Learning from Farmers: Managing native vegetation
The Learning From Farmers project encourages landholders to adopt sustainable land management practices by visiting case study sites located across the NSW Murray Catchment. This network of farmers has demonstrated sound management of native vegetation, and are recognised experts in this field.
The project, a joint vision of Greening Australia and Murray Catchment Management Board, began in 1999 under NHT funding, and has developed through grants from the Environment Trust. These continue the purposes of the network: "Making known the benefits of biodiversity conservation on farm productivity".
The 12 participating landholders developed a statement of purpose at the inaugural conference:
"We want to share our attitudes about Native Vegetation and fauna management, and influence whole communities through awareness raising and education. We want to been seen as productive rural businesses that understand the benefits of Native Vegetation and Fauna in balance with rural production. We want to influence the wider community to adopt best management practices of land management for sustainability, achieving production and maintenance of biodiversity together."
The LFF properties display a wide range of agricultural enterprises (sheep production for wool and meat; beef cattle; dryland cropping of cereals and oilseeds; irrigated cropping, organic vegetables, etc) across a variety of land types, environmental challenges, climates, water usages, size of holding, length of tenure, and management styles. LFF members can demonstrate reduction in drenching bills, improved soil health, innovations in revegetation methods, reclamation of saline soils, higher crop yields, retention of normal stocking rates during adverse seasons, restoration of degraded areas, and improved biodiversity.
Through visits to these properties, interested landholders, advisors and educators can gather information and observe theory being put into practice. LFF members also host Open Days. They are constantly developing their own skills and enterprises. Training sessions in biodiversity assessment, productivity data, and presentation skills ensure that LFF will provide quality learning time for visitors.