Agriculture contributes strongly to the South Coast region’s economy and primary production is one of the most diverse agricultural sectors in Western Australia. Sustainable farming practices are critical to meeting the changing environmental, social and economic conditions. Farmers are diversifying into a range of business opportunities and production including livestock, poultry, grain, viticulture, horticulture, small crops, farm forestry, orchards and other small scale but highly profitable niche sectors.
Sustainability means something different for every land manager and depends on many factors related to location, topography, land use and climate.
At the farm level, the current focus is on improving soil health and tackling the threats from soil acidity, salinity, water repellence, wind erosion, groundwater issues and to increase soil organic carbon levels. The team are also working on the impact of climate change to farm businesses, feral animal control, water quality and food innovation.
South Coast NRM’s priority areas are:-
- soil health
- integrated farm planning for natural resource management
- adapting to climate change
- meeting market demands for provenance
- marginal land management
- sustainable regional fisheries management
- critical fencing projects to restore and protect natural resources and biodiversity
- increasing best practice management, technical knowledge and skills of all land managers.
Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators
South Coast NRM is the regional hub for transferring sustainable agriculture knowledge and experience to the community. We are working with landholders to increase the awareness and adoption of best practice land management to protect and enhance our region’s soils, biodiversity and vegetation.
Our Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators (RALF) are helping agricultural enterprises increase the quality of their land, while becoming more agile in responding to challenges from climate change and market fluctuations. They promote Landcare principles to assist farmers to incorporate ecosystem services into their production strategies to increase profitability, improve soil health and to preserve biodiversity.
RALF staff work one-on-one with farmers on issues specific to their land and activity and also provide a range of regional engagement events including workshops, on-farm demonstrations, field days and group learning opportunities. Their knowledge and experience are also assisting farmers in niche agricultural markets and meeting the increasing demands for proof of the sustainable production of high quality, safe agricultural products.
Climate Action Farming
Climate Action Farming aims to provide the South Coast community with resources to help understand climate predictions for the region, how they might impact farming enterprises and what farmers can do to manage the risk. The website includes case studies and short films about practices to maximise soil carbon and improve farm profitability.
The website is also an information portal to learn about addressing soil acidity in the landscape. Access current information relating to the importance of testing your lime, application and research on ameliorating soil acidity. This component is funded by the Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission and the Western Australian Government.
Land for Wildlife