Issue 35 - 13 October 2021
Message from RALF

Hi everyone,

In this edition: prepare for the severe weather predicted this summer, learn how Australian agriculture can achieve net zero by 2040, discover Landcare tax rebates or take part in the National Landcare Program review.

Also, take the webinar challenge tomorrow with three back to webinars starting at 12 noon with Realising the potential of farm dams, 1pm Environmental markets for farmers, and then 3pm Vegetable industry masterclass.

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) 
Roadmap for easing COVID-19 restrictions

As we slowly come out of COVID restrictions, businesses should familiarise themselves with the following easing of COVID-19 restrictions information, along with ongoing support and funding:
Preparing for Summer 

While another crisis is not what anyone needs, the severe weather season is almost here. Spring means you should prepare for possible summer bushfire attack, storm damage and maybe even flooding.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) outlook for summer includes a higher than average risk for flooding along with a normal risk of bushfires, heatwaves and thunderstorms.

Apart from minimising bushfire fuel loads and ensuring flood mitigation measures are open and operational, planning for your animals in an emergency is vital and should include:
  • In case of flood, where you will move your stock - is there high ground?
  • In case of bushfire, identify less fire-prone paddocks for days of extreme fire danger.
  • Determine how and when you will move your stock as conditions change.
  • If you have to leave, how will you ensure your stock have food and water?
  • Identify options for transporting animals off your property, remembering in a fire or flood event, roads may be closed and/or property access limited, so plan ahead and act early! 
Click HERE for more information on preparing for floods, or HERE for more information on preparing for bushfires.
Greater Sydney and NSW water strategy's 
A draft of the Greater Sydney Water Strategy is now on public exhibition until 8 November 2021. Have your say via an online survey and/or upload a submission now. Also, an online community information session will be held 11.00am to 1.00pm on 14 October 2021, register here.  View the draft Greater Sydney Water Strategy HERE and view the newly released NSW Water Strategy HERE.

Animal Health
After a wet winter, some livestock will be carrying a high worm burden. Internal Parasites are one of the most important causes of disease in sheep and goats as they can cause symptoms from mild scours to death. For more info, click HERE. Also, wet weather and good pastures provide perfect conditions for foot rot or lameness caused by infection, inflammation and/or trauma. Symptoms can be a mild limp or severe lameness. Click HERE.
Managing fall armyworm in NSW
A fall armyworm pheromone lure from South Africa has been permitted for use in traps to detect adult male moths. The new lure has greater specificity than existing lures, potentially minimising by-catch and reducing diagnostic effort. In addition, growers are urged to consider chemicals that are more Integrated Pest Management friendly as there are several good bugs, particularly the parasitic wasp, that can play a key role in managing fall armyworm. Click HERE. 
Create your farm digital twin
Regen Digital is a platform that enables farmers to create a digital twin of their farm and obtain an indicative assessment of its environmental value. Farmers can then model different environmental actions and the way these would impact their operations and income. Ultimately, Regen Digital can help farmers capture and demonstrate the ‘green’ credentials of their farm and its produce. For more information, click 
Hendra virus confirmed near Newcastle
A variant Hendra virus strain was confirmed in a 7-year-old unvaccinated Clydesdale from West Wallsend, near Newcastle. A vet attended the now euthanised horse after the animal showed neurological signs. No other horses on the property are showing any signs of ill health. Vaccination of horses is recommended and signs of infection are non-specific in the early stages. If you are concerned about possible Hendra infection, isolate the horse and seek veterinary advice or call the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888. Click HERE.
Fixing soil health with free-range hens
Holbrook farmer Sam Pincott accidentally fell into egg production 11 years ago when he set out to improve the health of his soil with 50 chickens in an old caravan. Now he tends to 15,000 hens, protected by Maremma guardian dogs, that produce 50,000 eggs per week. Perennial pasture species are coming back into the system with no mechanical interventions and soil organic levels are improving all the time. Click HERE.
Maximise the potential of your farm dam
Join Sustainable Farms for a lunchtime webinar to hear about the latest research on the biodiversity and productivity benefits of enhancing farm dams, what to plant where and other practical planning tips! Maximising the potential of your farm dam webinar, Thursday 14 October 12 noon to 1 pm. Click HERE.
Good for the farm, good for the farmer
This Regen Farmers Mutual webinar will answer the question "how are environmental markets are good for the farm and good for farmers"? It will cover 'Regen Digital Farm Assessments', how environmental markets relate to farming practices, where did these markets emerge from and where are they going as well as navigating transactions in environmental markets. Thursday 14 October, 1.00 pm. Register HERE. 
Vegetable industry virtual masterclass
The vegetable industry virtual masterclass webinar will explore three priority pest and disease issues in Greater Sydney. Hear from Shannon Mulholland, Dr Len Tesoriero and Maddy Quirk about: Tospoviruses, Serpentine leafminer, Cucurbit diseases (Cucumber Green Mottle Mosaic Virus, Fusarium wilt, powdery mildew, downy mildew) and how to submit vegetable pest and disease samples to NSW DPI for free diagnosis!. Thursday 14 October, 3.00 pm. Register HERE. 

Horticultural business masterclass
Applications are now open for the 2022 Graduate Diploma in Agribusiness - Masterclass in Horticultural Business. Designed to equip current and future farm managers, owners and employers with the agribusiness skills needed to run profitable and sustainable farm businesses, the course is delivered through a mix of flexible online and face-to-face learning. Employer information session: 10.00 am, Thurs 28 October. Students information session: 7.00 pm, Thurs 28 October. Register to attend a session HERE. For further information, click HERE.
Aboriginal bush foods webinar
Learn more about Australian traditional bush plants and their uses as food and medicine. Jess Sinnott is an owner and educator from the indigenous company Koori Kinnections which runs catering and educational programs for people of all ages. Jess will give a knowledgeable talk on Aboriginal foods, where to find them, their health properties, tastes, and some good ideas for recipes. For more info about Koori Kinnections, click HERE. Webinar link, 7.30pm on 28 October, is 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.

Botany Bay & Georges River virtual forum
A virtual information forum about the Botany Bay & Georges River shellfish reef restoration project is being held on 10 November 2021 at 5:00 pm. Find out how the reefs are constructed and learn how they’re rejuvenating nature and the local community. Shellfish reef habitats are by providing nurseries for fish to breed, purifying the water, and enabling recreation and job creation. HERE.


Additional storm and flood recovery funding
The Storm and Flood Industry Recovery Program is additional support for producers impacted by storms or floods back in February/March 2021. Eligible primary producers are required to have already accessed the $75,000 Special Disaster Grant (closing date 31 October 2021) and the amount of additional funding available varies depending on your industry sector and requires a 50:50 financial and/or in-kind co-contribution. Applications close 3 March 2022, with works to be completed by 30 May 2023, click HERE. 
Rural achiever award 2022
The Rural Achiever Award program recognises future young leaders (20-29 years) who are making a significant contribution to their community and rural Australia. Eight NSW Rural Achievers will receive: a share in $17,000 prize money; extensive networking opportunities, one year RAS membership, a personalised mentor program, professional development sessions, seven-day events program during the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Applicants must be able to attend a face-to-face interview at Homebush in November 2021. Click HERE.
Make sure you have applied for every opportunity available
With so many opportunities out there, it can be tricky to navigate available assistance and check your eligibility. There is now an easy to use ‘grant finder’ where all you need to do is enter your post code and relevant grants, funding and support programs will be sorted for you to check through. Click HERE.     
Tax rebates for Landcare works
Basalt to Bay Landcare group have compiled a series of guides to help farmers get the rebates they are entitled to for doing Landcare works. Tax deductions can be obtained for shelterbelts, fire preparedness, Landcare waterway operations and tree farming and forestry. View the guides HERE.


National Landcare Program review
The National Landcare Program (NLP) is the Australian government’s flagship program for natural resource management. NLP phase 2 includes many initiatives, including Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators, which funds our Small Farms Network and this newsletter. The review will enable stakeholder feedback to inform the design of the next phase of the program. Complete the survey or make a submission before 15 October ​HERE.​ 
Careful dung beetle management
Landholders may be unwittingly killing some of the most valuable members of their herd by failing to minimise the impact of drenching farm animals. Dung beetles play a crucial role in burying the dung of  livestock and reducing the spread of disease, flies and parasites. Researchers are urging for the care for dung beetles to dramatically reduce fly numbers and greenhouse gas emissions while aerating and fertilising the soil. The value of dung beetles on the carbon market is being investigated. Click HERE.
Black summer bushfire research
Western Sydney University is investigating the impact of the 2019-2020 ‘Black Summer’ bushfires in NSW on our primary food producers and the facilities and barriers for the recovery of their businesses. The online survey will give primary producers a rare opportunity to voice their bushfire related experiences and send feedback about their unique issues to policy makers. Each participant will also receive a $20 shopping voucher. Click HERE.  
Pig health and biosecurity survey
As part of the NSW Pig Health and Biosecurity Project, a survey is being conducted to understand what pig owners and producers are doing to manage their biosecurity risks and to ensure ongoing support is targeted and impactful. The survey closes October 17, click HERE. In addition, new pig biosecurity management resources provides information for pet pig owners, hobby farmers or commercial operators.
What is a bioreactor?
In a bid to reduce fertiliser pollution entering a NSW marine park, the Coffs coast blueberry farming region has trialled an innovation designed  to protect the Great Barrier Reef. A bioreactor is a simple trench, filled with woodchips to catch fertiliser before it gets into waterways. Naturally occurring bacteria in the woodchips break down fertiliser chemicals and convert them into di-nitrogen gas, which is harmless. Click HERE.


Deep dive into low emissions agriculture 
Farmers for Climate Action recently released a report on
How can Australia’s agriculture sector realise opportunity in a low emissions future? To explain what this report means for farmers, a recorded webinar with Miguel E Castillo, Ernst & Young, and Professor Andrew Macintosh, ANU, discuss how farming families can diversify their income and how Australian agriculture can achieve net zero by 2040. Read HERE, watch HERE. 
Property mapping
Holbrook Landcare Network have released a new property mapping factsheet to assist farmers in using mapping software programs and apps to independently map their property. The factsheet provides a background on four of the most widely used programs for property mapping including; their pro’s and con’s, how to download them, links to tutorials and tips on how to operate them. View the factsheet HERE.
Bee friendly farming
Farmers and gardeners have been given the opportunity to improve and protect Australian’s pollinators through a new farming certification program involving bees! These guidelines promote pollinator health, sets standards for sustainable land management on important concepts like planting pollinator food resources, providing nesting habitat, and incorporating integrated pest management (IPM) to ensure bee prosperity. Click HERE. 
Giving kids the full farm experience
The Kids to Farm program has released a series of ‘Ag Packs’ on ag science and students can learn about soil health. Available for free to all NSW Primary schools, these Ag Packs  contain everything needed to run several experiments or activities, including pots, seeds, and soil samples. All ages are catered for with different levels of difficulty and grades. Each pack comes with student workbooks and a teacher guide. Click HERE.
Soils for life podcasts
Join the conversation that bridges the gap between farmers, researchers and policy makers to breathe life back into our soils. The Soils For Life podcast series includes case studies of regenerative farming with all the challenges, barriers and enablers that farmers have encountered in their journey to regenerate their soils and landscapes. New episodes every month. Click HERE.
Food systems summit 
The United Nations Food Systems Summit, held during the UN General Assembly in New York last month, set the stage for a transformation of global food systems. The Summit aimed to engage the entire planet in transforming the way the world produces, consumes and thinks about food, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. For more information, hear speakers or see the actions that came out of the summit, 
click HERE.
Biological control of weeds
Invasive weeds will most likely increase in the future as drought, fire and flood events become more frequent and extreme. Biological control involves introducing host-specific natural enemies of a weed from its native range into the region where the plant has become a problem. Biocontrol agents do not eradicate but rather suppress weed populations so they are less competitive with native species. Watch the CSIRO presentation HERE.
Carbon Count 
Australia's first commercial soil carbon project management platform is now available online. Carbon Count provides regulatory approved sampling design and measurement of soil carbon and farm emissions. It has been built on the Clean Energy Regulator's legislative framework for the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).
The platform enables measurement, valuing and certification of soil carbonClick 
Opportunities and challenges for small scale sustainable farming 
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has published a guide on sustainable fruit and vegetable production and value chain management that is resilient to changes in climate or market demand. Balancing economic, social and environmental objectives can achieve development without compromising future generations ability to meet their own needs. Click HERE.
The ADAPT NSW website is a one stop shop for climate change information for South Eastern NSW. You can create an map to see the projected climate changes for your area in the near future 2020-2039 and the far future 2060-2079. The website also contains a large variety of information about climate change, its impacts, how to adapt and educational resources. 
Click HERE. 
Farming co-operatives
'Co-operative Farming' provides a large range of free resources for farmers, fishers and foresters to help plan, start or run a co-operative. Watch videos, listen to podcasts, explore with a range of education tools HERE. 
Pop up mental health support
The Nepean and Blue Mountains region now has a 'Head to Health Pop Up Service'. The free service is for anyone, including children, young people and older adults, whose mental health is suffering because of the current COVID-19 situation. To access the service,  call 1800 595 212 Monday to Friday between 8:30am - 5:00pm to speak to a trained mental health professional. 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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