Report on Launch of Grazing and Farming Group on 18th March

The Goulburn Mulwaree Landcare Grazing and Farming was launched on 18th March with an attendance of some 20 people. The positive sentiment, knowledge and experience in the room bodes well for the success and growth of the group.

Report on the Launch of the Goulburn Mulwaree Landcare Grazing and Farming Group.

By MIke Steketee, Secretary of Community Voice for Hume and a member of the Grazing and Farming Group, with some modifications by Bob Philipson.

Mayor Bob Kirk attended the launch on Thursday of a new group seeking to promote improved farming practices in our region.

The Goulburn Mulwaree Grazing and Farming Group will share innovative ideas that implement the current best sustainable methods represented by regenerative/resilient agriculture. These methods have been recently endorsed in a policy paper from the Menzies Research Centre, entitled:-
"From the ground up: Unleashing the potential of soil".

In opening remarks at the launch, Mr Kirk said that, although not a farmer himself, he fully supported the aims of the group to encourage more profitable and regenerative farms in the area.

It is part of the Grow Goulburn Mulwaree Farms and Garden Project run by Community Voice for Hume, a registered Landcare body. The overall project also has received the endorsement of Mr Kirk, as well as that of State MP Wendy Tuckerman and Council general manager Warwick Bennett.

The launch is supported by the provisional announcement that
Community Voice for Hume has won a grant to help the grazing group achieve its goal of encouraging and supporting landholders to transition to best sustainable and regenerative farming practices. These have as their highest priorities the health of soil, pastures and farming landscapes.

An example of the new approach is that, instead of maintaining stock numbers during dry periods and hand feeding, animal numbers are reduced so as to retain maximum ground cover. As well as allowing a quicker recovery from droughts, in the longer run this increases levels of organic matter and carbon in the soil, making for more productive pastures.
An important additional benefit is lower input costs for feeding and fertilizers.

The launch was held at the Tirannaville property of Gail and Robert Favalaro, who heads the new group, and was attended by about 20 people.

The main presentation was by the team of Ruth Aveyard, Landcare co-ordinator for Upper Lachlan, and Paul Hewitt, the facilitator of the Upper Lachlan Grazing Group, whose activities have inspired members of the new group.

Mr Hewitt, a farmer near Grabben Gullen, explained that his group supported land management practices that delivered better outcomes emotionally and environmentally, as well as economically.

While encouraging a move towards more regenerative land management, it acknowledged there was a diversity of approaches: there was no single recipe for success.

The convenor of Community Voice for Hume, Bob Philipson, said he was amazed by the breadth of experience and knowledge at Thursday’s meeting, confirming his belief that there was a real opportunity to make a difference to farming landscapes in Goulburn Mulwaree.

For further information on the grazing group, contact Robert Favalaro or Bob Philipson or on 0418 138 004.

N.B. The empty chair is symbolic and represents the farmers who are expected to join the movement in the near future!