Helping farmers plan for uncertain times with forum

A snapshot of David Marsh's
A snapshot of David Marsh's "Allendale" in 1982 compared to 2019. Photo: ABC Rural

Through funding from Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR), Boorowa Community Landcare Group and Hovells Creek Landcare Group have support for a number of activities, to promote strategies to tackle tough times, to improve ecological, economic and social wellbeing of communities.

The forum 'Resilient Farming Communities Planning for Climate Uncertainty' will be held on Friday, August 16, 2019 at the Boorowa Ex-Services Club from 8.30am - 4.30pm.

The forum will be relevant to everyone in the community with an interest in the rural environment who would like a reliable update about the state of climate change.

"Whilst it's easy to get caught up in the day to day," speaker Mark Gardner said.

"We need to maintain a focus on the big picture and long-term context."

Local community identity Justin Fleming, Managing Director of Flemings Property Services in Boorowa, Harden and Cootamundra will emcee the day.

Speakers are experienced 'hands-on' people who want to help others make a difference to our individual and collective wellbeing.

They will discuss results of recent research projects and decision-making drivers for farmers and graziers, as well as understanding what motivates people to think and act in the way they do.

John Harper, a farmer and mental health advocate, who has been actively promoting awareness of mental health wellbeing in times of stress and anxiety, will highlight its importance particularly during drought.

Drought is only one symptom of a changing climate and we hope to empower land managers to plan for uncertainty, offering strategies to be open to making change.

Co-authors of the National Environmental Science Program (NESP) report Mark Gardner and Dr Jacki Schirmer will present the financial, ecological and wellbeing benefits of improved biodiversity on farms.

Some of the interesting findings from the project were that the average profit levels from the regenerative graziers was comparable with industry benchmarked levels, and less variable in years where there was low rainfall.

Regenerative graziers reported significantly higher levels of wellbeing compared to similar farmers in the Regional Wellbeing Survey.

Warwick Badgery from NSW Department of Primary Industries, will outline a project established to assess different trigger points, seasonal climate forecasts, and strategies for prioritising limited feed availability to meet profit and environment targets.

A series of producer group consultations have been completed across the state to determine how successful producers are making decisions.

Matt Lieschke will update on Local Land Services work in this area, related to the project and the current season.

Toneya McIntosh will discuss behaviour and how to support each other through practice change using examples of her work with the Queensland sugarcane industry.

There will be time for questions and discussion in a plenary session as well as after each speaker.

Local regenerative farmers Charlie Arnott and David Marsh, and Boorowa Landcare's Re-Gen Grazing Group facilitator Scott Hickman will join us in the final discussion session to offer practical ways to help bring ideas into action.

The day will provide an opportunity to explore possibilities and solutions to plan for health and wealth in an uncertain environment.

There will also be displays by community and industry groups with resources that can help to support and facilitate change, with plenty of time for discussion during breaks.

Ticket includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea.

For more details about this forum, contact Linda CavanaghCoordinator Boorowa Community Landcare Group on 0459 681 018 or via email landcare@boorowa.net