Healthy landscapes

Connecting Country has been successful in round three of the Smart Farms Small Grants program and will receive $49,623 to develop a targeted Healthy Landscapes guide and on-farm workshops.
The guide and workshops aim to provide local farmers and other land managers with practical tools to better understand their land and make informed management decisions for long-term sustainability.
Bendigo Federal MP Lisa Chesters congratulated the team from Connecting Country on their grant win.
“I know from working with the local community the appreciation people have for Connecting Country. The work that is being done on farms, or on old farmlands, is a model for the rest of the country,” Ms Chesters said.
“I look forward to hearing more about the Healthy Landscapes guide and on-farm workshops.”
Connecting Country engagement coordinator Ivan Carter said they are delighted to receive the funding.
The project is set to get underway shortly.
“Our project, Healthy Landscapes, is made up of two components. A Healthy Landscapes booklet – 50 pages plus – and a series of workshops for local landowners,” Mr Carter said.
The development of the Healthy Landscapes guide is anticipated to begin in August and culminate around April 2021.
The guide is expected to include topics such as:
– Reading your landscape: Assessing a property to identify natural assets (e.g. remnant vegetation and large old trees), threats (e.g. weeds, overgrazing, erosion), the need for shade and shelter for stock.
– Planning your property: Whole-farm planning tailored to farmer needs and aspirations, to protect and enhance natural assets, increase farm productivity, reduce threats and build farm resilience.
– Managing soil and water: Identifying soil types, managing soil erosion, building soil carbon, managing farm dams as habitat, fencing waterways and off-stream watering to improve water quality.
– Promoting biodiversity: Fencing remnant vegetation, grazing exclusion, revegetation techniques, selecting revegetation areas and plants to achieve landscape connectivity, enhance remnant vegetation, protect soil and shelter stock.
– Managing threats: Weed and pest animal identification, control methods, integrated pest management, and staying ahead of new and emerging weeds using the latest online tools.
The on-farm workshops are aimed to commence in September 2020 and run through to May 2021.
“We will be developing and delivering three on-farm workshops to demonstrate examples of best practice farm management,” Mr Carter said.
“Topics will reflect stakeholder interest but may include areas such as – integrated weed management and tools to stay ahead of new and emerging weeds; the value of native plant and animal assets within the farm ecosystem; shelterbelts for farm productivity and ecosystem health; and birds as indicators of farm ecosystem health,” Mr Carter said.
To find out more about this and other Connecting Country projects visit connectingcountry.org.au

Landscape restoration is a key element of the project. Photo: Gen Kay

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