Last week, over 140 people travelled to Cowra from around the region to attend the “Biodiversity Pays” Forum hosted by the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority and the Cowra NRM Advisory Committee.
Venturing out in the terrible weather conditions proved worthwhile. Attendees were treated to world class speakers on the topic of Biodiversity on Farms and the production, financial and biological benefits of improving biodiversity.
“Farmers want to improve the productivity of their land while also improving its resilience for future generations. Increasing biodiversity can do both of these. We wanted to provide the forum to discuss this and how it can be done”, said Gus Arnott, Project Manager with the Lachlan CMA and one of the organisers of the Forum.
The Forum, facilitated by Mr Robyn Williams presenter of Radio Nationals Science Show, showcased biodiversity trends and activities that are leading to increased profitability within farming systems. World class experts and practicing land stewardship champions where included in the speaker line up and attendees appreciated the opportunity to ask plenty of questions relating to their own situation.
Professor David Lindenmayer, from the ANU Fenner School of Environment and Society, spoke about the research his team has done and how best to integrate farm production and biodiversity on farms. Through their monitoring program they now have significant data to support the success of interventions such as the Box Gum Grassy Woodland Stewardship Program. These programs are not only improving the biodiversity on farms but are also showing an upward trend in the diversity of species.
The attendees valued the practical knowledge of a number of farmers who are already focused on improving biodiversity on their farms. These farmers included the 2011 “Carbon Cocky” Cameron McKellar from “Iverarary Downs” at Spring Ridge. A 1300ha biological farming operation that within three years has reduced inputs by a third and seen an increase in yields.
Many interesting and successful examples of how biodiversity is seeing results on farms across the district were showcased and discussed. These included; Dick Richardson of “Hanaminno” Boorowa, Barry Gay of “Euralie” Woodstock, Gus Hickman of “Talinga” Woodstock, Edward Fagan of “Mulyan” Cowra, and Rob and Mark Pearce of “Ruer” Canowindra.
Other topics that were covered included, the affect of biodiversity on property values, improving market access by improving biodiversity, balancing biodiversity and production and funding opportunities to assist with improving biodiversity farms.
More information about improving biodiversity on your farm can be obtained by contacting the Lachlan CMA on 1800 885747.