Issue 41 - 18 March 2022
Message from RALF

Hi everyone,

I am writing this from the horse flood evacuation centre at Castle Hill Showground. If you are still directly impacted by the floods and adverse weather and missed last weeks special flood edition, click

Recent events have have highlighted the need for more resilient supply chains, see below for more detail. Also: Understand your Japanese Encephalitis risk; Should I trade or save soil carbon?; Rebates for small business fees and charges; Calculating the costs of net zero emissions; and, alternative fertilizer research, plus much more.

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) 

Support for flood affected landholders

In addition to the large variety of help and support information in last weeks Special Flood Edition, here is some more recent information and links:
  • Meat & Livestock Australia have compiled flood recovery information, click HERE 
  • Rural Aid support (financial, wellbeing and fodder assistance) for farmers affected by natural disaster, HERE
  • The Farm Army is a job posting platform for farmers, workers and volunteers.  Learn more HERE
  • For the latest NSW Government support, click HERE
  • For the latest Federal Government support, click HERE
If you want to help people affected by floods, and want to know what to do – and what not to do, click HERE.  

And one more helpful idea in case you are in an emergency and your phone is running out of battery. If you need rescuing, change your voicemail to your location and current situation.
A resilient food supply chain

Climate change is increasing the risk of food shortages following extreme weather events. Empty supermarket shelves, once rare, are likely to become a more common place as the impacts of climate change worsen. 

Climate change is also increasing the price of food, reducing availability of some lines, and decreasing the nutritional value of some basic food staples. The 'Fork in the Road' report argues for the need to build resilience into our food supply system and address the broader issue of climate change.
Research by The University of Melbourne has revealed ways to increase the resilience of  the food supply chain, from production through processing, distribution, retail, consumption and waste resources. 

The research indicates the need for governments to increase the resilience of food systems to shocks and stresses and not just have plans to manage emergency food supplies during a disaster. 

This research led to the creation of an infographic (see below) showing opportunities to strengthen the resilience of Melbourne’s food supply to shocks and stresses, such as fire, drought, flood and pandemic.

The ACT Government is investigating ideas to support local food production, such as the Patchwork Urban Farm project. Backyard growing and rezoning of public land to allow for community gardens is being considered. 

Japanese encephalitis
A virus that can leave piglets stillborn, give horses anorexia and can harm humans has for the first time been found in southern Australia. The Japanese encephalitis virus is a mosquito-borne disease that mostly occurs in pigs and horses, but can cause disease (including death) in people and rarely in other animals. It is not transmitted from person to person and cannot be caught by eating pork or pig products. For human health related info, click HERE, for ag related info, click HERE. 
Bob Hawke Landcare awards
Nominations for the 2022 Bob Hawke Landcare Award are now open! Every two years, the award publicly recognises an individual involved in championing the national Landcare movement through encouraging others to take action and have demonstrated a commitment to natural resource management and sustainable agriculture. If this sounds like you or someone you know, click HERE. 
The decision to trade or save soil carbon
Our soils (and vegetation) are a ‘natural’ solution to climate change. By using photosynthesis, every plant leaf is a solar panel taking CO2 out of the air, using the carbon for its own needs, and taking it back down into the soils for use by microbes and to be stored over time. More carbon in soil and vegetation means better productivity via higher water holding capacity and improved soil structure. Read more about soil carbon dynamics HERE,  or watch a Landline video HERE.
Soil carbon levels are dependent on rainfall
Experts believe Australia may be lucky to maintain its current levels of soil carbon because of declining rainfall patterns. Australia may be lucky to maintain its current soil carbon levels because of declining rainfall patterns. Professor Richard Eckard says "Backing something like soil carbon, which is really just dependent on rainfall, is really tricky in a country that can't depend on its own rainfall." Click HERE.
Can a Community Food Hub deliver the goods?
Join Robert Pekin, founder of Food Connect, at 10am on Wednesday 23 March for a two hour interactive webinar. Sometimes referred to as the father of the paddock to plate movement, learn how Robert has been able to turn his vision for how food should be grown, aggregated, marketed and distributed into a reality. For more info, email Julie McAlpin at [email protected]
Protected cropping conference
Protected Cropping Australia invites you to their bi-annual conference in Coffs Harbour on 28-31 March 2022. With a mix of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, trade exhibitions and farm tours, this is the premier protected cropping event of 2022. Topics include pollination, water use, technology, pests and disease management, medicinal cannabis and the berry sector. An online registration option is available. For information, including complementary grower training sessions, click HERE.
Introduction to permaculture 
A one day course for people interested in a holistic way of exploring, designing and living in a way to create more resilience, energy and water efficiency, abundance, purpose and meaning. Saturday 2 April 2022 at Clonturkle Sanctuary, Yetholme NSW. For more information, click 
Holistic management for regeneration
Gain an understanding of the holistic nature of our environment, learn how to make decisions that are socially, environmentally and financially sound, discover how to utilise animals as a tool to improve environmental health, create a holistic context for yourself, business and family and gain a deep understanding of holistic financial planning. Leave with new ideas to help you achieve your goals. Four, two-day sessions held in Berry, 28-29 April 2022. For more info, click HERE. To register, click HERE.
Conservation in action
Conservation in Action is a unique conference that brings together industry leaders in the conservation field. From scientists to policy makers, program managers through to implementation specialists, this event brings together multiple natural resource management disciplines to facilitate the transition of environmental research into on-ground action. 2-4 May, Orange NSW. Click
Permaculture design course 
The first Pocket City Farms permaculture design course is being run from 7 May to 25 June, 2022. It features a mix of weekend, evening and self-paced at home activities. This 9-week program gives you time to absorb and reflect upon permaculture ethics and principles, as well as complete a permaculture design for a site of your choice. Places are selling fast so if you are interested, click HERE.
Where farmers & foodies meet
Since 1985, PRIMEX has evolved from a relatively small local event to one of the country’s leading primary industries expos. Now with more than 300 exhibitors, 1000 different companies and  25,000 visitors across the three days, PRIMEX is Australia’s sustainable farm and primary industries exhibition. PRIMEX offers a complete Paddock to Plate Experience 'Where Farmers & Foodies Meet'! Learn about the 19-21 May 2022 PRIMEX, HERE.
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 HERE.


Want a qualification?
Destination Australia can support students with $15,000 (per course) while studying a Diploma of Agriculture and/or Advanced Diploma of Agribusiness Management. The scholarships are for study in Armidale NSW and the face to face component is 3 days per week. For more info, click HERE or phone  02 6884 8812.
Want to attend the biosecurity symposium?
The Farm Biosecurity program will fully fund and support six delegates to attend the 2nd Australian Biosecurity Symposium. Representing a cross section of livestock producers, growers and mixed farming practices, the winning delegates will be well connected within their sector, potentially with a strong online or community presence. Registration, accommodation and flights to the Gold Coast will be funded. Click HERE.
Rebates for small business fees and charges
Sole traders, small business owners and not-for-profit organisations in NSW may be eligible for small business fees and charges rebate of $3,000. This rebate can help businesses recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and encourages growth by reducing business running costs. Funds can be used to offset the costs of eligible NSW and local government fees, until 30 June 2022, for charges due and paid from 1 March 2021, Click HERE.


Solutions within agriculture can mitigate the climate crisis
The latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirms that climate change is already significantly disrupting the world’s supply of food and water  and those disruptions will get worse. However, experts say solutions within agriculture and the broader food system have real potential to both mitigate the crisis and benefit people and the planet—if implemented quickly and decisively. Click 
High technology urban horticulture
A Horticulture Australia research project has identified the areas requiring further work to enable the use of high technology urban horticulture in Australia. The areas include economic, planning, government support, environment and social. The recommendations are outlined in the project summary Opportunities for high-technology horticulture in urban Australia.
Spreading like wildfire 
The world’s first United Nations global report about the rising threat of extraordinary landscape fires has shown that uncontrollable and devastating wildfires are now to be expected. The report calls for a shift in wildfire-related expenditures, technological investments to control fire, and recovery planning including the protection and restoration of ecosystems in danger. Click
Calculating the costs of net zero emissions 
A report from CSIRO/KPMG says that delaying the move to net zero in the largest ag sectors (beef, sheep, grains and dairy) would leave profitability a third lower than would otherwise be the case by 2050. The agricultural sector is highly exposed to climatic shifts and adaptation will be essential to maintain ongoing productivity in the sector. Click HERE,
Vertical Farming 
Vertical farming is starting to move outside of cities and be utilised in regional Australia. The concept  aims to make fresh produce more accessible in rural areas and develop the Riverina's intensive horticulture industry using vertical farming. COVID has highlighted accessibility to fresh produce issues with supply chains and the concept is about producing fresh produce locally and consuming it locally. Click HERE.
State of the Global Farmer
The first-ever State of the Global Farmer Report compiles the priorities, preferences, and livestock industry predictions from hundreds of producers across the world. Learn what  producers across the world prioritizing and preparing for and producer attitudes tech adoption, regenerative farming, profit, innovation, etc. to view the report. click HERE.


Soil fungi to help combat global warming
Soil fungi can not only help prevent carbon from entering the atmosphere, it can also reduce the amount that’s already present there.
The 2018 SCINEMA International Science Film Festival Best Documentary and People’s Choice Award Winner Grassroots follows a journey of using fungi to remove carbon dioxide from the air and store it in agricultural soil. Almost four years since the film’s debut, where is this strategy now? Click HERE.
Farmer's markets
At last count, there are more than 50 farmer's and fresh produce markets within a 250 km radius of Sydney. So, if you have excess produce and want to know what markets are nearby, click HERE. If you are aware of any additional farmer's or fresh produce markets, or if any of the information provided needs to be updated, please email me or phone 0406 803 337. 
Beneficial insects webinar

In this pre-recorded webinar, Cesar Australia shows how to recognise a range of natural enemies present in the eastern Australian landscape and provides a summary of recent research into the toxicity of different pesticides to beneficial species. To view, click HERE.   
Farming matters podcasts
Eight podcast episodes from the 2021 Farming Matters Conference are now available. Topics include: Holistic thinking, Our holistic food future, Holistic grazing, Carbon farming, Investment in regenerative agriculture, The farmer’s experience, What will agriculture look like in 2030 and 2050. Click HERE. 
Landscape rehydration guide
Proposed changes to the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) farmers to restore streams on their property through landscape rehydration techniques without the need for council approval. To understand the intended effect of these changes, click 
HERE. To view the Landscape Rehydration Guide, click HERE.
Young Farmers Connect (YFC)
Young Farmers Connect supports anyone who aspires to create a career in farming or shares a vision for fair and sustainable food systems. Educational opportunities and community connections are provided to encourage young agrarians to farm for the future, supporting the use of regenerative, holistic & sustainable agricultural practices. Membership fees apply, click
Together we grow
If you need a spiritual lift, this 40 minute documentary is the perfect antidote to the cynical narrative that says people are inherently selfish. It shows we are all capable of coming together, creating resilient communities, caring for each other, embracing the limits that the climate emergency imposes and seeing them as the opportunity to reimagine everything. Click
HERE, viewing fees apply.
A guide to modern fish-protection screening
Waterways are often full of sticks, leaves, animals and other debris. This can get sucked into pumps and  the majority of pumps currently use traditional screens that are not as effective as they could be. Modern screens are self-cleaning and  low maintenance, reducing the need to back-flush lines, replace filters and clear sprinklers. The key is to reduce the velocity, but not the volume, of water entering the intake. For a copy of the guide, click HERE.
Alternative fertilizer research
A producer-initiated field-research project has investigated many concerns around  the performance of alternative fertilizers, including whether alternative fertilisers could boost production in a cost effective way. View videos of various presentations regarding the research, including:
Pasture, soil & economic results; Livestock production - alternative fertilizers; Phosphorous cycling; and Five alternative fertilizers. Click HERE.
Worming egg counts
FAMACHA is a system to assist farmers monitor and manage sheep and goat parasites, preventing production loss and death. Specifically, the 'Worming Egg Count' helps farmers to know what type of parasites are affecting the flock and the best time to perform treatment with deworming medications. FAMACHA aims to slow the development of drench resistance in barber's pole worms,  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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