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Upper Shoalhaven and Upper Deua Landcare Network
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Farming for the Long Haul is a program initiated by Landcarers across the Upper Shoalhaven with funding from the  Upper Shoalhaven Landcare Council and the National Landcare Program ‘Sustainable Agriculture’. Southern Rivers CMA have continued to provide support to this grass roots program by securing Caring for our Country funding and to work with landholders for long term gains. The program provides support for farm planning and support to landholders that have existing farm plans. It is tailor made to suit individual farmers and is underpinned by soil health, conservation and productivity principles. It seeks to inform and link-up landholders through field days, workshops and trials and includes a system of pasture monitoring to track sustainability improvements on farm.
 
The program provides incentives for on-ground works associated with landholders’ farm plan. It uses landholders’ outcomes from the knowledge and skills they gained from DPI Property Management Planning for Natural Resource Management workshops and Holistic Management International Australia. The program also provides workshops on soil health and planned grazing by farmers and practitioners such as Eric Harvey, Graeme Hand, Mark Gardner, Col Seis and Christine Jones. Farming for the Long Haul is truly integrated – drawing on landholders’ planning and skills, staff, the core FFTLH group, as well as the general public. It is not prescriptive so there are a variety of farming styles, enterprises and ideas, many of which Southern Rivers CMA are trialling (such as Pasture Cropping and integrated Serrated Tussock treatments).  It provides specific support to a small network of farmers in similar geographical locations that get together at least twice a year with staff and a coach (Mark Gardner from On Track Paddock Indicators) so landholders revisit key messages, and expand on new ideas and learnings. Properties are visited at least twice a year. The program also provides for workshops and field days that promote the groups work. This all needs time and dedicated staff.
 
The On Track Paddock Indicators monitoring is a journey in supporting landholders to assess pasture and review the effect of management decisions. ‘Introduced pastures just don’t work for me’, says Tim Raynolds, farmer from Braidwood region, ‘which is just as well since much of the pastures are native’. Tim manages his pastures to ensure they are not overgrazed, and to retain a good mix of native grasses and herbs for stock health and weight gain. ‘Getting litter on the ground’ is one of Tim’s major strategies in pasture management. Native tree regeneration and an increase in soil biota, particularly worms, on both properties has been clearly evident. On Track Paddock monitoring ensures that Tim is keeping on track with his goals for the farm.
For further information contact Rebecca Hall or Andrew Taylor at Southern Rivers CMA, 42 Ryrie Street, Braidwood on (02) 4842 2594.

 

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