Sustainable Farm Planning Workshop Program
Bellingen Shire Council has a long term commitment in assisting landholders to adopt sustainable agricultural practices, recognising importance of our agricultural industries and how they contribute to our community. Council has partnered with Bellingen Landcare to deliver the workshop program, aligned to the NSW Department of Primary Industries Pro Farm Course titled Develop a Whole Farm Plan. The workshops cover topics such as soil health; sustainable grazing horticulture and cropping; management of invasive weeds; protection and enhancement of native vegetation; and development of production plans.
Friesians & Fish - Bellinger River Floodplain and Estuary Water Quality Improvement
A $76,000 grant from the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage Estuary Management Program 2015 for this project allows Council to continue its work with the local dairy industry to improve water quality and contribute to more sustainable farming practices, particularly as Dairies are the dominant land use surrounding the estuary. The project provides matched incentive funding for implementation of priority actions identified in voluntary assessments by eleven dairy farm owners. Project planning and implementation is through a partnership between Bellingen Shire Council, Bellinger Landcare and dairy farmers with support from Local Land Services, Norco Dairy Cooperative, Urunga Anglers and oyster growers.
Local Food Futures
Council supports initiatives to bring fresh local produce to tables throughout the region for the creation of a sustainable local food economy that supports healthy, connected, strong and resilient communities actively caring for each other and their environment. Initiatives include the new Bellingen Shire Local Food Guide and Growers Market Flyer.
Addressing Agricultural Weeds
Weeds reduce farm productivity, invade crops, smother pastures and some can harm livestock. Land and water managers incur material and labour costs to control weeds which are passed on to the Australian public through higher prices for produce, which also are a result of reductions in the quantity and quality of produce. It is estimated that weeds cost Australian farmers around $1.5 billion a year in weed control activities and a further $2.5 billion a year in lost agricultural production. The real cost of weeds to the environment is difficult to calculate, however it is expected that the cost would be similar to, if not greater than, that estimated for agricultural industries.