Issue 49 - 4 November 2022
Message from RALF

Hi everyone,

Happy urban agriculture month!

In this edition:

    - listen to our latest The Big Shift podcast episode on small farm planning
    - discover an opportunity to enter the international herb and spice industry
    - choose between a large variety of workshops in November,  including:
          - How to run a successful agritourism business, 8 & 23 November
          - Preparing for floods, 10 November
          - Managing Hawkesbury sandstone derived soils, 11 November
          - Soil biology and management, 25 November 
    - Learn how to get paid for soil test information
    - Have your say on national climate policy
    - Discover the Certified Gardening Responsibly program
    - and 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) 

Farm planning tools to save you time and money

In the latest edition of The Big Shift podcast series, farmers and experts talk about property management planning and taking a holistic approach to small farm planning.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services have developed an online property mapping program, a holistic planning workbook and a self-assessment process. These tools guide you through a flexible planning process, enable you to review your current knowledge in property management and provide an interactive online mapping tool so you can create multiple property maps showing infrastructure, natural resources, land use and future plans.

Available on the LLS website (click
HERE), these resources can help you reach your small farm business and lifestyle goals. 

If you want to register your interest in attending a Small Farm Property Planning three part workshop series, click HERE.  
Successful natural capital accounting field day

Twenty five local landholders recently participated in a successful natural capital accounting field day at 'Blueberry Hills on Comleroy', Kurrajong.

They learnt how to measure and gain recognition for land management practices that protect environmental assets or natural capital from two Accounting for Nature trainers. Practical exercises were held on how to measure the environmental condition of native vegetation, collecting soil data and surveying birds and mammals.

All participants said they significantly or very significantly increased their understanding of environmental accounting and how to measure the environmental condition of native vegetation.

If you would like to participate in a future natural capital accounting field day, please register your interest HERE.
"The field day provided me with thorough information and a good understanding of the 
'Accounting for Nature' platform and process."
On-farm biosecurity
Have you thought about cleaning your boots when entering other farms or returning to your farm and what you might be carrying on them? Keep a clean pair of boots in your vehicle! Pathogens such as bacteria and viruses can easily transmit from property to property on boots and vehicles. Simple hygiene (soap, scrubbing brush and plenty of water) can significantly reduce the spread of disease between farms. For farm biosecurity tips, click HERE. Sign up for Biosecurity updates HERE.
Tsara flavours
Tsara Flavors & Aroma Madagascar has identified an opportunity to build a premium herb and spice industry in NSW and is looking for smallholder farms to collaborate with. The aim is to cultivate, process and export premium spices like vanilla, clove, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, peppercorns and herbs like fennel, cumin, coriander and black sesame seeds. These crops are in high demand in global markets. Interested? Review the company website  & email Mr Rajesh Bhadarka at [email protected]  
Farmers getting scammed 
Scammers are taking advantage of supply shortages within agriculture, leading to a loss of more than $1.2 million for farmers. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says the sale of fake tractors and heavy machinery resulted in losses of $1 million, with scammers either selling fake machinery for a discounted price, requesting a 10 to 20 per cent deposit, or sending fake invoices to businesses. Click HERE. 
Hemp industry to grow 
Australia's hemp yield has grown more than twentyfold since 2014, and according to hemp farmer Bob Doyle, the industry is about to "boom". In 2017, Australia became one of the last countries in the world to legalise hemp for food consumption. While this delay in legislation initially held back the industry, production is now 2,300 hectares in 2020-21, up from 100 hectares in 2013-14. For more information, click HERE,
Need riverbank erosion support?
Local Land Services has dedicated staff ready to provide technical advice and support to impacted landholders regarding riverbank erosion. The Riverbank Erosion Support team offers advice and support on managing erosion on paddocks, cropping land and naturally vegetated areas. Please email the project team at [email protected] with your contact details, river, land size, location and photos, including before and after if you have them. There is also a great fact sheet with further information on the website.
Agritourism - know your zone
If you are zoned RU1, RU2 or RU4, you have the most straightforward pathway to exemption and complying development under the new agritourism legislation. You will need to work with your local council if your property is in these zones. To determine your zone, go to the NSW Government Planning Portal, enter your address on the left-hand side, navigate to Principal Planning Layers >> Land Zoning Map and check the box. These changes will commence 1 December 2022. For more info, click HERE.  
Western Sydney's food bowl threatened
The western Sydney food bowl, worth $600 million annually, makes up three-quarters of Sydney's agricultural activity. But this farmland is at risk. An extra 833,000 more people are expected to call Western Sydney home in the coming two decades. A university study estimates that up to 60 per cent of farming land in Sydney's west and outer suburbs has already been lost in the last decade. Click HERE.
Green Camel
Thought of diversifying your farm income? Green Camel at Cobbitty is farming Barramundi, and now Murray Cod in a high-intensity closed loop system. The waste from the fish is collected, processed and used in glasshouses growing organic tomatoes, cucumbers and leafy greens. All fish are sold live to the local Sydney market. Green Camel is Australia’s largest organic glasshouse facility. Check out the website 
HERE or view a short video HERE.
Fox trapping workshop
Blue Mountains landholders are invited to attend a workshop to learn more about foxes and how to manage their impacts, focusing on using cage traps. To be held from 9.30am - 2.30pm on Monday, 7 November 2022 at Katoomba. For more information please contact Malcolm Scott on 0418 260 297 Register HERE. 
Pest animal workshops 
Residents and landholders in the Kurrajong and Mulgoa areas are invited to attend a pest animal workshop to learn more about deer and foxes and how to manage their impacts, focusing on using traps. 

    - Kurrajong, Tuesday, 8 November 2022,  9.45am – 2.30pm, register HERE.
    - Mulgoa, Wednesday 9 November 2022, 9.45am - 2.30pm, register HERE.
For more info, contact Brian Kirkman on 0412 454 634.

Running a successful agritourism business 
Hear about the new agritourism rules, understand the Hawkesbury City Council Development Application process and learn about a booking system for your business. Two workshops are being held:
    - Kurrajong, Tuesday, 8 November 2022, 10am – 12pm at Schembrae's, register HERE.
    - Richmond, Wednesday 23 November 2022, 10am - 12pm at The Royal Richmond, register HERE. 

How to prepare for floods
The State Emergency Service, Bureau of Meteorology and Infrastructure NSW are holding an interactive webinar on how to prepare for floods in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley. The aim is to provide businesses with information on the flood risk and business impacts, the seasonal weather outlook and practical examples of how businesses can prepare for floods. 8.00 - 9.30am, Thursday 10 November, register HERE. For more information, contact Madeleine Dignam on 0420 869 214 or 02 8016 0198.
Soil pit workshop
A workshop focusing on issues and solutions for managing soils formed on Hawkesbury sandstone will be held on 11 November at Somersby. The workshop will help landholders: work with soils to inform farm planning, understand the characteristics of their soils, soil sampling, soil fertility and management. This is a limited opportunity to work with leading experts from the NSW Soil Knowledge Network, register HERE. The same workshop will be held on a shale soil site in early 2023. 
Sydney's Urban Agriculture Forum
Sustain, the Australian Food Network and City of Sydney are holding the Sydney Urban Agriculture Forum on Friday 11 November, 8.45am to 2pm. The forum will be a celebration and a deep dive into the critical role urban agriculture plays in dealing with health and wellbeing, sustainability, climate change and food security issues. To be held at Sydney City Farm, on Gadigal land, with Costa Georgiadis hosting a long list of expert speakers. Registration fees apply. Click HERE.
Sustainable horse management workshop
Want to learn how to maintain and manage suitable pastures for horses whilst encouraging biodiversity? What about managing manure, water and vegetation and how to design (or re-design) your horse property to get the best outcomes? Limited spaces are still available at the Campbelltown workshop on 11 November 2022, register HERE. For more information, click HERE.
20th anniversary farmers market  
Hawkesbury Harvest Farmers Market is now 20 years old! This special market will include lots of fun, good food, hamper giveaways, tastings, live music, $1000 worth of vouchers to give away, plus the usual favourite favourites and stallholders. To be held on Saturday 12 November 2022, 8am to 1pm at Castle Hill Showground. For more information, click HERE.
Soil biology and management workshop
Who's Down Under? This soil biology workshop will give growers an understanding of soil biology along with practical knowledge to help implement on-farm soil biology improvements. Dr Kelvin Montagu will cover the foundations of soil biology, key soil functions driven by soil biology, feeding and adding soil biology and key management practices. Friday 25 November, 10am to 2pm at 40 Edwards Rd, Richmond Lowlands. Lunch will be provided, registration essential. Click 


RuralBiz training scholarships  
Two RuralBiz training scholarships for 2023 are now available. They cover the full course fee for either the AHC50116 Diploma of Agriculture or the AHC51422 Diploma of Agribusiness Management. To check if you are eligible and apply now click HERE. Andrew from Grenfell was awarded a scholarship in 2020 and said  "This was one of the best experiences I could've hoped for coming out of school. It was super flexible, allowing me to get out into the work force while studying."
Bushfire restoration grants 
Individual landholders, community organisations and government agencies may be eligible for grants of up to $5,000 for projects within Local Government Areas affected by the 2019/20 bushfires. Priority will be given for: planting 1,000 or more trees sourced from an FNPW bushfire recovery nursery; community or volunteer engagement; work over 3ha or more to reinforce areas of existing native vegetation; collaboration with traditional owners and indigenous organisations. Click HERE.
Get paid for your soil test information 
Farmers across the country are invited to participate in a soil sampling program and receive $275 plus GST per sample site (capped at $10,000 per ABN in return for sharing their data on the Australian National Soil Information System (ANSIS). Farmers can also receive assistance from Commonwealth-funded soil extension officers to interpret their soil test results.  If you'd like to know more, click about the program visit HERE. Applications close early May 2023
Flood-impacted primary producer grants 
NSW primary producers affected by the February and March 2022 severe weather and flooding can now access additional support. The Critical Producer Grant can support primary producers to restore and rebuild damaged essential infrastructure to a resilient standard to better withstand future disasters. Producers who have already applied for the Special Disaster Grant - February 2022 are eligible for additional recovery support through the Critical Producer Grant. Click HERE.  


Hive monitoring 
Unfortunately, Varroa has arrived in Australia and poses a serious threat to beekeeping and pollination services. There is much to be learned about feral bee populations, making future impacts of Varroa difficult to quantify. A 'citizen science' project has begun, focusing on honey bee swarms. Swarm traps are being set up throughout NSW to collect bees and assess for the presence of varroa and viruses. If you have some forested land and are interested in hosting swarm traps, please contact Prof. Sasha Mikheyev, by emailing [email protected]

Have your say on national climate policy
The Federal Government wants to know what should be included in a national policy on climate change and agriculture. The rolling climate disasters of the past few years – from drought and fires to storms and floods – have shown the need for urgent climate action. Strong climate policy can drive investment in regional Australia and provide opportunities for farmers to diversify their income. Have your say by 9 November, click HERE.
Anti-burping tablets for cattle
The University of Queensland claims its research has the potential to reduce methane emissions in Australia's beef industry by 30 per cent using biological polymers. The federal government recently confirmed that Australia would sign up to a global pledge to reduce methane emissions by 30 per cent this decade. Meat and Livestock Australia, the industry's peak research and development group, had previously vowed to be carbon neutral by 2030 through its CN30 pledge.  For more information, click HERE.
Sheep and goat traceability in NSW
Effective livestock traceability is essential to protect the biosecurity of our livestock industries and to ensure we can restore access to international markets as soon as possible following an emergency animal disease outbreak. A series of targeted online consultation sessions with key industry sectors have been organised to help create an implementation plan for sheep and goat electronic identification in NSW. For more information, click HERE or provide your thoughts via email HERE.


Farming in tune with nature
Garry Kadwell is a prime lamb and potato grower at his properties 'Rosedale' and 'Fairholt' spanning 700 hectares on top of the Great Dividing Range near  Crookwell, NSW. The properties are outstanding examples of integrating conservation and farming that benefits biodiversity, productivity, profitability and wellbeing. Garry has dedicated 32% of his farm to conservation areas, enhanced and reconnected habitat patches and corridors across the landscape while increasing farm profits and the quality of his produce. Click 
Gardening responsibly
Unfortunately, many of our most invasive weeds were purposely brought to Australia as garden ornamentals. Now the Certified Gardening Responsibly program provides a gardening responsibly tick of approval. Only ornamental plants assessed as having a low future-invasive risk can get the tick, and only suppliers who have joined the Gardening Responsibly Scheme can sell or provide plants with the tick. HERE.
Meet the Co-op Farmers
The second season of the Meet the Co-op Farmers podcast investigates the world of farming, fishing and forestry co-operatives, as well as the co-ops and mutuals that work alongside primary producers. Michael Cavanagh travelled all over Australia to talk about farming and agribusiness co-operatives, from rock lobsters to banking. A large variety of insightful guests have shared their cooperative experience. To listen, click HERE.
Action for ag  
The Young Environmental Champions (YEC) are young people completing their primary, secondary and tertiary education who are supported to act on environmental and social issues important to them, their schools and their communities. These young people and their communities are supported to be agents of change, creating a movement to embed sustainability thinking and actions in our way of life. The 10-week program is open to young people in Stage 3 to Stage 5 in primary and secondary schools in various NSW regions. HERE.  
Talking nitrogen with Walter Jehne
In this webinar, Walter Jehne from Regenerate Earth talks about all things Nitrogen including, how we got to the point we are at today, how the N cycle works, and how improving soil health and biology can help lower or eliminate the use of applied N. He also discusses some strategies for lowering N application without loss of profit. To watch this webinar, click HERE.
Agritourism 2030 strategy
Agritourism is an opportunity to connect people to product or produce, delivered on a farm, through a direct “on farm” experience. A national strategy, action plan and toolkit has recently been released. It covers some of the challenges faced by farmers, including understanding tourism as a farm business option, land use regulation with running tourism on farms and the skills shortages facing both farming and hospitality industries. 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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