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Issue 20-02 - February 2020
Message from your RALF

Hi everyone. What a difficult start to the International Year of Plant Health. Many of you will still be recovering from the disastrous summer we have had. 

This edition includes updated information and links regarding help available with bushfire recovery, details of a special screening of the award winning movie "The Biggest Little Farm" and much more.

If you know someone who might be interested in joining the Greater Sydney Small Farms network, they can register
HERE. To provide ideas on how the Greater Sydney Small Farms network can help you,  please email me or phone 02 4724 2151 or 0436 803 337

Richard Stephens
Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF)
Recovery assistance available for bushfire affected landholders and communities
  • $75,000 grants now available - Farmers can now apply for up to $75,000 to help recover from the affects of bushfire. For more information, click HERE or call 1800 678 593.
  • Clean up services available - Public Works Advisory (PWA) is working with insurers, local councils and contractors to ensure that bushfire affected properties are efficiently and safely cleared, regardless of whether the property is insured  or not. Please register your details HERE and you will be contacted when the specifics are finalised, contact your insurer or call PWA on 1800 88 55 39.
  • Advice on how to help bushfire affected wildlife - Both NPWS and WIRES recently updated their websites with information on how to help bushfire affected wildlife.
  • DPI new 'Bushfire hub' web site - This new WEBSITE helps to link landholders with information and support for anyone affected by bushfires.
  • 24/7 Mental Health and Wellbeing Assistance -
    Mental Health Line - 1800 011 511
    Beyond Blue - 1300 224 636
    Lifeline - 13 11 14
    Mensline - 1300 789 978
    Kids Helpline - 1800 551 800
    If someone is in immediate danger, call 000.

Special screening - "The Biggest Little Farm" 
Aaron Brocken from Harvest Farms is hosting a special screening on 16 February of "The Biggest Little Farm" at the Chauvel Cinema, Paddington. This award winning film is about how an American couple managed to start their dream farm in harmony with nature in the midst of the Californian bushfires two years ago. Aaron will talk about what he intends to do after losses on his Bilpin farm from the recent bushfires. This will be followed by a panel discussion on re-hydrating the landscape and better engagement with nature with Simon Marnie (ABC weekend radio), Costa Georgiadis (television presenter) and Manu Prigioni (Farm it Forward project). Tickets from $15. Numbers limited, BOOK NOW!
Grazing after rainfall

If you have been lucky enough to get some decent rain over the last two weeks, it might be tempting to put your livestock on a green paddock as soon as possible. Click HERE to find out why it is important to make sure you have enough dry matter to sustain your livestock.
2019 -  a year of weather extremes 

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) review of 2019 shows Australia had a year of weather extremes. It began with heatwaves and major flooding and ended with catastrophic bushfires. For more detail, click HERE.
Western Sydney Aerotropolis to include a Agribusiness precinct
A world-class research and innovation centre has been proposed for a precinct focused entirely on agribusiness at the Western Sydney Aerotropolis. The Australian Centre of Excellence in food innovation will tap into and build on Western Sydney's already established food production sector. The draft plan, on exhibition until 28 February, outlines a vision for all 10 precincts surrounding the future airport. More HERE.
New rural ratepayer newsletter
The GS LLS Customer newsletter has gone digital. To subscribe, click
HERE to continue receiving it via post, just let us know. Also, NSW landholders with more than two hectares can register themselves with LLS to enable contact to be made and more accurate large animal evacuation plans in emergency situations. If your details have changed since submitting your last Annual Land & Stock Return, please contact GS LLS on phone 1300 795 295 or email admin.greatersydney@lls.nsw.gov.au   
Unlock the future of food and farming
Date: 18-19 February 2020
The Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton Victoria
Cost: $770 for Primary Producers
The 'evokeAG 2020' program covers the most topical conversations in our agrifood tech industry. The broad ranging program has been created so delegates can design their own event experience. With simultaneous activities, thought-provoking conversations, interactive sessions and networking opportunities, there is plenty on offer to all delegates. The program has three streams – food, farm, and future. Click 
HERE for more details
Autumn 2020 fox control workshops - South West Sydney 
Cobbitty - Monday 24 February, 5-7pm Fox control + agricultural plant pests, diseases & surveillance 
Wedderburn - Wednesday 26 February, 6-8pm Fox control + livestock health & management 
Razorback/Picton - Thursday 27 February, 6-8pm Fox control + local wildlife / Landcare.
Residents in SW Sydney are invited to hear about vertebrate pest control campaigns tailored for their local area. The workshops will outline the best way to reduce the impact of foxes and how to join a local Vertebrate Pest Control Group. These workshops are free but registration is essential, click HERE to register. For more information contact Brendon Levot on 0412 152 998 or email menangle.fox@gmail.com
Food for Thought: Courageous Leadership in Food Systems
Date: 26 March 2020
University of Wollongong
Cost: FREE - Registration essential!
Jake Claro, Director of the Vermont Farm to Plate Plan presents: V
iability challenges for regenerative farmers; Delivering social/environmental goods to the public; Key success factors for food distribution enterprises; Combining economic development with enhancing good foo while tackling food insecurity; Critical success factors; Policy frameworks; Governance & engagement. To register, click HEREFor more info, email Karen Charlton on karenc@uow.edu.au  or phone 02 4221 4754.
Small scale poultry keeping workshop
Date: 27 March 2020
Time: 12noon to 3pm (lunch included)
Location: 40 Edwards Road, Richmond Lowlands
Cost: $85 per person. Places are limited, register early.
The workshop will cover:  Housing and nesting; Chicks and roosters and how to manage them; Pest control and general care;  Feed and nutrition;  Biosecurity (Health and Disease); Live handling of poultry. A veterinarian will be on-hand. For more information and to register, click HERE.
Food in the Capital
Date: 1-2 April 2020
Thoroughbred Park, Canberra
Cost: $297/hd for community groups, farmers, food companies and students.

The extensive program includes 75 speakers covering a variety topics including: Urban andregional food production; Building local food businesses and social ventures; Integrating renewables, food production and water; Using & reducing food waste; Technology and urban design systems. To register or for more information, click HERE.
Grazing management for drought resilience - An introduction to holistic grazing 
Date:  Friday 3 April 2020
Time: 9:30am - 4pm
Camden Town Farm, Camden

Cost: FREE - Registration essential!
Presented by farmer and educator, Brian Wehlburg, participants will gain an introduction to principles of holistic grazing management. A repeat of the very successful workshops held last year at Richmond, Kulnura and Lower Portland, this workshop provides an understanding of how to use animals as a tool to build soil health. To register your interest, email
It's not the cow - it's the how! Two day holistic grazing planning workshop 
Date:  Thursday & Friday,  16 &17 April 2020
Times: 9:30am - 4pm
Western Sydney University, Richmond
Cost: FREE - Registration essential!
If you participated in any of the 'Grazing management for drought resilience' workshops held last year, or on 3 April this year at Camden, and you want to go the next step, this workshop is for you. Understand how to use animals to increase biodiversity and long term profitability; Discover how to monitor grass growth and give plants the maximum opportunity to thrive; Accurately estimate standing feed and budget  your stock feed requirements; Learn how to set up monitoring sites. To register your interest, email 



Sprout X accelerator program now open
The Sprout X accelerator program is looking for skilled and resilient founders with high growth plans for their business. Assistance is provided to build  tech solutions for “farmgate to plate”  startup businesses, including agriculture, food, packaging, transport, waste, consumables and agri-tourism. Applications close 14 February 2020. For more detail, click 
F2F Ideas Program
​​Farmers 2 Founders (F2F)  idea programs are designed for primary producers with big ideas. Over 12 weeks, F2F provides funding, coaching, and more to support producers to work out if their business idea is worth pursuing. Applications close 23 February 2020  For more information, click HERE. 
Community action grants to reduce the impacts of climate change
To help communities take practical steps to reduce climate change impacts such as heatwaves, bushfires or floods, grants for between $10,00 and $30,000 are now available.  The grants can foster partnerships between community groups, not for profits, indigenous groups  and local councils. Round 1 has been extended and is now open until 28 February 2020. For more info, click HERE.
Well-Being Grants
The fifth round of Well-Being Grants to Support Farming Communities is now open. Grants of between $1,000 and $50,000 are available for community-led initiatives that help support the mental health and well-being of drought affected communities. Applications from a range of community groups and organisations are invited. Applications for Round 5 are open now and close Friday 28 February. For more information (including application guidelines), or to see what has been funded so far, please click 
AgriFutures™ Emerging Industries Program 
Applications from emerging rural industries  are being sought to increase the production capacity and industry value by applying research, development and extension (RD&E). In planning and submitting proposals, applicants need to familiarise themselves with the application procedure. AgriFutures Australia welcomes and encourages collaboration with other research providers. The AgriFutures™ Emerging Industries Program open call closes Friday, 6 March 2020 at 12 noon (AEDT).
Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTT)
he TTTT grant program helps communities access  resources  to support one another through the ongoing effects of the drought. Grants are available for a broad range of grassroots, community-led initiatives that directly and clearly benefit local communities. Three tiers of grants are available: 
Up to $20,000; Up to $60,000; and Up to $150,000. Applicants must speak with the TTTT team to discuss their project before applying. Applications for grants up to $20K and $60K close 28 may, Expresions of interest for rants  up to $150K close 16 April. Click HERE.


How has the climate changed since you were born? 
See how the climate has changed since you were born. Simply plug in your birth date and the online calculator uses BOM data to show how the climate has changed over your lifetime. Also, Monash University has used information from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) 
to predict how climate change will impact the world in the future. Click HERE.
Landscape re-hydration 'better than dams' in improving farm production & reducing fire risk
By using cattle-grazing techniques (moving stock between small paddocks on a regular basis) and engineering works, landholders have been able to reduce sediment runoff and increase ground cover. The leaders of a 'Re-hydrate the landscape' project in Queensland have proved that profits can flow from slowing the water down and holding it in the landscape. It also helps the farm be more resilient to fire and drought. For more information, click HERE.


Sustainable Summer Listening: New Podcasts
Sustainable Farms has devised a program of podcasts, designed to be short and engaging chats based on research. Episodes include: Sustainable farms; Farm dams; Farm loans; Farm revegetation; Squirrel Gliders; Dieback; Honeybees; and, After fire comes recovery. To download, click HERE.
Register for a free Farm Safety Pilot Program
A great opportunity exists for any NSW farming business to register for a free farm safety pilot program if they employ less than 20 full time equivalent staff. Farm Safety Advisor, Charles Laverty, from NSW Farmers, will support your business to develop an effective Workplace Health & Safety program. There is no requirement to be a member of NSW Farmers. For more information, click 
Local Food Systems Toolkit
Researchers have developed a Local Food Systems Toolkit to evaluate the economic impact of local food systems. It opens the door to having conversations with stakeholders who might normally dismiss localised food systems. While the toolkit is currently only available to producers in the United States, the methodology can be applied elsewhere. Click HERE.
Rivers of Carbon
The Rivers of Carbon program empowers people to act in response to climate change by restoring their streams to boost biodiversity, sequester carbon and promote wellbeing. Using Aboriginal wisdom, confidence is gained to take responsibility for, and become custodians of every soak, reed bed, ephemeral stream and waterway. Click
Fungi fights fire and builds the Soil Carbon Sponge
The Soil Carbon Sponge is porous, well-aggregated soil rich in plant roots, diverse life forms, nutrient availability, air, and often holding lots of water.  Building up the Soil Carbon Sponge draws down massive amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere, regenerates our soils and enhances agricultural productivity and human health. For more information, 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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