Issue 47 - 9 September 2022
Message from RALF

Hi everyone,

With Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) at our doorstep, Greater Sydney Local Land Services is rolling out a series of
information sessions. See below for one near you.

Also in this edition, register for a 
Natural Capital Accounting, Soil Pit or Soil Biology workshop, learn about the new Environmental Trust Grants, discover if ants can replace harmful pesticides, can you be part of the pine nut industry, click on the new factsheets from the Tax Office on Landcare and riparian maintenance, 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) 

Emergency animal disease information sessions

The risk of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) is high as these diseases have recently been reported in countries close to our international borders.

All livestock owners should know what these diseases look like and know how to check their animals regularly.

Greater Sydney Local Land Services is running a series of information sessions on FMD, LSD and other emergency animal diseases. The presentations will be relevant to all landholders, livestock owners, livestock transporters, stock and station agents and saleyard staff.
  • Kariong at 10.00am to 11.30am on 20 September, register HERE
  • Mardi at 2.30pm to 4.00pm on 20 September, register HERE
  • Camden at 10.00am to 11.30am on 22 September, register HERE
  • Picton at 2.30pm to 4.00pm on 22 September, register HERE  
  • Hawkesbury region workshops are currently being finalised, register your interest HERE  
For more information on all of these information sessions, click HERE. For the latest information on FMD and LSD, clickHERE. 

If you suspect FMD or LSD, immediately contact your Local Land Services district vet on 1300 795 299 or the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888.

Indigenous producers needed for NSW bush food industry
Bush food retailers in New South Wales say they are having to turn to other states to source local native ingredients as supply cannot keep up with increasing demand. Demand for native foods has risen substantially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Wiradjuri man Herb Smith runs Dreamtime, a native food business, supplying products to companies such as Qantas and BP and the NSW government. Demand for his products have jumped by 80 per cent over the last seven years, click HERE.
National parks advisory council
Applications are sought for four positions on the National Parks and Wildlife Advisory Council. Required expertise and experience for these positions include: Aboriginal cultural heritage conservation; Scientific qualifications in areas associated with the conservation of nature; Cultural heritage research; and/or Bush fire management. Applications close 5pm Wednesday 21 September 2022, Click HERE.
Feral pigs
While not widespread throughout Greater Sydney, there are small isolated populations of feral pigs. They pose a major biosecurity risk as they are a reservoir host for a range of serious livestock and zoonotic diseases and can transmit Foot and Mouth Disease and African Swine Fever. Feral pigs also cause significant soil disturbance and spread weeds. To report feral pig sightings or activity, please use the free community mapping tool PigScan or contact your local Biosecurity Officer. If you have pigs, production or pets, be aware of your legal requirements
It's tick season
Livestock, pets and humans are all susceptible to ticks. Check yourself and your animals for ticks when you return from potential tick areas, such as bush or long grass. Signs of tick paralysis include: Change or loss of voice, laboured breathing, lack of coordination, being wobbly or unsteady, lethargy, collapse or weakness. If you find a tick, you can carefully remove it with a tick twister or tweezers, but if any signs of tick paralysis, contact your local Veterinarian immediately! Click HERE.
Varroa update
While there has been no new varroa mite detections in NSW since 18 August, all beekeepers are still being asked to regularly check their hives. If you detect Varroa mite, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881 (9am to 5pm, 7 days a week). There are two methods for detecting Varroa mite in hives, an 'Alcohol check' and the 'Sugar shake'. For details on the available reimbursement package, click HERE. For the latest Varroa mite update, click HERE,
The first national biosecurity plan
The risks from pests and diseases that can devastate Australia's farm sector has increased. As a result, a new national biosecurity strategy has been agreed to by the federal, state and territory governments. It will be used as climate change, shifting trade and travel patterns and different land uses are all contributing to increasing biosecurity threats. Click HERE.
Updated fire danger rating system 
The updated fire danger rating will have four levels instead of six. In addition, the system will use eight vegetation types instead of two to inform the fire danger rating on any given day and signs across the country will now be uniform. It is hoped the system will provide clearer and more consistent messaging about the fire danger on any given day and make it easier for firefighters to understand how a fire might behave if one breaks out. Click HERE.
The Australian Agricultural Sustainability Framework (AASF)
Sustainability has gained a foothold across corporate Australia. Consumers, shareholders, financiers, and regulators are now demanding transparency. Businesses now have a responsibility to disclose the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) impacts across their supply chain. KPMG have released their report on the AASF and how it can become a valuable tool to support farmers and other stakeholders. Click 
Is farming in the burbs here to stay?
Can tiny urban farming systems produce food at scale? Or are they novelties that will fade with the pandemic?
By 2030, 70 per cent of the world’s population will live in cities or urban areas, while demand for energy and water will increase by half. It begs the question: how are we going to feed so many people? One solution is producing food sustainably in under-utilised city spaces. For more information, click 
Are bunya nuts the next big thing in bush food?
An ancient native nut once eaten by dinosaurs has huge potential to be part of the booming Indigenous bush food industry, according to the University of Queensland.
Brazilian-born scientist Jaqueline Moura Nadolny was conscious of walking a sensitive line between examining new uses for bunya nuts without exploiting First Nations' knowledge and food sovereignty. Click
Sustainable farming expo 
The 'Lets Get Earthy' expo will enable farmers to talk to and learn from leaders in landscape sustainability, productivity, Landcare, Local Land Services, NSW Farmers and to network with experienced sustainable farmers. Held over two days In Goulburn on 15-16 September, the conference component can be face-to-face or online. The field trip is being run in conjunction with ANU Sustainable Farms. All events can be booked separately. Click HERE.
Beyond fossil diesel webinar 

Over 80% of agricultural energy is supplied by diesel fuel Explore the potential for renewable diesel use both here in Australia and globally. This free webinar is the  sixth in the series and will be held on Thursday 15 September, 12:30-2pm and will feature a presentation by Simon Roycroft, Chair of the Cleaner Fuel Alliance. Click HERE.
Greater Sydney Landcare Day & AGM 
The Greater Sydney Landcare Day & AGM will be held at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mt Annan on Sunday 18 September 2022. Enjoy a guided tour of the Australian PlantBank and presentations from Saul Deane - Urban Sustainability Campaigner, Sue Martin - Cattai Hills Environment Network, Lisa Gibson - Chair of Wildseed Landcare Network, Clare Raffan - Chair of Cooks River Alliance and Turlough Guerin – CEO of Landcare NSW. Lunch will be provided, registration essential, book HERE.

Chemical card plus
'Chemical Card Plus' is an accredited course for farmers to meet the requirements for on farm chemical use. It provides AQF3 level accreditation for pesticide users, the level recommended for unsupervised application of pesticides. Included is the transport and storage of chemicals and the preparation of and application of chemicals to control pests, weeds and diseases. Free! To be held in Richmond, 19 September 2002. Email
[email protected] or call 02 6884 8812.
Future proof your business
Manufacturing business leaders face many challenges including talent shortages, technology – what to invest in and when, transitioning to a green economy and broken supply chains. This workshop and the futuremap® self-assessment diagnostic tool is a great way to explore your priorities and available pathways to address your specific challenges. To be held in Penrith from 8.30 am on 21 September, only 20 seats available.  Register before 14 September, click HERE.
Soil Pit workshops
Local Land Services and Young Farmers Connect are running four free workshops on 7 and 8 October at Menangle and 11 and 12 November at Somersby to help landholders: Work with soils to inform farm planning, understand the characteristics of their soils, soil sampling, soil fertility and soil management. The workshops will be led by highly experienced Soil Knowledge Network members. The online registration form is HERE, information to help you select a workshop that suits your soils is HERE. Information on all 4 workshops is HERE.
Weed management for bushfire control
Despite the wet weather, bushfire preparation in the Hawkesbury and Blue Mountains has never been more important. Huge amounts of plant growth have sprung up and many people need a help to remove the massive fuel loads. In September & October, some funded places in a weed management for bushfire course are available at Richmond TAFE. For more info, click HERE or contact Philip Sen, P 0477 778 850, E [email protected]
Soil biology and management workshop
Who's Down Under? This Soil Biology and Management workshop will provide growers with a grounding in soil biology and the practical knowledge to help implement on-farm improvements. Guest speaker Dr Kelvin Montagu will cover the foundations of soil biology, key soil functions driven by soil biology, feeding and adding soil biology, key management practices. To be held Friday 14 October, 10am to 2pm at 40 Edwards Rd, Richmond Lowlands. Lunch will be provided, registration essential, click 
Accounting for Nature
What is 'environmental accounting' and what can it be used for? This one day workshop, 19 October 2022, will be held in the Hawkesbury region. To be presented by Amanda Hansson and Chrissy Elmer from Accounting for Nature. Learn about environmental condition and how is it measured, account stratification, aggregating field data, certification as well as measuring the condition of native vegetation, soils and fauna. Numbers are limited. For more information and to register, click HERE.
Growing edible towns and cities 
Celebrate and raise awareness of Australia’s growing urban agriculture movement. From 1 to 30 November 2022, join Sustain for the second national Urban Agriculture Month. The month will feature a range of self-generated events, from open gardens, workshops, guided tours, and communal feasts, to other hands-on learning experiences. Learn more HERE. Create and register your urban agriculture events HERE or Twitter handle #UrbanAgricultureMonth
National Agriculture Day
Australian agriculture’s biggest day of the year is on Friday, 18 November 2022, when the nation comes together to celebrate National Agriculture Day. After a two years of scaled-back events, AgDay is back and planning to be bigger than ever. Organisers are calling on communities across Australia to start planning their celebrations – with a target to reach over 300 registered events in 2022. What can you do? Click HERE. 


Australia's first Co-op development fund
The Bunya Fund has been launched to provide funding support, advisory and business development services for Australian co-operatives and mutuals. The first round close on Friday, 23 September 2022. The Bunya Fund will support up to five early-stage co-ops or mutuals (or innovative initiatives being developed by more established CMEs) by providing capacity building, education and advisory services. Click HERE.
Flood grants of up to $10,000
Community Wellbeing and Resilience Grants of up to $10,000 are now open. The grants are to support the mental health of those affected by the 2022 floods.  A range of activities and initiatives will be considered appropriate to support community-led wellbeing. If you are considering applying, discuss your proposal with the grants team. For more information, click HERE. Applications close 11:59pm Sunday 2 October 2022. 

Restoration and rehabilitation grants
The NSW Environmental Trust has opened the 2022–23 round of its Restoration and Rehabilitation Grants Program. Grants of between $50,000 and $200,000 are available for projects that assist in the ongoing sustainable management and stewardship of significant environmental assets and services in NSW. Applications close Monday 10 October 2021. Click HERE.
Farmers2Founders program
Do you have an idea that solves a problem on farm or for the agrifood industry? the Farmers2Founders program can help you validate your idea with real customers and build your skills and network to progress your entrepreneurial journey. Stage One Journey Starter - START NOW Stage Two Hatch - APPLY NOW. Applications Close - 16 October 2022. Apply, register for an information session or get in touch 
Farm business resilience coaching program 
The 2022 Farm Business Resilience Coaching Program is now open.  Designed for  large and small, enterprises, this program is ideal for farmers, farm managers or their employees who are looking to upskill and learn about risk management, adapting to a changing climate, and improving business resilience. The program offers business coaching, farm tours, workshops, networking events, and farmer resources. 
Click HERE.


The drought early warning system 
Since late 2020, the La Niña climate pattern has led to two years of above-average rainfall, and severe floods, across much of Australia.  But the next drought is probably not too far away. Unfortunately, drought can be difficult to define and measure. Determining whether a region or farm is “in drought” is a longstanding and complex problem, which remains important to our future drought response. Click HERE. 
The role of local government in healthy and sustainable local food systems
A University of Sydney  project is investigating the role of law, policy, and regulation in enabling local governments and communities to contribute to healthy, sustainable, and equitable food systems.  The knowledge created by this project will inform recommendations to empower local governments and communities to respond to food system challenges at the local level. Click HERE.  
Are indoor vertical farms the future?
With the world’s population reaching nearly 10 billion by 2050, a 70% increase in global food production is required. But as agricultural land in short supply. Is the answer indoor vertical farms? At a hyper-controlled indoor farm in San Francisco, four robots named John, Paul, George and Ringo carefully transfer seedlings from barcoded trays into 5 metre towers that are then hung vertically inside a 450m2 grow room. Is this how we will feed ourselves in the future? Click HERE.        
Can ants replace harmful pesticides? 
An international study has found that many species of ants have similar or higher efficacy than pesticides, at lower costs. Ants protect crops from pests like caterpillars and bugs. Their labyrinthine-like tunnels also aerate the soil, helping plants suck up oxygen. Researchers looked at 26 species of ants, and found that the critters could be a ‘promising tool’ in the fight against other pests. Click HERE. 
The small, but mighty, pine nut.
They’re highly nutritious, offer strong yields and could be one of the best performers under a changing Australian climate. The 2022-23 Australian Pine Nut Strategic RD&E Plan has been released. There are five research and development priorities which aim to meet the growing demand for the product. Improving the output and productivity of Italian Stone Pine (species Pinus Pinea) is high on the list of priorities as it is a known carbon sequester with a huge canopy and root mass. Click HERE.
Pest animal and weed management survey
The national pest animal and weed management survey is aimed at agricultural businesses covering broadacre, horticulture, dairy and other livestock enterprises. The survey asks questions about the incidence of and problems pest animals and weeds cause, the cost of management and the types and effectiveness of control actions. Please complete the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) survey by 26 September 2022. Click HERE.
Native bees provide a pollination backup plan
Geoff Chivers, a macadamia grower, started investigating using the small, stingless insects to pollinate his orchards when varroa mite first started spreading around the world. He has increased his number of native beehives from five to 150 in the past five years. The stingless bees are not susceptible to the invasive varroa mite, which threatens honey bees. To do this, 'Foster parents' take care of the bees in the off-season when his trees are not flowering. Click HERE. 


What do emissions reduction targets mean for farmers?
The new emissions reduction target of 43% by 2030 has now passed the Senate. The Australian Government also intends to sign the Global Methane Pledge, a shared goal to reduce global methane emissions 30% by 2030. But what does this mean for Australia's farmers? What impacts, if any, should farmers be expecting? Listen to Polly Hemming, the Australia Institute, and Liam Walsh, Climateworks Centre in this recorded webinar HERE.
Flood recovery resources
​​Local Land Services supports landholders to recover from the impacts of natural disaster including flood, fire and drought. Sign up to receive a regular flood recovery newsletter and resources HERE. If you don't have a flood plan for your property, download our guide to making your property flood ready HERE. And the Environment Protection Authority has expended its support with flood debris clean up, click HERE.
Skills for navigating Australia's water markets Tor farmers and irrigators, skills to navigate water markets can help improve farm productivity, provide greater choice and flexibility in business decision-making, and help inform risk management. Industry experts have developed the national VET skills standards for water allocations and entitlements to support farmers and those with water entitlements to navigate Australia's complex water markets. Units and skill sets are now published, click HERE.  
MLA's feedbase monitoring tools
Meat and Livestock Australia's (MLA's) feedbase research is designed to support the development of resilient plants, improved management practices and better utilisation of forages, while reducing the impact of pests and weeds on the feedbase. Further R&D investment into the feedbase will ensure livestock can be delivered to market specifications, while maintaining the underpinning soil, water and nutrient resources. Tools and videos are now available, more to come. Click HERE.
Powerful pollinators
Powerful Pollinators is a program designed to increase the prevalence, health and diversity of pollinators in the landscape. Regional Pollinator Planting Guides encourage the strategic planting of ‘trees for bees’ and other pollinators. The Guides specify relevant information about pollinator habitat and floral resources to enable users such as land managers, Landcare groups, nurseries and gardeners to select the most appropriate indigenous species for pollinators. Click HERE.
Tax office factsheets
The Australian Taxation Office has published new factsheets on Landcare and riparian maintenance, preventing and preparing for fire emergencies, and tree farming (forestry operations) to help you understand income and expenses. These resources can help land managers find savings at tax time. Click HERE for these new factsheets. Click HERE for primary producers special tax concessions.
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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