THE Australian dairy industry has received $345,000 for its best practice natural resource management strategy, Dairying for Tomorrow.
The funds were received from the National Landcare Program after the Federal Government approved a joint proposal from Dairy Australia and the Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) to significantly improve the connection between the dairy industry and other natural resource stakeholders.
WA¹s successful DairyCatch project has been at the forefront of Dairying for Tomorrow¹s Regional Development Programs and would benefit greatly from the funding towards its research and development.
Federal Agriculture Minister Warren Truss said the Dairying for Tomorrow strategy clearly demonstrated the dairy industry considered its environmental responsibilities very seriously.
He said for the program to realise its full potential, it had to be effective throughout the industry and the National Landcare Program funding would assist the program in this.
³It will also help coordinate existing programs and raise community awareness of the excellent job the dairy industry does in managing the land and water resources entrusted to it,² he said.
He said landcare was a highly popular and effective means of encouraging rural industries and communities to work together for improved natural resource management.
³Its hands-on, grass roots approach will ensure farmers involved in this project also have access to the latest information on sustainable agricultural practices,² he said.
³Specifically this project will better integrate dairy industry land management practices with regional planning initiatives by improving the communication channels between farmers, regional groups and dairy organizations.
³By developing and maintaining partnerships with specific industries such as dairy landcare has a vital, on going role to play in boosting agricultural sustainability.²
Mr Truss said part of the landcare movement¹s success had been its role in helping to inform, motivate and encourage landholders to better manage their natural resources.
ADF president Allan Burgess said he expected the funding would bring with it a regionally-based support team that will assist dairy farmers in implementing their natural resource plans in the most efficient way.
³We believe this boost will not only help the industry communicate with catchment managers to design sensible targets, but will also result in greater access by farmers to programs like the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) that will help them with on-farm works and management,² Mr Burgess said.
The new network would be supported for three years at $345,000 annually, but as a requirement of the program, coordinator positions become self funding at the end of that period.
Dairy Australia chair Pat Rowley said the network of dairy natural resource coordinators would also help to promote the environmental credentials of the dairy industry through Dairying for Tomorrow.
³Our challenge is to lift the ability of the dairy industry to get its plans and programs aligned with those of natural resource and catchment managers and to ensure good programs are put in place to help farmers with continuous improvement in their environmental management,² he said.
Mr Rowley said the Federal Government¹s National Landcare Program, Sustainable Industries Inititaives, had brought this project to fruition.
He said the funding would complement other projects to develop on-farm tools for farmers, funded under the NHT.