Drought fund should be a catalyst for fundamental farming change

Australia’s National Soil Advocate and Chair of Soils For Life, Major General Michael Jeffery, has welcomed yesterday’s passage of the Future Drought Fund legislation with optimism that it will provide funds for fundamental change to the way Australia farms. “Our case studies and interviews for Soils For Life (www.soilsforlife.org.au), especially those undertaken in drought affected areas, have proved that regenerative agriculture practices have the capacity to help “drought-proof” agriculture”, General Jeffery said. “Those of our case study farmers still technically in drought have functioning streams, ample or adequate top cover and have not needed to buy supplementary feed”. “Through integrated soil, water, plant and animal management, they have effectively drought-proofed their farms”. “Our case study at “Illawong”, due to be published shortly, reveals that pasture management including measures to retain moisture in soils, rotational grazing and the revegetation of remnant trees and ground cover has provided abundant pasture and healthy profits on a relatively small holding”.

"Illawong", Bowna, NSW, October 17, 2018

“The increasing use and interest in regenerative practices we see at Soils For Life have largely been a direct response to the drought, with farmers seeking long term resilience to the inevitable future drought events”. General Jeffery said the adoption of common sense regenerative practices on farms also had positive financial implications, through the payment of carbon credits for resilient, carbon-rich soils. “Soils For Life farmers demonstrate that improving soil health could draw down sufficient CO2 to meet our Paris Agreement target”. “Indeed, it may well be possible to neutralise Australia’s total annual industrial emissions of around 550 million tonnes of CO2, thus allowing a more orderly transition to renewable energy options”, General Jeffery said.

For more information, contact: Niree Creed, Media, Soils For Life, 0418625595