Local Land Services has received $247,147 in funding for a project to improve soil health and management in Western NSW, as part of the final round of the Coalition Government’s Smart Farms Small Grants program.
Federal Member for Parkes Mark Coulton said this funding will be used for the Western Local Land Services’ Rangelands Network for Soil Knowledge project.
“This project will have a transformative impact on landscapes in Western NSW, increasing local farmers’ capacity to collect soil samples and use the data to make more targeted decisions to ultimately increase profitability and sustainability,” Mr Coulton said.
“I’m pleased that the Federal Government is investing is projects like this one to build a strong and sustainable future for local farmers and communities.”
Western Local Land Services’ Agriculture Team Leader Gemma Turnbull said the project represents a fantastic opportunity to increase soil data, soil health, and landholder knowledge in Western NSW.
“By working with farmers managing over 500,000 hectares we will use a paddock learning approach to design rangeland-specific soil sampling protocols,” Ms Turnbull said.
“The project will involve the delivery of training and resources to collect soil samples, interpret results and identify strategies to improve soil health, and establish a network of paired sites managed and monitored by farmers to demonstrate improved management.
“Collection of soil data by farmers using rangeland-specific protocols will promote evidence-based decisions, link practices, soil health and productivity, and highlight the value of soil testing in the region.”
The local project is one of 32 projects across the nation to share in a total of $13.8 million in funding for two-year soil extension activities.
Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud said the grants will help farmers and land managers change the way they look at their soil and improve how they manage it.
“Good soil management leads to increased agricultural productivity and profitability resulting in reaching agricultural outcomes such as improved biodiversity benefiting communities across rural and regional Australia,” Minister Littleproud said.
“This funding round focuses on soil extension activities, which give farmers and land managers practical tools and information they need, including increasing uptake of soil testing and better soil data, which will allow them to make evidence-based decisions for future growing seasons.
“Soil extension activities will aim to improve, and increase, soil sampling and testing. Results from this will feed into the National Soils Monitoring and Incentives Pilot Program to assist in monitoring soil condition and contribute to international efforts to improve soil sustainability.”
This is part of the $214.9 million National Soil Strategy, Australia’s first national policy on soil which sets out how we will manage our soil for the next 20 years and will support Aussie farmers and the sector in reaching its Ag2030 goal to grow agriculture to $100 billion by 2030.
- Under this round, multiple activities could be applied for in the one application. Grants are for between $100,000 to $250,000 per set of activities and will be delivered over two years. Applicants could apply for a maximum of $2 million per application.
- The Smart Farms program is the key agriculture portfolio initiative under phase two of the $1.1 billion National Landcare Program.
- More than $54 million will be available under National Soil Monitoring and Incentives Pilot Program to encourage farmers and land managers to undertake more comprehensive soil testing in exchange for sharing their data with the program.
- For more information about the Australian Government’s investment in Landcare: https://www.awe.gov.au/agriculture-land/farm-food-drought/natural-resources/landcare/national-landcare-program/australian-government-investment-in-landcare
- For more information about the National Soil Strategy: https://www.awe.gov.au/agriculture-land/farm-food-drought/natural-resources/soils