Building capacity of farmers

Building the capacity of farmers to adopt sustainable agricultural and land management practices in the Port Phillip and Western Port region.

Funded through the Sustainable Agriculture stream of the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, this project engages farmers in the identification of obstacles to adoption of sustainable agricultural practices that offer the greatest potential for ecosystem service benefits in the region, the refinement, trialling and demonstration of such practices, and the design of projects and activities to increase their adoption rates.

Anthony and PatThe Port Phillip & Westernport CMA’s Sustainable Land Management Coordinator’s work with grazing farmers in the target locations, primarily through farmer discussion groups (either existing or establishment of new groups) to identify obstacles to adoption of desirable practices that prevent livestock damage to native vegetation.

They then work with these farmer groups to decide which practices would benefit from establishment of trials and demonstration sites that can be coupled with farmer engagement and capacity building activities to increase their adoption rates. An Expression of Interest form is used to collect information on potential trials and demonstrations of sustainable practices.

Some of the demonstrations and capacity-building events include:

Preparing for Dry Conditions Workshops

The Port Phillip & Westernport CMA have hosted two ‘Preparing for Dry Conditions’ workshops in the region, providing valuable information and resources to help prepare and manage their properties during dry conditions.

P1000653Animal Welfare Officers discussed the importance of caring for livestock during dry conditions and how to manage feed and disease during these times. Agriculture Victoria also discussed the importance of water budgeting, ideas for farm planning and establishing stock containment areas, as well as protecting pastures during dry conditions.

The workshop included a site visit to a local property which is being used as a demonstration property funded through the PPWCMA’s Sustainable Agriculture project. The demonstration site is focusing on shade and shelter for livestock, along with establishing stock containment areas to protect remnant bushland and to manage pasture.

These workshops are in addition to the ‘Shade and Shelter’ Workshops which have also attracted a high number of local landholders across the region.

Farmer Discussion Groups

The Port Phillip & Westernport CMA has established a number of Farmer Discussion Groups across the region. These groups are located in:

  • Arthurs Creek
  • Phillip Island
  • Mornington Peninsula
  • Kongwak/Elipac
  • Romsey
  • Myrniong

The Farmer Discussion Groups give local farmers the opportunity to meet regularly and discuss sustainable land management practices, as well as share information on their own work and experiences and provide support for one another. Farmers that have joined a group have enjoyed the experience of being able to discuss issues, concerns and new innovative farming practices with one another and applying new techniques to their own properties in order to make them more efficient and sustainable.

Pat francis at discussion group (2)

To find out more about the PPWCMA’s engagement with farmers, contact Anthony Dufty or Sarah Halligan on 03 8781 7900.