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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 ....

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Note from Terry Harkness

Introducing Terry Harkness, a valued member of the Soils for Life team. As the Project Manager, Terry organises case studies and land-holder engagement. Terry is an accountant (CPA) with 30 years’ experience working in various industry sectors including manufacturing, waste recycling, mining and mining services, retail and hospitality. With an interest in landscape management Terry is a committee member of Landcare Illawarra acts as an honorary Treasurer for community organisations. Terry likes rugby league, touch football, bike riding, paddling on Lake Illawarra and seed collecting. He reads natural history, botany, colonial history and Aboriginal culture. Terry’s next project is to support sea bird colonies off the ....

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Global Table Conference in Melbourne

At a recent Melbourne food industry conference, the question was asked, ‘How do we feed billions more people and sustain our environment?’ Technology and innovation are key solutions. Where does soil health fit into the five topics: new foods, agtech, food waste, alternate proteins and the human microbiome? Is the soil microbiome the answer to many of our problems? Yes, says Soils for Life. Read more about the conference here.

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A statement from Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment

The Hon Sussan Ley Minister for the Environment Statement to Parliament Extract from Hansard 23 July 2019 …We are working together. We know that between us we can help with one of the key environmental and agricultural outcomes, which is healthy soils. I was absolutely delighted to see that Major General Michael Jeffery has been reappointed as the national soils advocate. No-one who listens to Michael Jeffery could not but be a convert, if you weren't already, to the cause of healthy soils. He spoke at the National Drought Summit and he was outstanding. I'm delighted, Prime Minister, that his term has been extended and, in ....