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Soils for Life Blog

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Interview with Major General Michael Jeffery: The National Soils Advocate

A Future Directions International interview by Geoffrey Craggs, Research Analyst, Northern Australia and Regional Development The National Soils Advocate: "As the Soils Advocate, I have been tasked by the Prime Minister to increase awareness of and advocate the critical importance of conserving and improving agricultural soil and landscape conditions to: benefit the environment; enhance agricultural productivity and realise continuing economic benefits; and secure sustainable food production systems." Key points: The National Soils Advocate role is to progress the national objective to protect, restore and maintain the health of the Australian agricultural landscape in order to guarantee food security and sustainable farming communities. ....

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Soil, production and ecological benefits of trees on farms

A number of recently published Soils For Life case studies demonstrate that revegetation activities have on-farm production and environmental benefits, ranging from animal productivity improvements to soil protection and provision of ecological habitat. Approaching revegetation activities can be as diverse as the trees and shrubs being planted. Here’s a snapshot of some of the production, soil and ecological benefits trees provide. Production benefits Revegetation comes with costs, so a logical question is what are the benefits to the farm business. Trees provide shelter for livestock, pasture and crops. One study in Australia estimated that tree plantings in the form of shelterbelts can reduce windspeeds ....

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EVERY DROP IS PRECIOUS

  Michael Jeffrey is a senior Australian Army officer and former Governor-General of Australia. A world water crisis for drinking and agricultural purposes is the gravest threat facing our civilisation. This warning isn’t mine — it’s the sober, consensus view of international business leaders, expressed through the World Economic Forum this year. The forum cautioned that water crises easily could deteriorate into famines, failed states, wars, disease pandemics, refugee floods and bigger climate impacts. It was underscored by a UN report predicting that by 2030 world water demand might outrun supply by as much as 40 per cent. These are focal ....

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Australia cannot remain secure in a food and water insecure world

  Michael Jeffrey is a senior Australian Army officer and former Governor-General of Australia. The great crises of this century are predicted to involve water, soil and food. While financial failures and political and religious disputes claim the headlines, the reality is that we need to feed up to 10 billion people by the 2060s in a world where the resources to do so are becoming scarce. History has shown on many occasions that when food supplies fail, governments fall and people fight. The opposite is also true: a well-fed world is a more peaceful world. Most of the instability today is ....

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To Save the Planet, We Must Save the Soil

Major General The Honourable Michael Jeffery, AC, AO (Mil), CVO, MC (Retd), is Australia's National Advocate for Soil Health, and the Chairman of Soils for Life. He has written this guest blog post as part of the 2015 International Year of Soils.   I have been appointed by the Federal Government as Australia’s first Advocate for Soil Health. As the Advocate, I raise public awareness of the critical role soil plays in underpinning sustainable productivity, delivering high quality ecosystem services and helping ....

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Peter Andrews' management of vegetation & soil hydrology

  Peter Andrews took over management of Tarwyn Park when it was severely degraded and salinised. He spent many years researching and applying innovative ways to restore landscape function, based on building soil condition and managing water movement through the landscape. Today the property is a leading example of regenerative landscape management. Peter and his son Stuart, who now manages Tarwyn Park, hosted a field day on 14 April to explain the methods used and show the results achieved. ....

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Holistic Management & the Regeneration of Northern Australia

  This is a copy of the interview performed by Soils for Life and Future Directions International (FDI) as originally published on the FDI website. Download PDF Summary This interview is in response to the concept paper: Regenerate Australia: Our Greatest Challenge and Opportunity. It seeks to ascertain from a current NT grazier whether the long-term Regenerate Australia plan is viable and what steps need to be taken first in order to see it realised. Moira Lanzarin is a 4th generation farmer with tertiary studies in Business Law and a diploma of Company ....

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The link between soil health & human health

  Fundamentally, the food that we eat is derived from plants and the animals that eat them – so how does what plants grow in affect us?   Soils for Life’s resident soil microbiologist, Walter Jehne, has been supporting Urban Agriculture Australia and their display at this year’s Floriade in Canberra, on a mission to encourage people to grow their own food, save money, reconnect with nature and look after their health. Last week the Soils for Life team sat in on Walter’s presentation ‘Why healthy people need healthy food from ....