Agroforestry Alive!

Mentoring supports learning and adoption

Agroforestry Alive!

Mentoring supports learning and adoption

Taking Action -


The issue

Despite decades of Landcare activity, there remain large areas in the New England where tree cover could be increased. Collectively there is considerable knowledge and experience with integrating trees on farms, but there remain many landholders who don’t know where to access information or lack confidence to start by themselves.

The solution

The Master TreeGrower (MTG) program has a great reputation for improving landholder knowledge and skills. The Peer Group Mentor (PGM) program is considered an excellent farmer to farmer extension model that cements uptake of new knowledge and provides confidence to establish and manage projects. We had run both before, so we decided to further extend this program with support from the National Landcare Program.

The impact

In late 2016, 16 landholders and extension officers attended a Master TreeGrower program. Then, during 2017, the project funded 11 existing Peer Group Mentors (PGMs) to support 19 new mentees. During site visits, mentors helped explore the landholder's goals and objectives, and facilitate plans for tree establishment projects in the context of their own space and site conditions. A site report was then prepared for the mentee.

One PGM coordinated all site visits and organised two training events to further develop PGM skills. The first was a visit to an inspirational farm near Quirindi where best practice agroforestry is the principle activity. The second was a seminar on advances in tree water-use monitoring.

During 2017, a unique opportunity presented to collaborate with the 'Trees on Small Farms' (TOSF) project. PGMs assisted at a workshop where participants applied farm planning skills to design projects and submit applications. PGMs were then paired with successful applicants to provide support. A further 9 landholders were mentored.


The most significant outcome of the project has been improved confidence and knowledge among the 19 landholder mentees and the 14 MTG program participants. These improvements were substantial for several of the TOSF applicants who were essentially ’new’ landholders inexperienced with natural resource management.

The unexpected synergy with the TOSF project was excellent and proved a very effective means of trees on farms extension in a project (TOSF) that had no budget for this activity. There is no doubt that on-ground outcomes for the TOSF project will be greatly enhanced due to this synergy.

Key facts

  • Site visit reports for mentees summarised discussions and provided further information.
  • Most Significant Change stories were documented with six of the 19 mentees.
  • Most mentees reported major improvements in knowledge, inspiration and confidence.

Project Partners