In last week’s Federal Budget there was big news on the soil health front with $200 million committed to the implementation of the National Soils Strategy.
The recent Soil Health Strategy takes a long term view of sustainable soil management and includes three arms of action:
- Prioritise Soil Health
- Empower Soil innovation and stewards
- Strengthen soil knowledge and capability
With the budget announcement, we move from Strategy to Action.
An interim Action Plan has been released.
But what does this mean for Wheatbelt farmers? Announced initiatives include a Soil monitoring program that aims to capture past and present soil data at the paddock scale. This monitoring program will encourage farmers to test their soil and feed results into a national database (de-identified)
The National Landcare Program Smart Farms small Grants will be focused on Soil Strategy actions as will be parts of the Future Drought Fund.
There is also a focus on training our next cohort of soil scientists. The aim is to increase the availability and access farmers have to accredited advisors to provide practical and scientifically valid advice.
Soil underpins a myriad of economic activities. In Australia, it directly contributes about A$63 billion each year to the economy through agriculture production alone. Until now there hasn’t been an integrated national approach to managing this important resource. The National Soil Strategy could be the turning point for this.
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