Sustainable Farm Practices: Contribution to productivity and a better environment

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Kimberly Green

Kimberly Green

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  • There are numerous benefits to the community from having healthy agricultural landscapesThese include:Food and fibre productionEconomic growth – through better productivityResilience to climate change – particularly through better ground cover and soil conditionProvision of environmental services such as habitats for native speciesSupports regional and rural communities
  • Sustainable agriculture enables other outcomes such as food production to be deliveredIt is an “enabler” and a pillar that supports other policy frameworks including.......
  • Caring for our Country is the Australian Government environmental and sustainable agriculture initiative.....Commenced in 2008 for a five year duration.The Caring for our Country objective is:.....initiative that seeks to achieve an environment that is healthy, better protected, well managed, resilient, and provides essential ecosystem services in a changing climate. Ecosystems services are the benefits provided to humans by ecosystems including from agro-ecosystems or agricultural land ...and essential ecosystems include .... protected biodiversity, clean air and water and healthy soils which support sustainable food and fibre industries......As farmers manage up to 70 per cent of the landscape they make a significant contribution to the ecosystem services provided- Environmental and productive services
  • Sustainable Farm Practices is one of the six national priority areas under C4oCThe objectives of the SFP is..........Funding is provided to groups who work with their farmers through a variety of activities. A variety of groups participate including farming system groups, Landcare, Industry Regional Natural Resource Management organisations and RDC’s,
  • There are three 5 year outcomes for sustainable farm practices:......There are shorter term targets published in annual Business Plans which call for fundingThe targets have focused on soil condition and biodiversityThe outcomes and targets were developed based on a range of inputs including:Government policyInternational obligationsNational Land and Water Resources Audit recommendations for soil condition
  • There are a range of activities that groups can deliver to assist farmers adopt practices......including.......An important principle is that the Australian Government can only intervene and deliver environmental outcomes where the market does not provide adequate reward. The type of activity and / or the level of incentive recognises the private benefit that the farmer might be expected to receive For example:To improve soil condition – focus on information development and dissemination to address information failure in the market; andTrialing of practices to demonstrate outcomes to other farmers as this is not likely to occur without government interventionFarmers increase their knowledge about how to implement the practices and then provide their own time and resources to implement the practice, which generates a private benefit through increased productivity.
  • To give a sense of the types of projects funded via Caring for our CountryThese are some examples:I am not going to go through all the detail but you will note that the projects are providing productivity and environmental outcomes For examples:WOPR – rehabilitating degraded land; improving Box Gum woodland which is an ecological community and is also providing productivity benefits through shade/ shelter for stock and improving soil and water quality.GRDC – is………..other productivity benefits include:- Incorporating sown annuals and summer crops for out of season ground cover
  • Building resilient farms in times of change……Practices are improving soil health and biodiversityProject proponents have indicated that this project provides a win-win interaction between NRM, productivity and profitability. Of the participating farmers 81% have applied the information learnt on farm and resulted in 67% of participants changed their management practices. Sustainable cropping practices for dryland farmersReducing wind and water erosion and increasing soil carbonManagement of soil is recognised as key to long term farm productivityGreg Butler, who is involved in the project, has indicated – farmers communicating their experiences to other farmers can do this in physical and economic way……This is very important ….. the focus needs to be on recognising the farm is an ‘enterprise’ And the farmer has sustainable, profitable, productive and social goals. A number of fact sheets on projects funded are available at the Australian Government Land and Coasts Stand. Please come and take one or speak to the departmental staff about Sustainable Farm Practices.


  • 1. Sustainable Farm Practices
    Contribution to productivity and a better environment
    Presented by: Kimberly Green, Manager Sustainable Agriculture Policy (Special Project)
  • 2. Healthy Agricultural Landscapes
    Benefits to Australian community:
    • Food and fibre production
    • 3. Economic growth
    • 4. Resilience to climate change
    • 5. Provision of environmental services
    • 6. Supporting regional and rural communities
  • Sustainable agriculture is an “enabler”
    Sustainable agriculture is an “enabler” to:
    • broader policy agendas
    • 7. National Food Plan
    • 8. Productivity
    • 9. Carbon Land Sector Package (developing)
    • 10. Biodiversity conservation
    • 11. Wildlife Corridors
    • 12. Rural communities
  • Caring for our Country Objective
    .....initiative that seeks to achieve an environment that is healthy, better protected, well managed, resilient, and provides essential ecosystem services in a changing climate
    Essential ecosystem services include protected biodiversity, clean air and water and healthy soils which support sustainable food and fibre industries
  • 13. Objectives for sustainable farm practices
    • Long term productivity
    • 14. Maintain/ enhance natural resource base
    • 15. Encourage adoption of sustainable practices
    • 16. Build community capacity
    • 17. Information for decision making
  • Sustainable farm practices
    5 year outcomes:
    Assist 30 per cent farmers uptake management practices
    deliver ecosystem services
    soil condition
    Increase number farmers
    landscape scale
    Improve knowledge, skills, engagement - 30 per cent farmers
    natural resources and environment
  • 18. Activities funded to meet targets
    Information development
    Information dissemination
    Trialling practices
    Development of innovative practices
    Reporting frameworks
    Landscape scale conservation
    Payment for on ground works (fencing; off-stream watering points)
    Establish paddock trees
  • 19. Some Examples of Projects Funded (1):
    Whole of Paddock Rehabilitation (WOPR): A Sustainable Agriculture Solution
    Greening Australia
    $880,000 over 2.5 years
    actively engage more than 50 farmers in rehabilitation >1000 ha;
    field days involving >200 farmers and communication to >1000 farmers
    establishes paddock trees - Box Gum woodland
    provides shade/ shelter stock, improve soil / water quality
    National Environmental Plan Implementation
    Grains Research Development Corporation
    $6.6 million over 4 years
    partnership with Australia’s mixed systems farmers and regional NRM bodies
    7 mixed farming zones
    reduce wind/ water erosion and increase soil carbon and biodiversity
    optimise land use; increase annuals, perennials and biennial fodders and forages
  • 20. Some Examples of Projects Funded (2):
    Building resilient farms in times of change
    Sustainable Agricultural Services Group of Serve-Ag Pty Ltd
    $330,000 over 3 years
    Southern Tasmania
    Promoting practices to improve soil health and biodiversity
    Win-win interaction between NRM, productivity and profitability.
    Sustainable cropping practices for dryland farmers
    • Conservation Agriculture Alliance of Australia and New Zealand
    • 21. $900,900 over 2.5 years
    • 22. Over 23 regional catchments
    • 23. Promoting sustainable cropping practices in dry land agriculture
    • 24. Reduce wind/water erosion and increase soil carbon
    • 25. Management soil is key to long-term farm productivity.