agriculture, or industry experience. Click HERE.
The principles of holistic management 
Brian Wehlburg is a highly regarded holistic management educator. In this recent 'Secrets of the Soil' podcast, Brian discusses the principles of holistic management including: grazing and environmental management, goal setting, sustainable living, holistic financial planning and decision making. To listen, click 
Biocontrol of weeds
​Successful weed management using biological control (biocontrol) is a technology that is proven to be environmentally friendly, self-sustaining and cost-effective. NSW Department of Primary Industries have published a manual on maximising weed biocontrol in South-east Australia. It contains biocontrol programs for more than 50 weed species in south-east Australia, such as Paterson's curse, and is available HERE.
Small farms and bushfires
The Small Farms Network - Capital Region has produced a Small Farms and Bushfire Webinar covering property preparation, bushfire management zones, bushfire survival plans, equipment, managing livestock and bushfire mitigation. View the webinar HERE or read a written summary HERE.
10 tips to increase bushfire resilience
The CSIRO have published 10 steps to increase bushfire resilience. Beginning with the “essentials” about bushfires and their behaviour, it culminates with maintaining bushfire-resilient properties. The 10 steps are: Bushfire essentials, Bushfire survival plan, Bushfire hazard assessment,  Building category, Siting and site layout, Bushfire resilient design principles, Bushfire resilient construction, Bushfire resilient materials, Bushfire resilient landscaping and Maintenance. Click HERE.
Environmental markets 
The Regen Farmers Mutual have released a webinar designed to help farmers understand Environmental Markets. There  is a broad range of environmental markets including carbon, biodiversity, native habitats, animal welfare, flood, fire and drought resilience and whole of farm. Watch the video HERE.
Remote water monitoring
One of the most important tools for farmers to manage volatile weather is remote water monitoring. Providing information on rainfall, tank levels, pressure and flow can ensure the water we have is being put to best use. For example, Bill Findlay spends most of his time in Sydney, but runs angus cattle on 540 acres near Oberon. After experiencing a massive water leak on his Oberon property, Bill invested in remote monitoring which provides Bill with near real time updates on his water infrastructure, no matter how near or far he is. Click HERE.  
Kids to farms
The 'Kids to Farms' program is designed to increase awareness in primary-school students about where our food and fibre comes from. The aim is to increase engagement between primary schools and farmers and ensure each child in NSW has 2 educational interactions with agriculture by the time they are 12 years old. If you want to be a host farm or take part in pilot farm visit, click HERE. 
Climate ready vegetation 
The Small Farms Network - Capital Region webinar on Trees for Tomorrow explores the topic of trees and climate change. Due to climate change, new combinations of plant species are appearing in our landscapes. Every bit counts when it comes to vegetation and planting trees. Even a small patch of high-quality vegetation can help provide rich diversity on farms. View the webinar
HERE. Read the Macquarie University Climate Ready Revegetation Guide 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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