Document Sample
					Appendix 4:

A Strategic Plan to Encourage the Immediate and Long Term
 Uptake of Sustainable Agricultural Practices in Gippsland

Proponents : Participants in the Gippsland Future Food and Fibre
                Leadership Program, April 2008


The participants of the Gippsland Future Food and Fibre Leadership Program
2008 would like to acknowledge the assistance of the following people who
greatly assisted us in the process of successfully creating this strategic plan.
Many thanks to Jenny O’Sullivan, Leith Boully and Rob Patrick. The project
was funded by the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust and
supported by the three catchment management authorities - West Gippsland,
East Gippsland, and Port Phillip and Westernport.

        Gippsland Future Food & Fibre Leadership Program 2008

Participants at Lakes Entrance, Victoria.
rear : Neil Stringer, Graeme Nicoll, Andrew Sheriden, Bernhard Lubitz, David
middle : Dawn Parker, Rosemary Trease, Cassie Wright, Rob Patrick
      (presenter), Mike Bannon, Rob Waddell, Shayne Haywood, Rose Maher,
      Chrissy Reeves.
front : Libby Lambert, Susan Jenkins, Leith Boully (presenter), Julianne
      Sargant, Jo Caminiti, Carolyn Ferguson, Lucy Mackenzie.


1.   Sustainable Agriculture in Gippsland 2050 – At a Glance
2.   Introduction
3.   Agriculture in Gippsland
4.   Assumed Future Impacts on Gippsland’s Agriculture
5.   Uptake of Sustainable Agriculture
6.   Key Stakeholders and Partners
7.   Objectives and Action Plan


Appendix A – Survey
Appendix B - Networks


Sustainable agriculture and its practice has been defined as ‘a pathway to
achieve continuous improvement in agriculture, which fosters the ecological,
social and economic viability of Gippsland’s future’.

      Gippsland, a leader in sustainable agriculture supporting healthy
                    landscapes and vibrant communities

      Our mission is to achieve the widespread uptake of sustainable
       agricultural practices by land managers in Gippsland through
                     collaboration with key stakeholders

    In our dealings with target groups, stakeholders and partners, we will
       act with integrity, we will respect others, we will be committed to
         positive outcomes and we will seek and promote innovation

KNOWLEDGE              Ensure that relevant knowledge is available for

EDUCATION              Ensure access to relevant sustainable agricultural
                       knowledge and education programs on an ongoing

RESOURCING             Secure ongoing resource support

MARKETING              Raise the profile of sustainable agricultural

ONGROUND               Secure active participation in sustainable
IMPLEMENTATION         agricultural practises by at least 50% landholders
                       (in Gippsland) by 2013


Sustainable Agriculture in Gippsland 2050 provides a strategic plan to
encourage the immediate and long term uptake of sustainable agricultural
practices in Gippsland. It was developed as part of the Gippsland Future Food
and Fibre Leadership Program, 2008 (GFFFLP) as an exercise to foster the
participants’ leadership and strategic planning skills. The Leadership Program
was conducted in three sessions of three days each between February and
April 2008.

The leadership program, facilitated by the Australian Rural Leadership
Foundation, was offered to farmers, growers, fishers and service providers
already involved in EMS or sustainable agriculture projects or activities in
Gippsland and Port Phillip regions. Nineteen participants were selected from
applicants across Gippsland.

As part of the GFFFLP, participants were asked to formulate a strategic plan
to encourage the uptake of sustainable agricultural practices in Gippsland.
The plan was to include a strategic approach for the longer term as well as
actions to achieve improved uptake in the next 5 years.

The Gippsland Future Food and Fibre Project, was a one year project directed
at the development of sustainable primary production in Gippsland. The
project was funded by the Australian Government’s Natural Heritage Trust
and supported by the three catchment management authorities - West
Gippsland, East Gippsland, and Port Phillip and Westernport.


Gippsland is located in south eastern Victoria and extends from the outer
eastern suburbs of Melbourne and the Westernport Bay to the easternmost
point of Victoria. It is bounded by the Great Dividing Range and the border
with New South Wales in the north, and Bass Strait in the south.

In 1998/99 the gross value of agriculture production in Gippsland was $869
million. The main agricultural industries include dairy which accounts for half
and beef a further 25%. The graph below shows the break down of major
agricultural commodities for Gippsland (DPI 2002). The last 10 years has
seen an increase of broadacre cropping, horticulture and viticulture. Timber
production from native state forests, and hardwood and softwood plantation
forests, produce sawlogs and pulp. Bay and inlet fisheries operate in the
Gippsland Lakes and Corner Inlet; and several ports in Gippsland including
Mallacoota, Lakes Entrance, Port Welshpool and San Remo support offshore
fisheries for shark, fin fish, shell fish (scallops & abalone) and crustaceans
(prawn & southern rock lobster).

                         Agriculture in Gippsland

   Production in $
   Gross Value of






                                                                                                                           Snow Peas

                                                                                                                                                           Cut Flowers

                                                          Major commodities

Gippsland is rich in natural resources: the Gippsland Basin has supplied two
thirds of Australia’s cumulative oil production: the Latrobe Valley contains one
of the world’s largest brown coal fields which produces 90% of Victoria’s
electricity; the Thomson Dam provides 60% of Melbourne’s water storage
capacity; Gippsland accounts for 20% of Australia’s milk production; the
Gippsland Lakes is the largest navigable lake system in Australia and is a
Ramsar listed wetland for the protection of migratory birds, as are Corner Inlet
& Westernport Bay; around 60% of Gippsland is public land either designated
parks and wilderness areas or managed as state forests (WGCMA 2004;
EGCMA 2006); 10 marine national parks are located along the Gippsland
coast, including Westernport Bay (Parks Vic website).

Natural resources in Gippsland are under pressure from rural, urban and
industrial development. Clearing has resulted in a loss of biodiversity whilst
intensive land use has increased nutrient and sediment discharge to water
ways affecting the health of rivers and estuaries. Parts of the region are
affected by elevated water tables and salinity due to land clearing and
irrigation practices. Invasive pests impact on agriculture and biodiversity. The
state of the natural resource base and targets for resource condition, and the
management actions required to achieve targets for resource condition are
documented in the Regional Catchment Strategies for East Gippsland, West
Gippsland and Port Phillip Westernport regions.

Uptake of sustainable agricultural practices will help to address these impacts
on Gippsland’s natural resources.


Climate Change
Climate change is expected to slightly reduce winter and spring rainfall
particularly in the west of Gippsland. Annual rainfall is likely to remain around
the same in the east, but with more intense rainfall events particularly in the
summer months. Increased average temperatures will raise evaporation rates
and dry the catchments, leading to reduced stream flows even if the rainfall
remains the same. The drier catchments are likely to lead to increased fire
risk, and possible changes in composition of native plant and animal
communities, exacerbated by major fire events. These drier conditions in the
high rainfall areas of the south west may shift the growing season from the
current spring/summer towards winter/spring. Sea levels are expected to rise,
threatening fragile barrier dunes and low lying coastal areas with erosion and

Gippsland is expected to be less affected by climate change than inland areas
which may experience significant reductions in annual rainfall and stream flow
(WGCMA 2008).

Australia will establish a carbon trading system by 2010 that will affect costs of
production, processing and distribution, and may present opportunities to
trade in carbon credits. Agriculture will be initially excluded, but it is likely that
an agricultural carbon trading system will be established in the medium term.
Fuel price increases will lead to increased costs of production and distribution
in the medium term and may affect global commodity markets. The cost of
inputs e.g. raw materials, chemicals, seed fertilizers and machinery will
increase and require further efficiencies in the use of these inputs. Consumer
expectations will continue to drive retailers to provide product differentiation
based on ethics and environmental performance for some food & fibre
products – there may be opportunities to receive price premiums for
differentiated products, but it would appear likely that in order to gain market
access, producers will have to absorb the costs of providing certified products.
Pressure on agricultural land through the increased return on capital to
through the changes in land use (eg tree and sea change development).

The average age of farmers will continue to increase, for example in the
Leongatha region the new entrants to farming in 1986 were 15-30 year olds in
2006 the new entrants are in the age group of 40-60. This trend is expected
to stabilise over the next decade (Barr 2008). Currently, in this area there has
been a net increase in population mainly due to the immigration in the 30-50
year old age group. Changes in the regional farm business structure may
include an increase in smaller holdings that are supported by off farm income
as well as corporate investment in large scale primary production.


In an effort to ascertain attitudes to sustainable farming and its practise, a
survey was designed and delivered to a selection of forty four land managers
and fifteen service providers from across Gippsland.
Questions included:
           What are sustainable practices and which ones are being used?
           What prevents adoption of sustainable practices?
           What can be done to encourage greater uptake?
 The survey results are detailed in Appendix A.

The critical issues identified from the survey results were analysed and the
following observations made.

Strengths                There are established groups to distribute information
                         (see stakeholder groups).

                         The knowledge for best grazing management is

                         Education is currently available to implement
                         sustainable farming.

Weaknesses              The education available is sometimes inappropriate.
                         There is a lack of knowledge amongst primary
                         producers about sustainable farming practices.

                        We are not sure how farmers access information.

Opportunities            Education can be altered to suit farmers access

                        We are a committed leadership group
                        There is the scope to uptake best practices (?)
                        Target audiences need to be correctly identified
                         Gippsland has the potential to be the food bowl of

                         Gippsland is rich in its diversity of tapped and
                         untapped assets.

Threats/Risks            Is there a willingness by farmers to uptake education
                         relating to sustainable agriculture?

                         There is a perception that farm profits will drop if
                         sustainable agricultural practices are implemented

                         Will the government remove the natural resource
                         management funding required for implementing

                         sustainable agricultural practices?
                        Best practise may not be embraced.

Stakeholders are people who are affected by the goals of the strategic plan.

Partners are those who directly work with and support the land managers to
achieve the goals of the strategic plan.

People and organisations can be either a stakeholder and/or a partner in
different circumstances

Examples of Partners and Stakeholders are:
    Agricultural/NRM Service Providers
    Farmers/Land managers
    Customers/Consumers
    Investors/Funders
    Industry Bodies
    Government Bodies

This strategic plan recognises that partners and stakeholders participating in
regional and industry networks will be engaged in the uptake of sustainable
agricultural practices. Some of these are listed in Appendix B.

The five major objectives of this strategic plan interrelate to deliver on the
vision of Gippsland, a leader in sustainable agriculture supporting healthy
landscapes and vibrant communities. The diagram below represents how
these objectives relate to support change on the ground.

   Knowledge           Education           Marketing           Resources

                              Onground Implementation

                                                         SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE IN GIPPSLAND 2050
                 Objective                            Strategies to achieve objectives                                        5 year action plan
                 Ensure that relevant knowledge is    Adapt current information to meet knowledge needs and work              - Identify knowledge needs of landholder and service providers Eg. What is it that they want to know and what
                 available for dissemination          towards filling identified gaps                                         format does it need to be in (content and medium)?

                                                                                                                              - Existing knowledge audit to determine what is available in terms of market drivers, beneficial practices,
                                                      Support processes to share and align knowledge, improving its           systems and tools in compliance with regulatory and statutory agencies.
                                                                                                                              - Identifying leading practitioners and current benchmarks for sustainable agricultural practices Eg using
                                                      relevance to Gippsland
                                                                                                                              existing surveys Landleader, ABARE, Dairy Australia NRM survey etc.
                                                                                                                              - Foster opportunities for research to address identified knowledge gaps
                                                                                                                              - Check that the information is fit for purpose and review annually
                                                                                                                              - Facilitate access to relevant knowledge (eg. Networks, newsletter, website, database)
                                                                                                                              - Provide regular opportunities to share and align knowledge.
                 Ensure access to relevant            Develop capacity of Gippsland farmers to meet future economic           - Evaluate existing education tools within Gippsland and other regions and industries and use to improve
                 sustainable agricultural knowledge   and environmental challenges through the use of sustainable             delivery and enhance uptake of sustainable agricultural practices.

                 and education programs on an         agricultural practices.                                                 - Evaluate and select effective recognised self assessment and action planning tools for delivery by educators
                 ongoing basis                                                                                                that include supply chain considerations.
                                                                                                                              - Identify and remedy gaps in currently available education (including at schools and universities)
                                                      Equip service providers with up to date tools to facilitate uptake of
                                                                                                                              - Take a collaborative approach to planning, integrating and delivering education programs.
                                                      sustainable agriculture in Gippsland.                                   - Provide training/networks for service providers/educators to ensure up to date knowledge on beneficial
                                                                                                                              management practices on sustainable agriculture.
                 Secure ongoing resource support      Determine, investigate and seek resources to develop the                - Identify resource needs for knowledge, service provision and on ground implementation

                                                      education, knowledge, marketing, on ground implementation               - Identify available resources:- current, potential, short and long term.
                                                      components of this strategy                                             - Identify resourcing short falls and unmet needs and seek to fill them.
                                                                                                                              - Collaborate to provide aligned regional delivery by harnessing wide ranging resource opportunities.

                 Raise the profile of sustainable     Raise the awareness of partners and stakeholders of the value,          - Promote to consumers the benefits of purchasing sustainably produced food and fibre.

                 agricultural practices.              importance and critical nature of sustainable agriculture in            - Promote to policy and decision makers the benefits of a collaborative regional approach to sustainable
                                                      Gippsland.                                                              agriculture involving landholders, industry and service providers as described in this strategic plan.
                                                                                                                              - Promote to the people who work with farmers the benefits of networking to share knowledge and align
                                                                                                                              delivery. (eg develop a network to coordinate a Gippsland calendar of integrated events web based).
                                                                                                                              - Actively promote the effective onground implementation of sustainable agricultural practises. (eg whole of
                                                                                                                              enterprise field days/demonstrations that are relevant to local conditions and industries).

                 Secure active participation in       Use recognised self assessment and action planning tools to             - Identify sources of information to benchmark current participation in sustainable agricultural practices. Eg
                 Sustainable Ag practises by at        improve land management                                                industry surveys, ABARE/ABS etc.

                 least 50% landholders (in            Support and encourage those land managers to progress to                - Review uptake of sustainable agricultural practises through benchmarking every 5 years.

                 Gippsland) by 2013                    accredited systems                                                     - Establish demonstration farms to show case the use of current beneficial management practices to illustrate
                                                                                                                              the economic and environmental outcomes.
                                                      Support adoption of beneficial management practises on ground
                                                                                                                              - Provide resources to support on ground implementation Eg. Information, education, incentives, technical
                                                       that improve natural assets                                            advice, stewardship payments.
                                                                                                                              - Encourage adoption of market driven accreditation systems. Eg Enviroment and Freshcare


Barr, N. (2008) Rural Futures Initiative Forum presentation at Leongatha

DPI (2002). Creating Gippsland’s Future. A Strategic Framework for regional
and Local Development in Gippsland.

EGCMA (2006). East Gippsland Regional Catchment Strategy (2006-2011).

PPWCMA (2005). Port Phillip and Westernport Regional Catchment Strategy

WGCMA (2004). West Gippsland Regional Catchment Strategy (2004-2009).

WGCMA (2008). Strzelecki Multiple Outcomes Project – Climate Change in
the Strzelecki Ranges.


      -   Survey methodology
      -   Survey document
      -   Compiled survey results

A total of fifty nine individuals were surveyed, including forty-four primary
producers (44) and fifteen service providers. The survey contained five
questions which elicited a number of differing responses. The most prevalent
responses are set out in the table below in order of popularity.

Questions                   Responses                              No. of
1. What are sustainable     Soil health                            39
   farming practices ?      Environmental protection               30
                            Grazing management                     26
                            Profitable                             21
2. What sustainable         Grazing management                     45
   farming practices do     Environmental protection               42
   you use/or see being     Soil health                            38
   used in your region ?    Fertiliser regimes                     19
3. What limitations         Financial                              56
   and/or obstacles are     Knowledge                              43
   preventing people        Motivation / attitude/ beliefs         23
   from adopting more       Time                                   22
   sustainable farming      Perception                             22
   practices ?
4. What could be done to    Education                              72
   encourage more           Economic factors                       60
   sustainable farming      Community values & perceptions         15
   practices ?              Regulation                             14
5. Any other comments?      - Farming is a lifestyle choice as     Not all
                            well as a job                          participants
                            - Requires commitment to the land      responded
                            - What is sustainable ?                to this
                            - Change shouldn’t happen at the       question.
                            expense of the environment
                            - Off farm investment seen as
                            required for “sustainability” i.e.
                            business sustainable, not just large
                            enough for lifestyle
                            - The country / city divide
                            - Gippsland land values are inflated
                            by factors outside agriculture
                            putting excessive pressure on land


It was decided that support networks were an ideal tool for the spread of ideas
and implementation of goals. They could provide a pathway for interaction
with existing networks to enable support for agricultural practitioners. These
networks could be actioned in the form of email lists, fax messaging, meetings
and farm tours.

They were also seen as a practical way to maintain connection and the
momentum of the GFFFLP group. A network is now in place to disseminate
information about activities relating to sustainable agricultural practices and to
coordinate the lobbying process as required by the group.

EXISTING NETWORKS (listed results from Session 2 workshop)

Policy level networks

Gippsland Integrated Natural Resources Forum (GINRF)
        made up of sixty organisations (government, non-government
          organisations, industry) that use and manage natural resources. Its
          executive committee is made up of the CEOs of CMAs, DSE, DPI,
          Local Government, and Gippsland Water.

Gippsland Regional Managers Forum (RMF)
         - Comprises heads of state government departments and shires
            that align government policy and delivery at a Gippsland
            regional level

Gippsland Local Government Network (GLGN)
         - CEOs and mayors of seven Gippsland local government

Agribusiness Gippsland Inc.
          - A non government organisation that develops strategy and
             projects to improve agribusiness in Gippsland. It has a part time
             CEO plus a Board of Management.

Service Provider Level

Gippsland Environment Management System (EMS) Reference Group
         - Meets twice a year and has an email distribution list. It is a group
            of service providers that come together, to share knowledge and
            align efforts in EMS and environmental farm planning
            (sustainable agriculture).

Service Provider/Farmers

East Gippsland Sustainable Agriculture Forum.
      - Meets four times a year and comprises farmers, industry
      representatives and local government representatives from across the
      East Gippsland region.

General Networks

       Agricultural Business Research Institute (ABIR) – University of New
       England Armidale NSW

      Landcare Networks
      Beef Cattle Societies across Australia
      BEEFCHEQUE Groups
      Best Wool/Best Lamb 2010
      BREEDPLAN (Beef Genetics)
      Enviromeat
      GippsDairy
      Grasslands Society of Southern Australia
      Hills 2 Sea - Town & District Community Groups
      Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA)
      Organic Association Australia (OAA)
      Prom Country Bush Foods
      Southern Farming Systems
       Sustainable Grazing Management and Stocking Rate Trial - at Emu
       Park in East Gippsland

      Target 10 groups (Dairy)
      Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF)
      Victorian Organic Dairy Farmers Association (VODFA)
      Warragul Women on Farms (WWOF)


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