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Issue 26 - 11 February 2021
Message from RALF

Hello everyone,

Greater Sydney Local Land Services is thrilled to announce the launch of the second
'Big Shift for Small Farms' podcast series. These 10 new episodes build on the series one episodes, which have now had over 10,000 listens!

Also in this edition
     - Charles Stuart University is conducting a national survey of small farmers to help design better small farm networks and services
     - The Greater Sydney Regional Landcare Award nominations are now open
     - Expressions of interest are being sought from small to medium sized farms to participate in a provenance storytelling master class designed to boost your marketing skills
     - Links to a large variety of resources, funding opportunities, research, events and news items.

If you know someone who might be interested in joining the Greater Sydney Small Farms network, they can register HERE. To view previous newsletters, click HERE. To provide ideas on how the Greater Sydney Small Farms network can help you, please email or phone me on 0436 803 337

Kind Regards

Richard Stephens
Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF) 
The Big Shift for Small Farms Podcast - Series II

It's a new year with a new season of 
The Big Shift for Small Farms Podcast. Are you making plans for your farm this year? Are you looking to mix it up? The new episodes feature interviews with more than 40 farmers, consultants and scientists to help you make The Big Shift.

Topics include farm planning principles, managing multiple enterprises, online marketing, keeping good data, pests and weeds, emergency management, holistic thinking, alternative food sources for livestock and emerging enterprises. We hope you enjoy the first two episodes on farm planning principles and enterprise stacking.

Farm Planning Principles: We often think of a plan as a list of things to do, but the farmers and consultants in this episode say it's about outlining your principles and developing a clear vision. In this episode the farmers encourage us to slow down, take a step back and learn from the landscape.

Enterprise Stacking: We all know the dangers of having all your eggs in one basket. The good news is there are plenty of creative ways to stack enterprises to build resilience in your business. In this episode we’ll learn about value adding, collaboration and diversification.

Greater Sydney Regional Landcare Awards

The 2021 Greater Sydney Regional Landcare Awards are now open! Nominate yourself, someone else or a team for their outstanding work protecting the environment.  

Categories include: Coastcare; Indigenous Land Management; Individual Landcarer; Junior Landcare Team; Landcare Community Group; Partnerships for Landcare Landcare; Young Landcare Leadership; and, Farming.

The Landcare Farming category is open to farmers, primary producers, Landcare and farming groups and acknowledges excellence and leadership in sustainable land management on a farm or farms. Nominations close 15 March 2021 and the winners will be announced at the Greater Sydney Landcare and Bushcare Forum on 21 May 2021. 

Regional winners will be nominated up to the NSW Landcare and Local Land Services Awards taking place in Tweed Heads in March 2022. For a nomination form and/or selection criteria, click HERE or contact Madeleine Florin, Regional Landcare Coordinator on 0427 197 860 or madeleine.florin@lls.nsw.gov.au

Do you have a small farm with livestock?
Charles Sturt University, the Graham Centre for Agriculture Innovation and Animal Health Australia are undertaking a study into small farm networks throughout Australia. The aim is to help design new and support existing small farm networks. Identifying topics and activities relevant to small farms will be investigated. To undertake the 20 minute survey, click HERE.
NSW agricultural land use strategy
Your input on how to identify and define the best agricultural land in NSW is being sought, as well as whether the policy should be a guideline, a mandated state-wide policy or an opt-in policy for council. Agriculture competes for land across the rural landscape and often finds itself under pressure from urban encroachment and land fragmentation. To view the options, click HERE. To provide your feedback on these options, click HERE. 
Can this fungus stop fall armyworm?
Fall armyworm is known to feed on up to 350 plant species and can cause significant yield losses. It has spread widely throughout Australia since being discovered in January 2020 in the Torres Strait islands. A graduate agronomist has discovered a worm-eating fungus that could provide a valuable biological control. The white coating is a pathogenic fungus that eats the worm from the inside out. Click HERE.  
Am I already doing regenerative agriculture?
While some claim regenerative agriculture is purely a fad, its focus on soil health and a holistic approach can ensure long term farm productivity. Working with, not against, the complexity of natural systems at a biological, physical and cultural level has already led to some widely accepted practices such as maintaining ground cover. Many farmers who undertake regenerative ag training quickly realise " I'm actually doing some of these things already!" To understand the principles of regenerative ag, click HERE, or to get started, click HERE.
Carbon pricing is up!
The price of Australian Carbon Credits Units (ACCUs) have risen by about eight percent since November 2020. 25,000 tonnes sold last week for $17.25 per tonne and the price has been predicted to exceed $18 per tonne in 2021, click
HERE. In addition, global technology giant Microsoft has purchased 40,000 tonnes of sequestered soil carbon from Wilmot Cattle Co in NSW. General manager, Stuart Austin, says they are now being paid for building a more resilient landscape. Click HERE.
Mexican feather grass found in Sydney
Mexican feather grass is a serious weed of pastures, native grasslands and woodlands and is prohibited under the NSW Biosecurity Act.  Closely related to serrated tussock, mexican feather grass grows in upright tussocks up to 70cm tall and has green or purplish seed heads.  
Last  December, approximately 200 plants were found across 6 properties in Barden Ridge. While these  plants were manually removed or treated with herbicide, mexican feather grass is hardy, drought tolerant, unpalatable to stock, contaminates hay and grain and is difficult to get rid of. For information, click
Soil health award nominations open
Nominations are now open for the General Jeffery Soil Health Award and will close on March 31, 2021. The award recognises an individual’s outstanding contribution to improving soil health through: on-ground management practices; extending knowledge or advocating for improved soil management; educating and raising awareness about soil health; promoting better soil health management practices or by providing a platform to promote/encourage improved soil health. Click HERE.

Provenance storytelling masterclass
Local farmers are invited to submit an expression of interest to learn how to create authentic stories about their farm, their people, their products. The workshop (19 March) is valued at $500 per participating enterprise is being offered at $50 per enterprise. Complete and submit the online expression of interest (EOI) form by Wednesday 17 February 2021. Criteria for participation includes being a small or medium sized commercial food or fibre producer in Greater Sydney, commitment to participate and motivation to engage in the workshop. Click HERE.
Farmers2Founders Ideas Program
The Farmers2Founders Ideas Program runs for three months and is designed for primary producers who want to know if their business idea is worth pursuing. The program enables you  to test ideas, build capability and confidence to launch new products and services Funding, tailored resources and coaching is provided over over an intensive 12 weeks. The next program commences on 29 March and runs to mid June 2021. Applications close 26 February, click HERE.
Australia's only agriculture technology event
Each year, six of Australia’s most promising up-and-coming agriculture technology innovators pitch their innovative solution to a 21st century food and farming challenge in a unique competition event.  The winner is crowned Australian Agripreneur of the Year and can compete at the Global Future Agro Challenge with innovators from over 60 FAC countries. The competition is open to anyone working in food production technology. Nominations close 12 February. AusFAC2021 will be held on 20 March 2021, click HERE.
3rd National Urban Agriculture Forum
The 3rd National Urban Agriculture Forum (UAF), 22 - 24 April, will explore many urban agriculture initiatives and the positive impacts they have on our community. The UAF will be held online with in-person events to support the program. Early Bird tickets are available until the end of February, click 
HERE. Also, April 2021 will be the first National Urban Agriculture Month featuring a range of events, open gardens, workshops, guided tours, communal feasts, and other hands-on learning events.
Greater Sydney Bushcare & Landcare Forum 
The 2021 Greater Sydney Bushcare & Landcare Forum will celebrate and thank Landcare and Bushcare volunteers for their collective efforts in restoring, protecting and regenerating biodiversity across Greater Sydney. The forum will feature a program designed to help us adapt to and create our own future as well as announcing the Greater Sydney Regional Landcare Awards. To be held on Friday 21 May on Cockatoo Island. Register your interest with Madeleine Florin - madeleine.florin@lls.nsw.gov.au
Soil Carbon Field Day
Learn about soil carbon, how to improve it, how to set up a soil carbon project and be paid to increase soil carbon on your property. 
When: Friday 30 April 2021
Where: Local Land Services Demonstration Farm, 40 Edwards Road, Richmond Lowlands.
More details and a registration link will be in the next newsletter, or email Madeleine.Florin@lls.nsw.gov.au

Financial skills workshops
Rabobank has the goal of providing 5,000 complimentary workshop participants in Financial Skills. Module One is an introductory interactive workshop involving practical hands-on skills in understanding financial statements and banking requirements, including how banks assess you and your business. Due to COVID-19, the training is offered as an interactive virtual classroom using Microsoft Teams. Click HERE.


Young Farmer Business Program 
The Young Farmer Business Program is subsidising the course cost of the upcoming Cowra Farming and Grazing for Profit School and Armidale Business Fundamentals Workshops.. Spaces are limited. Successful applicants will be granted subsidies of up to 75 percent or $5,000 on a first-come-first-served basis. Click HERE to learn more.
NSW Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program
Rebates of up to $2,000 are now available through the NSW Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program to eligible farmers and their workers to implement harm prevention measures in the workplace. Eligible items include: Up to $2000 for each agricultural side-by-side vehicle; Up to $600 for each Quadbar TM or ATV Lifeguard Operator Protective Device; Up to $90 for each worker, a compliant helmet; Up to $500 for the purchase of an eligible drone (maximum of one per eligible business & purchase after 27 February 2019). For more info, click HERE.
Coles Nurture Fund
Coles launched the $50 million Nurture Fund in 2015 to help small and medium sized businesses innovate and grow. Since then, more than $24 million has been provided to more than 60 Australian food and liquor producers. Small and medium sized businesses can apply for up to $500,000 to help develop new market-leading products, technologies and processes. Round Nine closes on Friday 19 March 2021.
Click HERE.
Boundary fencing funding 
The NSW Government is helping bushfire-affected landholders with the cost of rebuilding boundary fences adjoining public lands. Private landholders who share a boundary with public land and were impacted by the bushfires of late 2019 and early 2020 are eligible to receive up to $5,000 per kilometre to contribute to the replacement of damaged boundary fences. Grants can be issued retrospectively to cover costs already incurred. Applications close 31 March 2021. Click HERE.

NSW small business and rural assistance grants
The NSW Rural Assistance Authority oversees a variety of primary producer grants for improving farm business skills, emergency transport, drought and disaster recovery. Click HERE. Service NSW provides grants and financial help for small businesses. While applying for grants and financial help can be a competitive process, help is provided  to help decide what assistance might suit you and your business. Click HERE.


Farming Kangaroo Grass
A research project is underway to discover if Kangaroo Grass can be produced on a mass scale by Australian farmers. Once harvested by Indigenous people, Kangaroo Grass is resistant to prolonged drought as well as extreme changes in temperature and rainfall. Kangaroo Grass flour could become a regular ingredient in bread and help farmers regenerate land. Click HERE. 
A return on nature
Agriculture is deeply linked with nature. 51 per cent of Australia’s land is used for agricultural production. As a result, our farmers are stewards of ecosystem services, but farmers are not the only beneficiaries. Sustainable Finance can reframe how Australian farmers can become an instrumental part of the solution. View the KPMG & NFF report HERE.
30 soil research projects
There is much happening in soils in Australia with the increasing interest in soil carbon sequestration and the planned release of the National Soil Strategy later this year. The Soil CRC currently has 30 research projects covering soil management strategies and understanding soil characteristics. Click HERE.  


Weeds in fodder booklet
Unfortunately, fodder brought on-farm can be an effective way of spreading new, unwanted weeds on your property. When buying or receiving fodder, ask: Is a fodder vendor declaration is available; What plants, including weeds, are known to be present in the fodder; Where was the fodder was grown or sourced; and, What are the main weeds endemic in the fodder production area. To obtain your booklet (PDF copy), click HERE.
Improving farm roads and tracks
Unsealed roads and tracks are essential to move around your property. Preventing significant erosion improves personal safety, enables movement and emergency access around the property and helps to maintains your property’s land and waterway ecological values. Given it costs more to repair a track than it does to construct it properly in the first place and it is important to ensure your tracks can provide emergency services access, view this guide from Rivers of Carbon HERE.
Seeds For Success podcasts
The  podcast series 'Seeds For Success' provide cracking good yarns about ag life with producers who are having a go. These yarns from Central West New South Wales farmers describe how they battle the elements, make tough calls and get the job done. You’ll get a laugh out of some of their stories, and also pick-up some know-how along the way. Click HERE.
Sustainable Food Trust
The United Kingdom based Sustainable Food Trust aim to accelerate the transition to more sustainable food and farming systems that nourish the health of both people and planet. To achieve this, they work collaboratively with an emphasis on communication, education and thought leadership. For a variety of articles, guides and podcasts, click 
This project is supported by Greater Sydney Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program. 
The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that the information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate officer of Local Land Services or the user’s independent adviser. For updates go to www.lls.nsw.gov.au 
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