Issue 33 - 11 August 2021
Message from RALF
Hello all,

As the lockdown period continues, this edition is packed full of news, events (online and face to face post COVID), funding opportunities and heaps of resources. 

We feature grant opportunities and support services regarding COVID-19 and the final 'Big Shift' podcast episode is on 'Working with nature and environmental accounting'.

Also, learn about the poison warning for livestock south west of Sydney, cultural burning to control a significant weed, 'Accounting for Nature' webinars, black summer bushfire recovery grants, a virus found to attack fall armyworm, a free pasture fertilizer guide, 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) 
COVID-19 Support

Today, Wednesday 11 August at 3pm, a NSW Government webinar is being held on grants, including 2021 Covid-19 business grantJob Saver and the Covid19 micro business grant. Click HERE before 1.30pm to register for the webinar.

Also, below are some website links to help you keep up to date with the latest news, restrictions, funding opportunities and support services. 
Remember, wear your face mask correctly, get vaccinated ASAP and get tested even if you have just the mildest of symptoms. 
Working with nature and environmental accounting

Agricultural production relies on natural ecosystems, but, the more we modify our landscapes, the less resilient they become, resulting in reduced production. The good news is that farming methods that work with nature can achieve great production outcomes and incentives for landscape restoration are available. In this podcast episode we hear how land managers can be rewarded for working with nature. Click HERE.
Poison warning for South West Sydney livestock
Livestock owners in south west Sydney are being warned to watch for signs of plant toxicity in their animals following several fatal poisonings in the region. The plant Mother-of-millions (Bryophyllum spp) has toxins that accumulate and can cause death even if small amounts are eaten several times. Symptoms include diarrhoea, usually with blood in the faeces, heart arrythmia, difficult breathing and collapse. Horses can show signs of abdominal pain (colic). Livestock need to be treated within 24 hours of consuming the plant. Click HERE.
Responsible farming
Limiting food waste and packaging, boosting water and energy efficiency are just some of the opportunities captured in a new Australian-Grown Horticulture Sustainability Framework. Created with input from more than 600 industry participants, the framework details 17 focus areas that align with existing business measures and initiatives, as well as the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Click HERE.
Ag Census
Farmers across Australia are completing the Agricultural Census from July 2021. The survey asks about agricultural production, land and water use in 2020-21 to help us better understand the importance and value of agriculture, how we can recover from natural disasters and provide improved infrastructure and services. If you have already received the 2020-21 Agricultural Census and need help filling out the form, click HERE.
Goats for rent
Goat herds provide an eco-friendly alternative to clearing paddocks and trimming lawns. On the Gold Coast hinterland, a property maintenance business is now offering his goat herd as an eco-friendly alternative to clearing paddocks. Paddocks are inspected for noxious weeds before setting up temporary electric fences and then delivering the herd. Click 
Innovative regenerative agriculture program
Southern Cross University has received funding to support farmers making the transformational change from traditional to regenerative agricultural principles and practices. Through the creation of regenerative agriculture knowledge hubs across regional NSW, farmers will be mentored in the adoption of regenerative farming principles and practices. Click HERE.
Our young farmers have a global voice at the G20
Australia's own Young Farmers Connect has recently joined a consortium of young farmer organisations from the G20 nations to present a group statement to ministers and officials at the G20 and UN Food Systems Summit. The aim is to ensure the competitiveness and success of young farmers across the world, effective generational renewal policies and strategies to ensure young farmers are engaged in improving agriculture. Click HERE.
Villages that produce all their own food and energy
Danish studio EFFEKT has designed a self-sustaining, off-grid village of greenhouse properties. Called ReGen Villages, the project imagines a community of buildings that produce all their own food and energy – a model that aims to tackle a wide spectrum of global issues, from the food and water crises to the rise of CO2 emissions. Click HERE.
Feral pig numbers continue to grow
Feral pigs are a burrowing beast of 70-plus kilograms that can breed up to three times a year with each litter well into double figures. They damage farm land and bush land with their ferocious excavation in search of roots, beetles and grubs. They also carry a cocktail of diseases. The problem is now that the adults are trap shy and we will never eradicate them, we are just managing them. Click HERE.
Youth Food Movement coordinator positions
The Youth Food Movement in Australia runs food education projects for young people. Coordinator positions are being sought in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth to help this volunteer-led organisation that aims to empower young people to develop skills, knowledge and experiences and create the food system that they believe in. Applications close 11.59pm Sunday 15 August, click HERE. 
Cultural burning used to control gorse
Gorse is a major weed in parts of Greater Sydney and is a prickly, perennial weed that spreads rapidly, turns soil acidic, and provides ample tinder for bushfires. In Tasmania, cultural burning and fire management have helped to get gorse under control. Areas in north-west Tasmania have had 4.5-metre tall tangles of gorse that were so thick, tractors could not drive through them. Now, the gorse plants are few and far between as they are being out competed by native grasses. Click HERE. 
Indigenous food and agriculture
Sponsored by national science week, yarn about native foods and Indigenous farmers — everything from practising agriculture as a traditional custodian, growing bush foods and making sure they’re safe to eat, preparing amazing meals and getting Australian native foods to market. To be held online on Friday 13 August, 6:30pm - 7:45pm. Click HERE. 
Environmental accounting zoom workshop
Want recognition for your land management practices? Interested in measuring and protecting your natural capital? At either of these two half day zoom workshops, you learn the Landcare Farming method of environmental accounting to measure soil and natural vegetation, access free tailored advice and even receive a recognised natural capital certificate from Accounting for Nature (fees apply). Email [email protected] to register, 9am to 1.40pm, 16 Aug or 28 Sept. Click HERE for info.

Holistic Management Course - Braidwood
Want to get your regenerative agriculture mojo happening? This 8-day course with Brian Wehlburg and Tony Hill has four 2-day sessions, 3-5 weeks apart, starting on 17-18 August. Participants get to take information home, digest and start implementing holistic management decision-making. Ensure your decisions are economically, environmentally and socially sound and develop a clear vision of the future you want, click HERE or contact Kerry at [email protected]
Soil data and the national soil strategy
The National Soil Strategy aims to make Australian soil data more available  provide Australian farmers, agronomists, researchers and agribusinesses with relevant soil data on demand. This panel discussion will look at the opportunities, challenges and complexities around soil data storage and management. Listen to the expert panel online at 12noon to 1pm, Tuesday 17 August. Click HERE.
Cooperative financials webinars
This new course about co-operative financials is the first of its kind in the world. It is designed for accountants and legal practitioners who want to better understand and communicate the value of the co-operative model to Australian businesses and the wider economy. Delivered over three lunchtime Zoom sessions of 1.5 hours each on 17, 19 and 24 August. Click HERE to register.
Drought resilience leaders mentoring program
The Drought Resilience Leaders Mentoring program (DRLM) connects farmers and other rural professionals from all over the country to share knowledge and experiences. Mentors and mentees participate in six  mentoring sessions and have access to webinars and resources covering a range of topics relevant to agriculture and regional Australia, such as drought and climate resilience. Nominate yourself or tap someone else on the shoulder to participate as a mentor or mentee. Applications close 31 August 2021. Click
Protected cropping conference
Subject to COVID-restrictions, the Protected Cropping Australia conference will be held in Coffs Harbour on 25-28 October 2021. If it can not proceed as planned, it will be postponed till March 2022. For more information, click HERE or email Matthew Plunkett
Mudgee small farm field days
For over 40 years, the Mudgee Small Farm Field Days attracts approximately 20,000 people each year and aims to promote innovation and sustainability in agriculture and rural living. Postponed from July, now planned to be held on 5-6 November, these field days inform, educate and connect rural people with free demonstrations, talks commercial stalls, live music and activities. Click HERE.

Conservation in action conference
Sustainable Farms are a major sponsor of the three day Conservation in Action conference, Orange NSW 10-12 November 2021. Professor David Lindenmayer, along with other industry leaders in conservation, will present research results from two decades of ecological monitoring on farms. Learn more about the program covering getting environmental research into on-ground action HERE. Register to attend the conference HERE.


Black summer bushfire recovery grants
Community groups, businesses and councils can apply for the Black Summer Bushfire Grants. The closing date is 5pm, 2 September 2021. The grants are available in areas that was disaster declared as a result of the 2019-20 black summer fires. Grants can range from $20,000 to $10 million. A broad range of recovery and/or resilience projects can be funded, from social and community wellbeing projects through to projects that support the recovery of local economies and infrastructure. HERE.     
Drought resilience innovation grants
Drought resilience innovation grants are now available to fund projects that help farmers, agricultural-dependent communities and businesses to adopt innovative approaches/technology to improve drought resilience. Interested parties can express interest in an ideas grant ($50,000), a proof of concept grants (up to $120, 000) or an innovation grant ($300,00 to $1.1 mill). Expressions of interest close 9pm, 8 September 2021. Click
Kids to Farms
The Kids to Farms program aims to increase primary school students’ engagement with agriculture. NSW primary schools will soon be able to apply for up to $1,500 to visit a farm or agricultural site through the Kids to Farms program, funded as part of the Educating Kids About Agriculture: Kids to Farms program,  delivered through the NSW Farmers’ Association. The  program will enable school kids to learn where their food comes from and how a farm works. Click HERE.
Farm business coaching   
The Farm Business Resilience Program aims to help farmers, farm managers and their employees prepare for and manage risk, adapt to changing climate and improve their business’ economic, environmental and social resilience. Participants receive an expert coach who works closely with them. The subsidised cost is $450 for small farm enterprises (market value $25,000 - $30,000) or $1,500 for large farming business (over $50K annually). Applications close 31 August, click HERE. 


A whole suite of natural enemies are attacking fall armyworms
A virus that oozes out through a caterpillar's skin before exterminating it is being investigated as a way to combat fall armyworm which has spread through most of Australia. An emergency permit now allows the use of the virus and other beneficial insects are helping farmers fight fall armyworm. Having spread to every state and territory except South Australia, fall armyworm moths can travel up to 400 kilometres a night. Click HERE.   
Safer farms in 2021
Farmsafe Australia’s Safer Farms Report 2021 has revealed the number of farm fatalities in the first six months of 2021 has decreased to 20, compared to 33 in 2020. But serious farm-related injuries remained alarmingly consistent reaching 70 reported incidents, continuing a flat trend over the last three years. Tragically, one in ten fatalities and injuries in the first six months of 2021 involved children. Click HERE.
International year of fruit and vegetables
With 2021 being the International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, do you know the top 10 fruits and vegetables in Australia by production and value? What are the fresh produce trends and predictions? Given the importance of fruits and vegetables in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and boosting mental well-being, this is a timely reminder to celebrate fresh produce, those who grow and supply it and all of the tasty, wonderful recipes that incorporate fruits and vegetables. Click HERE. 
New emissions reduction fund methods 
Public input is being sought to help shape new methods for the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF). These aim to reduce emissions and create new economic opportunities and jobs in regional Australia.
The ERF incentivises Australian businesses to cut the amount of greenhouse gases they create and to undertake activities that store carbon. Take the survey before 26 August 2021, click


Fall armyworm podcast series
Featuring interviews with growers and agronomists on their first-hand experience in managing fall armyworm along with the latest research findings from international experts. Each episode runs for about 30 minutes, and you can listen in any order you want. Access the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative podcasts 
Free pasture fertilizer guide
This booklet helps landholders to make better fertiliser decisions for their pastures. Based on the outcomes from a grazing project at Camden along with the findings from other fertiliser trials, this book provides information on individual nutrients, cation exchange capacity, trace minerals and nutrient budgets. There are sections on using organic materials as fertilisers, on how to use plant and animal symptoms to detect nutrient deficiencies and on animal health issues involving fertiliser. Click HERE.
Native Australian bush foods
AgriFutures latest 'On air' podcast shines a light on the demand for native Australian ingredients. Herbs, nuts and fruit like saltbush, lemon myrtle and Kakadu plum are appearing in recipes and on menus the world over. This weekly podcast series features agricultural trends and innovations, research outcomes and insights into new and emerging rural industries. Click HERE.    
Road to net zero
The market for environmental services is growing across Australia as businesses move to be more sustainable. But how can farmers access these markets?  What environmental services can farmers be paid for? Listen to the latest 'Road to Net Zero' webinar to understand environment markets, click HERE.
An easy guide to soil carbon farming
Soil carbon farming can not only offset greenhouse gas emissions, it can also improve soil health and farm productivity. However, barriers restrict farmers from participating in schemes designed to monetise the production of carbon credits. Some of these obstacles include differing perceptions of what increase in soil carbon storage is achievable and whether income is likely to exceed a project’s cost. Read this paper by Professors Robert E White, Brian Davidson & Richard Eckard HERE.
Enhancing farm dams - What to plant? 
Healthy, well-vegetated dams provide habitat for invertebrates, fish, frogs, turtles and birds. In turn, these animals help improve the function of a dam by cycling nutrients from the dam into the wider landscape, and by modulating sediment, nutrient, salts and algal levels within the dam. Strategic planting of native species can increase diversity, both in terms of species mix and structural diversity. Download the guide HERE.
Keeping kids safe on the farm
For young children, growing up on or visiting a farm is a wonderful  experience. However, farms also pose many safety risks. Farmsafe Australia have developed a series of resources for how to keep kids safe on farms. Tips include: Establish safe play areas and securely fence it; Ensure care is taken with quads and motor bikes; Stay water safe; Safety first with farm vehicles, machinery, silos and grain storage. Find out more
2020 Bob Hawke Landcare Award
The 2020 Bob Hawke Landcare Award winner is Andrew Stewart from Victoria. Thirty years ago, Andrew developed a whole farm plan for his 230-hectare regenerative grazing and agroforestry property. It included the establishment of 50,000 trees & shrubs which increased woody vegetation on the farm from 3 per cent to 18 per cent, without reducing production. Watch this inspiring video which shows the benefits of whole farm planning, click HERE.
Beneficial insects for vegetable crops
Two fact sheets have been developed by Graham Centre researchers to help vegetable growers find out how to encourage beneficial insects for pest suppression. Click on the links below to view the fact sheets: 
How does the surrounding landscape affect beneficials on your farm? 
Boosting beneficials in your vegetable crop 
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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