Around 45% of the Port Phillip and Western Port region’s land is used for agriculture and it contains approximately 5,000 farms. Its rural land is the most productive in Victoria on a per-hectare basis, and the second most productive in total agricultural output (behind the Goulburn Valley Foodbowl).
However, the area of land available for agriculture is constantly at risk of reduction due to development for other uses, and the profitability and sustainability of some agricultural sectors is threatened by various factors including pests, climate change and market conditions.
The PPWCMA contributes to sustainable agriculture and land management in this region by delivering and supporting projects funded by the Victorian Government and Australian Government.
The ring of rural and semi-rural land around urban Melbourne will continue to provide substantial benefits for the community, economy and environment of Victoria. These areas will retain productive, diverse, sustainable agriculture enterprises and industries with substantial economic benefit and local food security for Victoria.
They will simultaneously provide expansive ‘green space’ featuring natural habitat and open landscapes supporting biodiversity and ecosystem health and enabling Melbourne’s communities to connect with nature and readily enjoy liveability and recreational benefits
|Farms engaged in PPWCMA projects adopt sustainable land management practices that improve environmental condition and resilience of the enterprise and industry.||(20% of the region’s farms adopting sustainable practices.|
Regional Agriculture and Landcare Facilitator
Funded through Australian Government’s National Landcare Program, the Regional Agriculture Facilitator (Karen Thomas) supports agricultural industry groups and farmers in the Port Phillip and Western Port region.
Smart Farming in Western Port
This large-scale, five-year project works with landholders from multiple-enterprise types throughout the Western Port catchment to promote sustainable farming practices. It aims to increase the understanding and uptake of innovative farming practices to improve farmers productivity and our natural resources.
Accounting for Natural Capital on Farms
The Port Phillip & Westernport CMA, in partnership with Landcare Australia, is undertaking a six month pilot project trialling the Level 3 Accounting for Nature and Landcare methods. Accounting for Nature is a series of accredited assessment methods to measure the condition of environmental assets (such as native vegetation and soils) on farms at a property scale. They are designed to ensure the integrity and transparency of environmental accounts.
Compost Under Vines (Macedon Ranges)
This project is undertaking a three-year trial into the financial and environmental benefits of urban green waste mulch under vines in the high altitude vineyards of the Macedon Ranges. Three vineyards in the Macedon Ranges are participating as trial sites. The project is being delivered by the PPWCMA in partnership with Macedon Ranges Vignerons Association, AORA, Veolia and Grapelinks and is supported by the Victorian Government.
Dung Beetle Nursery Network
This 12 month project (2021-22) has established dung beetle nurseries at 12 sites across the region (made up of Landcare and farming properties) in order to speed up the distribution of new dung beetle species and address season gaps in the distribution of established species.
Farm biodiversity is a fundamental practice for farmers implementing any method of sustainable agriculture. Biodiversity creates a resilient ecosystem and there is strong evidence that species diversity leads to a productive and resilient farm enterprise. To make it easier for farmers to assess the biodiversity assets on their farm and publish a farm biodiversity plan, the PPWCMA has developed a farm biodiversity template.