The final round of the Morrison Joyce Government’s Smart Farms Small Grants program has now been finalised, with $13.8 million funding 32 projects across the nation to improve soil health and soil management.
Deputy Prime Minister and Member for New England, Barnaby Joyce said this grant would have a transformative impact on landscapes in New England, with the GLENRAC Inc program ‘Making Sense of Soils - Building Farmer Knowledge and Increasing Adoption’.
“This project will increase knowledge and capacity of farmers in the Glen Innes district to adopt and implement improved soil management practices,” the Deputy Prime Minister said.
“Activities will include engaging approximately 130 farmers in learning about soils, undertaking soil testing and understanding soil test results.
“The soil testing supported by the project will not only contribute data to our local knowledge of soils but also to the National Soil Monitoring and Incentives Pilot Program.
“This project will build on the results of previous programs. Three groups of farmers will participate in a series of three Digging Deeper workshops, focused on building knowledge about soil structure, texture, physical characteristics and fertility.
An additional six groups of eight farmers will be engaged in short sessions focused on increasing ability to read and understand soil test results and apply that knowledge to making decisions.
“Farmers will also have the opportunity to look at soils with six farm walks.
“We’re proud that the Liberal and Nationals Government has provided $173,639 of funding here in New England to build a strong and sustainable future for farmers and the community,” Mr Joyce said.
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,” Minister Littleproud said.
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.