Charting Australia’s Farming Future

On Friday June 16  Professor Snow Barlow FTSE, FAIAST and Winsome McCaughey AO will convene a Roundtable of 25 Australian national experts from biodiversity, soils, water and agriculture to discuss Integrating Biodiversity and Profitable Farming at their vineyard near Baddaginnie in North East Victoria.

This is the first cross-sectional, cross-discipline gathering to engage in charting the future of productive, biodiverse Australian landscapes.

Australian farmers are experiencing an unprecedented demand for safe, quality food of known provenance, largely from a rapidly expanding Asian middleclass. Responding to this opportunity will place increasing pressure on Australia’s already stretched agricultural natural resource base.  It also creates great opportunities for innovation, profitability and strong positioning of Australian food.

Professor Barlow said that “Australia must find a balance within our Farming Systems that’s productive and sustainable if we are to defend and strengthen Australia’s reputation as a clean and green food supplier. We need to focus on value rather than volume farming – and build platforms of trusted provenance that enable us to demand price premiums in Asian and global markets”

Professor Kate Auty, former Victorian and current ACT Commissioner for the Environment will facilitate the Roundtable. Participants include:

  • Professor Saul Cunningham, Director, Fenner School of the Environment and Society, ANU
  • Professor Richard Echard, Director, Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre Melbourne University
  • Dr John Williams, formerly Chief CSIRO Land and Water and NSW Environment Commissioner
  • Professor Ary Hoffman, Professor of Pest Control and Environmental Stress Adaptation Melbourne University
  • Dr Pauline Mele, Principal Scientist, Soil Health, Agriculture Victoria
  • Mark Wooton, Director, Jigsaw Farms, Hamilton Victoria
  • Colin Seis, Winona Merino Stud; Pasture Cropping Processes; Winner of National Landcare Award 2014
  • Justin Weaver, President, Holistic Farm Management Group; Beef and Grains, Balmoral Victoria
  • Dr Emily Nicholson, Centre for Integrative Ecology, Deakin University

The following day (Sat 17 June) district farmers will join the discussions in a Workshop and add further perspectives and experiences.

We would also like to acknowledge the support we have received from the Commonwealth Department of Environment and Energy for this project.

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We are on a journey and we’d love you to come with us. There is much to be done! An easy way to help is to purchase and enjoy our wines with friends. We’d also love you to share our story. Tim Jones depicts this in his beautiful engravings – which is that:

  • Replacing native bio-corridors restores healthy ecosystems
  • Healthy ecosystems enable wines to express distinctive terroir flavours
  • Reinvesting returns from quality wines enables more land restoration

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