Council project to focus on farmers

Image-of-land-in-Byron-Shire

A new project initiated by Byron Shire Council is focusing on supporting its agricultural sector which employs more than 500 people.

Council has received a $50,000 grant from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program which will be used to develop a Rural Land Know How Package for new and existing land managers.

The grant will allow Council to develop new resources to increase people’s awareness, knowledge and skills of land management best practice and how to mitigate risks associated with climate change.

This will include producing a Land Management Best Practice guide, creating a mentoring program which will connect new farmers with industry leaders, as well as organising events such as field days, workshops or farm tours on subjects such as marketing produce, chemical and pest management, restoring riparian corridors and improving soil health.

Andrew Cameron, Council’s Farm Liaison Officer, said the outstanding contribution that local farming groups and individual farmers make to advance sustainable agriculture, the environment and the health of farming land is highly valued by Council and the wider community.

“The purpose of the project is to support the development and adoption of better farming practices in order to improve the management and quality of our natural resources and increase on-farm productivity.

“Agriculture was the foundation of the local economy for decades with the area having a strong connection to farming, especially dairying, and over the years the use of the land may have changed but farming is still extremely important to the local economy,” Mr Cameron said.

“The 2016 census found the total value of agriculture to the Byron Shire was more than $32 million with the nut industry the largest commodity.

“The agriculture industry in the Byron Shire is at a very exciting stage with the region known for its produce as well as being a leader in value-adding innovation,” Mr Cameron said.

This project is supported by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, through funding from Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

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