Issue 34 - 9 September 2021
Message from RALF

Hi everyone,

Thank you for your continued support for our Small Farm Network, which has now reached more than 720 members! We are currently in the process of developing our new and exciting programs for 2022, based on your needs as outlined in the SFN survey results.

In this edition: learn how to access the new 
'Lock down - skill up' funding, discover the latest trend in food retailing, watch out for fly strike this spring, sign up for a 'making compost on farm' online training course, and find out about a new app for bloat in cattle.

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

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, restrictions prevail, but help is available. Below are some website links to help you keep up to date with the latest COVID-19 news, funding and support services. 
Remember, wear your face mask correctly, get vaccinated ASAP and get tested even if you have just the mildest of symptoms. 
The next trend in food retailing

Internationally and in Australia, regenerative agriculture is proving to be the next trend in food retailing.  

In 2019, General Mills announced it would source some of its produce from regenerative farmers. In 2020, Whole Foods said regenerative agriculture would become the number one food trend. More recently, PepsiCo and Cargill declared they were adopting regenerative agriculture practices on  millions of hectares of farmland.

At its basic level, regenerative agriculture is a more nature-friendly way of farming. Although there is not yet an officially agreed-upon definition, regenerative agriculture employs farming and grazing practices that restore degraded soil, improve biodiversity among pollinators (especially bees and butterflies) and increase carbon capture in the soil to create long-lasting environmental benefits.  

In addition, the demand for locally produced food has skyrocketed due to the COIVID-19 effect with consumers becoming increasingly aware of the fragility long distance transport and logistic processes when they are use to supply fresh food. 

And it is good to know that Australian farmers are recognised as a world leader in carbon abatement and taking responsibility as environmental stewards of the Australian landscape. Learn about Aussie farmers taking climate action while continuing to produce food and fibre
Public consultation sought for 'soil carbon method'
Public consultation on the draft 2021 soil carbon method has commenced. The draft method is to be used to estimate soil organic carbon sequestration was designed to make it easier for farmers and was developed by the Clean Energy Regulator. Submissions are open until 27 September 2021. Click HERE.
Monitor for flystrike
With predicted above average rainfall over spring, it is best to assume a bad fly season. Therefore, detecting flystrike as early as possible, especially before systemic signs start to appear, is the best strategy. Monitor all mobs of sheep, especially weaners during high-risk periods. Strike can be covert, which is not easily detected unless you are handling the animals. For more info, click HERE.
Nominate a Landcare champion
Nominations for the 2021 State and Territory Landcare Awards are now open. Individuals, communities, and community groups across the country can be recognised for their outstanding contributions to preserving the unique Australian landscape. There are eight national award categories , including the Landcare Farming Award. Nominations in NSW close 31 October. HERE.
Soil information is gold
Southern Tablelands grazier, Murray Gregory used to put out 350kg/ha of single super on his paddocks but didn’t see a response, albeit in the middle of the drought. After attending a Healthy Soils Group, he changed how he manages his soils. He now regularly uses soil tests to make decisions about fertiliser and other soil additives such as lime and is managing grazing to maintain groundcover at all times. For more info, click
A warm wet Spring is likely
Spring is set to be wet and warm in eastern Australia, according to the Bureau of Meteorology's (BOM) seasonal outlook. "Virtually all of eastern Australia is looking wet," the BOM's head of operational climate services Andrew Watkins said. "We've got warm ocean temperatures near Western Australia, and that's pumping a lot more cloud and moisture across the continent and giving wetter than average conditions." Click HERE.
1000th carbon project
The one thousandth carbon project registered under their Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) is significant as it confirms carbon sequestration as a key instrument in meeting emission reduction targets. The first carbon project was registered on 17 August 2012. Around half of the projects over the past twelve months were registered under the agricultural soil carbon method, a signal that landholders are seeking to integrate soil carbon management into day-to-day operations. Click HERE.
Urban farm at Horsley Park
The Western Sydney Parkland Trust are developing a 254 hectare Horsley Park Precinct featuring greenhouses, small produce farms and market gardens. The project will involve best practice environmental management including regenerative farming, silviculture, permaculture, improved soil quality and reduced reliance on irrigation. Click HERE.
IPCC - What you need to know
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its long-awaited report on climate change. Our earth has warmed 1.09℃ since pre-industrial times and climate change is now affecting every continent, region and ocean on Earth. About 85% of CO₂ emissions are from burning fossil fuels. The remaining 15% are generated from land use change, such as deforestation and degradation. There is still time to avert the worst damage, if we, collectively, choose to. Click HERE.
Livestock part of the climate solution?
Ruminant livestock, emit methane, a strong greenhouse gas. But methane is part of a natural, or biogenic, carbon cycle where the methane breaks down into CO₂ and water after about 12 years. Grass then absorbs the CO₂ through photosynthesis, cows eat the grass and the cycle continues. On the other hand, CO₂ from burning fossil stays in the atmosphere for potentially 1,000 years. For more information, click HERE. 
Biodiversity Stewardship Agreements
The NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) is running a series of online information sessions to explain the process of establishing a biodiversity stewardship agreement (BSA). These sessions will assist attendees to identify BSA opportunities, explain the steps involved, detail the benefits and risks, and clarify the ongoing BSA management and obligations. Various session are available between 7 to 21 September. Click HERE. 
The Biggest Little Farm
The Biggest Little Farm is a documentary about working with mother nature and farming. It follows the life of two dreamers and their beloved dog when they leave their tiny LA apartment for the countryside to build one of the most diverse farms of its kind in complete coexistence with nature. To receive a link to watch the film for free (costs covered by Hawkesbury-Nepean Landcare Network) sometime between 1pm on Sunday and 1pm Tuesday 20 September. Register HERE before 10 September 2021.
Environmental accounting zoom workshop
Want recognition for your land management practices? Interested in measuring and protecting your natural capital? At this half day zoom workshop, 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, 28 Sept. Click HERE for information.

Making compost on farm
Learn how to make high-quality compost on your farm using simple, low labour methods. This four part Soil Skills online webinar from 'Soil Land Food' covers the essentials of making compost on farm. Whether using a pitchfork, a tractor and bucket or a compost turner, this course will get you started, explain fermentative composting to save water and time and how to use compost to build soil health. $160 for four sessions, 30 Sept to 21 Oct 2021. Click HERE.
Making sense of soil tests
Learn how to read a soil test with confidence and improve your ability to make good soil decisions and build soil health. Soils are one of your farm business' most important assets and it's easy to burn money on them. In this online 4 part Soil Skills Webinar Course, agricultural soil tests are demystified by giving you a clear, holistic process to follow for reading them. The four online sessions, held by 'Soil Land Food', run from 30 Sept to 21 Oct 2021. Cost is $160. Click HERE.
Ethics unboxed
An introductory online course into ethics for anyone and everyone. This is ethics explained in bite-sized chunks that relate to your everyday life. The aim of the course is not to give straight up answers on how to live your day to day life, but to provide an understanding of why you do what you do, and help you make the right decisions to live your life the way you believe it’s worth living. There are 10 sessions in the course which are automatically delivered to your inbox, twice a week. For more information, click 
Ag Day
Friday 19 November 2021 is Ag Day! Celebrate stories from those in the industry, highlighting the many different jobs in the  sector, and hopefully inspire a new generation to consider a career in ag. It’s a day of celebration for the industry – a chance to take stock of the significant contributions made to the lives of all Australians through ag, and invite people who may not know much about the industry to give ag a go! Click HERE to be involved.
2022 NSW Landcare and LLS conference
The 2022 NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Conference will be held on 15-17 March at  Tweed Heads. The three-day event will feature expert speakers and testimonies of Landcarers from around the state covering the latest in community resilience, natural resource management, sustainable agriculture, and carbon farming, as well as hosting the NSW Landcare awards. Click HERE.

Protected cropping conference
The Protected Cropping Australia conference will now be held in Coffs Harbour on 28-31 March 2022, subject to COVID-restrictions. It is a packed program and grower levy payers may be eligible for a subsidy of up to half the cost of a full registration. For more information, click HERE or email Matthew Plunkett


Rural women’s award and acceleration grants 
The Rural Women’s Award offers a $15,000 bursary to an applicant from each state to support her project, business or program. The national winner receives an additional $20,000, runner up a further $15,000. The Rural Women’s Acceleration Grant is for 7 women to be granted a $7000 learning and development bursary to undertake professional development and  bring an idea to life. Both applications close 8 October 2021. 
Leadership scholarships for women
Women & Leadership Australia and Hort Innovation have a new round of scholarships for women in the horticulture sector. The scholarships support emerging, middle and senior women leaders to undertake leadership development programs. The scholarship program will provide 32 scholarships valued up to 83 per cent of standard program fees. Expressions of interest close Friday 8 Oct, unless allocated prior. Click HERE. 
Circular challenge funding
NSW Circular has launched the Circular Challenge Funding Scheme to support  Australian research. The Circular Challenge fund of $600,000 will be used to support one or more collaborative projects that enable the delivery of circularity in, and scaling of, critical supply chains identified by the work of NSW Circular. NSW Circular will hold an Information Webinar on Monday 13 September 2021 to provide details on the scheme and answer any questions. Register HERE.     
Harvest program
This 5-month training program includes up to $10,000 of funding to equip high potential agrifood businesses with the capabilities they need to scale into national and international markets, deliver transformational growth, and maximise their social and economic contribution to the Australian community. Program participants will receive tailored support from this Farmers2Founders initiative. Applications close 8 October, click
2022 science and innovation awards
Grants are available to 18–35-year-olds who are working or studying in agriculture or a related field, with a project that will contribute to the ongoing success and sustainability of Australia’s diverse and resilient primary industries. Applications for12 industry award categories in the 2022 round are now open and close at 5pm, Friday 1 October 2021. Click HERE.
Recovery funding   
Some financial assistance following the storm and flood events back in March are closing soon. Primary producers directly affected by a declared natural disaster may be eligible for a: Disaster Recovery Loan, low interest loans of up to $130,000 to continue farm businesses operations or replace and repair damage, closes 21 Sept; or a Disaster Recovery Grant of up to $75,000 to hire or lease equipment or materials to clean premises, remove debris, damaged goods, materials including injured or dead livestock, repair infrastructure, and more, closes 31 October 2021. Click HERE. 


Scientists probe bee recovery after fires
A new research project in Bilpin NSW is looking at how the recent bushfires affected crop (apple) pollination and how long these effects will be felt.  The study will help growers better understand how pollinators and the landscape recover after a disaster, and lead to recommendations and mitigation measures to help protect crops and pollinators from future fires. For more information, click HERE.   
Biochar - what is it?
Twenty years of research on biochar has been synthesised to explain its effect on soil and plants, how it contributes to climate change mitigation and can support food security and the circular economy. To discover how biochar can benefit agriculture production and affect soil greenhouse gas emissions, click HERE.
Native bees make healthy honey
Scientists now know how native stingless bees make a healthy honey that is better for you. In 2020, scientists discovered the rare healthy sugar unique to native stingless bee honey. The bees make it in their gut after consuming nectar high in sucrose and researchers are now hoping to identify crops with high sucrose nectar to increase production. For more information, click HERE. 
Improved water quality for weight gain
New research has found economic benefits from renovating farm dams to improve water quality from additional weight gain in cattle. If a producer invested in dam renovations like fencing, revegetation and limiting stock access, there was more than a 70pc chance they would see a cost benefit from stock weight gain.  For more information, click HERE.​​​​​


Soil health videos 
Greater Sydney Landcare Network has produced 15 short videos on various aspect of soil health. Learn how to use the Soil Health Card to assess soil health on your property,  infiltration, soil structure, slaking and dispersion,  pH acidity and more. Click
HERE to start watching.

National Landcare Conference presentations and videos
Over 3,000 people came together online to attend the 2021 National Landcare Conference. More than 60 speakers presented insightful and informative content, and their videos and presentations are now available online, including the conference posters. These Education Resources will be hosted on the conference website until 30 September 2021. Click HERE.
Biosecurity guide for land use developments
The Guide to Biosecurity Risk Management in Land Use Planning and Development outlines the biosecurity considerations in the assessment and development of proposed agricultural enterprises and activities.
The guide can be used as a resource for a development to consider potential biosecurity risks, and eliminate or minimise the potential impact on the environment, the economy and the community. Click 
New app to help prevent bloat in cattle 
Spring has come and the risk of bloat in cattle and sheep has therefore increased. Bloat is a serious disease that affects cattle and sheep grazing from lush pastures which can cause livestock death. The new "Bloat Alert App' has been developed by Charles Sturt University to help prevent bloat in cattle by alert cases nearby, click 
HERE. For a fact sheet on bloat in sheep and cattle, click HERE.
Free energy efficiency guide
The Energy Efficiency Council and the NFF have launched a new guide for farms that are looking to slash their energy costs through smart energy management. The new guide includes practical advice on how farms can cut costs, improve productivity and reduce emissions through energy efficiency, renewables and demand management. Click HERE.
The Jillamatong story
Martin Royds from Jillamatong shares his journey from being a traditional to regenerative farmer. A third-generation family member to manage Jillamatong, when Martin took over the running of the property, he was forced to make big changes. Read more about the  economics of regenerative agriculture with this 'Soils for Life' case study. Click HERE.    
Steps in carbon farming webinar
What are the options for realising value from soil carbon farming and the latest changes to the methodologies? IN this recorded webinar, the best ways to access the available carbon in your farm for economic and environmental benefit are explored. Part two of a three part series, panellists includes Dr Greg Bender, Norman Marshall and Lorraine Gordon along with a Q&A session. Click HERE.
Gateway pests of NSW
online e-learning education and training package has been developed to increase awareness and help post-border surveillance and detection of high priority pests entering NSW.  These e-learning modules feature known overseas and interstate pests that are recognised as having high damage potential to industries if they were to become established in NSW. Click HERE. 
Is your stock fit to load?
When transporting livestock, their welfare is a shared responsibility between stock owners, transport operators and worker at saleyards. The Australian Animal Welfare Standards for the Land transport of livestock define specific requirements when preparing them to cope with the journey from beginning to end. This are enforceable and can be found in a printable guide or a video. Click HERE to read the NSW livestock transport requirements. 
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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