Newsletter

June: 2010

Membership activity on behalf of EFN.
April 9th: Peter and Christine Forster attended a Climate Change think tank at Horsham DPI sponsored by the Victorian Climate Change Adaptation Research Centre and hosted by Ballarat University and Wimmera Development Association. It was an opportunity to workshop research needs to assist climate change adaptation for dryland farming in the Wimmera Region.

April 15th: Briefing On Victorian Government’s Western Region Draft Sustainable Water Strategy at Warrnambool. The session included workshops on three themes including urban, rural and environmental/rural issues. Many attendees were concerned about the paucity of information on ground water systems and their overuse mostly for agriculture. Changed landuse affects on groundwater recharge and river health was also a major concern. Our submission on the Victorian draft Western Region Sustainable Water Strategy is on the web site at.
http://www.environmentalfarmersnetwork.net.au/submission_1005_western-sws.php

Member profile
Ive Family, Yass Valley NSW
I was privileged to have an inspection of the Ive family farm, “Talaheni” in mid May. The farm is located in the Yass Valley north east of Canberra and is about 500 metres above sea level in harsh Ordovician metasediment hill country (NSW Southern Tablelands). The general area has severe dryland salinity issues with associated bare ground, dieback of trees and severe gully and sheet erosion caused mostly by clearing trees from adjacent slopes and ridges.  The Ive Family has received numerous awards for their farm management. The awards include NSW Conservation Farmer of the Year (2009) and earlier Landcare research award (2003) and United Nations World Environment Day Triple Bottom Line award (2004).

John Ive conducted my personal tour and I was very impressed with his meticulous record keeping and scientific approach to his farm management and dealing with serious salinity issues. Erosion has been controlled, saline tolerant perennial pastures planted on reclaimed areas, grazing controlled by fencing to slope,and aspect along with soil characteristics and a massive effort made to revegetate the higher slopes to reduce hilltop-recharge into ground water systems thereby addressing the primary cause of the salinity.   Increased production is now concentrated on the lower more arable slopes and flats where salinity was formerly the limiting factor.

John was recently selected as a Climate Champion and a press release is attached.  More detail is available at the evolving website: http://www.climatekelpie.com.au/

Federal Government EPBC Act
Ross Rowe Environment Officer, National Farmers Federation, has passed on this link to a new web page for farmers needing information on the national environment law (EPBC Act). www.environment.gov.au/farming
The tab for the NFF environment liaison officer has an explanation of his role.

VALE    Land and Water Australia
This natural resource research organization has been abolished. A Legacy Conference was held in Canberra mid May to celebrate achievements and capture key findings of many years of often cutting edge research into natural resource issues. Many researchers made succinct presentations over two days and John Kerin, former Federal Government Agriculture Minister was the key speaker at a dinner. All papers will be available soon and I will notify you of the web address.

A related matter of importance is the Productivity Commission enquiry into primary industry research and development organisations and the Government role in these organizations. EFN will be making a submission to this Enquiry and I would appreciate your input. Please check the website:
http://www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/rural-research

Submissions are due June 25th. I hope to have a draft out by end of May for comment.

River red gums in NSW.
The NSW State Government has recently passed a bill to protect river red gums from logging on flood plains in the Murray-Darling basin. This action follows action in Victoria to protect River Red Gums by creating National Parks. Flood plain vegetation in both states has been seriously declining in health due to a number of causes including interruption of natural flood and flow events (excessive water harvesting, control and irrigation), logging and climate change (reduced rainfall, higher temperatures, etc). Environmental Farmers Network made submissions to both the NSW and Victorian Enquiries leading to this protective action by both State Governments.

Web site
David Cummings and Mairi Anne Mackenzie are now in charge of our web site content and presentation. Please revisit our web site www.environmentalfarmersnetwork.net.au  to see new sections on submissions and press releases. Many thanks to David and Mairi Anne for taking on this task.

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