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November message from the CEO

October saw agricultural science taking the dominant role on the Soils for Life agenda. We have consolidated our working relationships with the High-Performance Soils Cooperative Research Centre (Soils CRC), the Australian National University, the Soils Division of the CSIRO in both Adelaide and Canberra, the NSW Government Department of Primary Industry. In the last month, Soils for Life has been engaged with both South Australia’s Dept of Primary Industry and Regions and WA’s Department of Primary Industry and Regional Development. The interest and offers of collaboration on soil science and ecology from the scientists in these organisations is ....

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Soil Tech Project

The Soil Tech Project is an initiative of National Landcare’s Smart Farming Partnerships and is funded via a grant from the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. The Project uses an agile development approach to bring together soil scientists from the University of Sydney, agtech software developers FarmLab and CorrelLink, and agronomists from AGRIvision to translate peer reviewed soil science into six digital soil management tools for a new soil management system for land managers. The grant was awarded to Andrea Koch Agtech in late 2018 and is managed by Andrea Koch and Robert Burdock. Soil science research ....

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Note from Greg Hosking

Greg has worked as an Ecologist with the Soils for Life team since graduating from The Australian National University with a degree in Forest Science. Greg’s work with Soils for Life assists land managers to understand the history of their management practices and how the methods have affected landscapes over time. Outside of work, Greg loves being outdoors. His hobbies include birdwatching, hiking, trout fishing, and gardening.

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Time to rethink Australia's food security

In an article published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, Paul Barnes highlights the critical nexus between food security, disaster resilience and the impacts of climate change. This article provides a good overview of some recent initiatives dealing with Australian food security and agricultural systems in the face of climate change. Read the article here.

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The Landline effect

On 8 September 2019, ABC Landline with Pip Courtney broadcast ‘Future Soil: Excess carbon regenerating soils’. We are thrilled with the story, another example of mainstream media covering regenerative agriculture. The response to this story, the so-called ‘Landline effect’, proves that the Australian public is interested in soil and what it means for sustainable food production. The story has been viewed at least 140,000 times and we witnessed visitor spikes on our website and Youtube channel.   The National Soils Advocate, Michael Jeffery is interviewed alongside our case study farmers, Diane and Ian Haggerty from Western Australia. ....

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A clash of cultures: Why are soil scientists given a bad rap by some regenerative agriculturists?

Emeritus Professor Robert White, Faculty of Veterinary and Agricultural Sciences, The University of Melbourne. robertew@unimelb.edu.au In the 2006 book ‘Back from the Brink’, farmer Peter Andrews says, ‘we need the scientific community to accept that the approach it has adopted to Australia’s landscape problems so far have been wrong’ (p.7) and that ‘we certainly have to abandon the idea that scientists can provide a solution to our landscape’s problems’ (p.13). In short, forget about the decades of scientific research into land management if you want to rehabilitate the land. In 2017, Charles Massy published ‘Call of the Reed Warbler’, which deplores modern industrial farming ....

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October message from the Chair

Regenerative agriculture helps to provide a climate solution in Australia. Changing farming practices to include carbon in our precious national asset, the soil, is beneficial to all farmers. The Prime Minister recently announced the re-appointment of the National Soils Advocate. The Advocate will increase awareness of the importance of conserving agricultural soil and landscape conditions for a range of benefits. These include benefiting the environment, enhancing agricultural productivity, realising continual economic benefits, and securing sustainable food production systems. A team in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet supports the Advocate. Soils for Life case studies demonstrate that groundcover and sequestration occur through higher photosynthesis. More ways to build ....

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October message from the CEO

We’ve had another busy month centred around soil carbon: how to build it, the benefits and dividends of carbon rich and healthy soils, and how to measure carbon content. I attended a field day near Cudgewa Vic which promoted one effective method of building carbon in soils. The CSIRO based in both Adelaide and Canberra have helped in raising awareness and improving our understanding of healthy soils. On the important matter of measuring soil carbon, we’ve commenced planning a workshop for next March with the University of Tasmania and the Chinese Agricultural Academy on measuring economically and at ....