4 October 2018



Australia’s National Soils Advocate, former Governor General, Major General Michael Jeffery, says the Federal Government’s drought assistance measures are “simply crisis management”.

In the latest video in the Soils For Life video series, General Jeffery says the drought afflicting the eastern seaboard has produced outpourings of sympathy, money and donations in kind from Australians presented with pictures of dust bowls, starving sheep and stressed farming families.

“It’s sad to see, but the $1.8 billion in support that the government has been forced to provide, along with donations of hay and other feedstock, in reality, are simply crisis management and not long-term solutions”, General Jeffery says.

“There’s a lot of talk about drought-proofing farms, but too little is being done to inform farmers on how to go about doing that, including providing the necessary technical and focused financial support”.

‘Australian agriculture has to adopt regenerative practices or continue to suffer through recurring and increasingly severe droughts”.

“Soils For Life has numerous case studies about farmers who sat back, took stock, and studied what their landscape wanted, rather than only what they as farmers wanted”.

“They learned to properly integrate their soil, water, plant and animal management, and markedly reduced the impact of drought. In some cases, our case study farmers appear to have fully drought proofed their properties”.

General Jeffery said he was pleased to report that the national policy objectives outlined in his report, ‘Restore the Soil: Prosper the Nation’ was currently receiving a whole of government response. The report calls for:

  • educating Australian children about soil health and healthy food with a garden in every primary and junior high school with an agreed syllabus;
  • promoting the production of healthy food from healthy soils as an antidote to illnesses and allergies that increasingly appear to be coming through the food chain;
  • better supporting farmers to adopt regenerative practices so they don’t have to go into debt to make essential changes; and
  • establishing a long-term soil, water, vegetation and agricultural knowledge program that encourages collaboration between scientists and successful farmers, re-establishes State/Territory agricultural research stations and provides long-term career planning for agricultural science graduates.


General Jeffery’s report can be found at Restore the Soil: Prosper the Nation.


The video is part of a presentation by Major General Jeffery to the Food For Thought Festival in Albany, WA, from October 5 to 7.


Soils for Life programs demonstrate proven solutions in regenerative landscape management to increase the natural capital value of the Australian landscape – rural, regional and urban.

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