2021 Farming Matters

Videos From Conference

Conference, Tue 30 March 2021

Images, biographies and abstracts from the original program are here

SESSION 1: The Big Picture — Why Farms Matter
Welcome to CountryDr Yalmambirra, Indigenous Studies
Visual Art and the Art of FarmingJenny Bell, Earth Canvas

"Education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire," said the Irish poet WB Yeats, Whenever I am around farmers who consider themselves students of regenerative agriculture I feel this fire. The Earth Canvas project threw me the challenge of working with Michael and Anna Coghlan, and gradually it was revealed that what distinguished their property was what you couldn’t see, what nature was being allowed to do with their stewardship and the forces they were harnessing with their grazing animals.

Reductionist Thinking, Holistic Management and Regenerative AgricultureAllan Savory, Savory Institute

No group of farmers in the world has weathered droughts, fires, bad agricultural policies and financial hard times better than those beginning to manage holistically. No surprise, because almost all that ails us is linked to one underlying cause — reductionist management. Join us in learning from people who are leading the way to a new and truly regenerative agriculture.

Food SecurityDavid Farley, Matrix Commodities

The USA spends ~$1.5T annually on food and $1.9T on healthcare related to poor nutrition (comparison - total USA defence budget is $750b). The current food system created a obesity epidemic, as cheap ultra-processed food increased diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Entrepreneurs can solve real problems by attracting investment and personal capital to redirect into a better food future by marketing sustainable agricultural production.

Land Stewardship Between GenerationsLyn Sykes

Why people on farms matter, especially how they matter in relationships, both business and personal. The potential impact people on farms can have on sustainability, succession gender and the ability to manage any significant change. What the downsides of loving your land might be, particularly in difficult times.

Carbon Farming and Principles of Regenerative AgricultureLorraine Gordon, Regenerative Agriculture Alliance/SCU

Lorraine will talk about the latest initiatives in education and research in regenerative agriculture and carbon farming. She will also share her experience as a farmer independently registered for carbon farming with the ERF including the pitfalls.

SESSION 2: Building Natural Capital — Farm Performance Options
What we Know About Regenerating the Food Production SystemDr Terry McCosker, Resource Consulting Services

The study of genomics and metabolomics in soil biology has given energy flow a whole new meaning. The focus now is — "how do we build photosynthetic capacity?" It is now known that in most agricultural systems, the PC is operating at 10 to 15% of theoretical capacity, but some research sites have gone from 11% to 56% in 7 years, a five-fold increase in dry matter yield. Fortunately carbon is now a tradeable commodity and in many grazing landscapes can double net farm income.

Can Planned Grazing Inprove Production? The Real StoryPeter Richardson, MaiaGrazing

Regenerative agriculture holds the promise of increased production and profitability, while also improving the resilience and capacity of the land. From a dataset accumulating a massive number of grazes, we quantify the business case for increased graze density arising from paddock sub-division and holistic planning. This landmark study uses real data on real farms to trace the actual outcomes achieved across a wide variety of land types, climatic zones and enterprises.

Holistic Management Approaches to Regenerative AgricultureBrian Wehlburg, Inside Outside Management

Holistic Management is of great benefit as we shift the agricultural paradigm and support the revolution towards Regenerative Agriculture. The power of having a Holistic Context to enable you to work out which choices are right for you, your business and your family through this constantly changing scenario will be enormous. Continual monitoring towards your Holistic Context will ensure that you are moving in the right direction as things change and evolve.

Grazing Ecologies in Regenerating Australia’s Natural Capital and Safe FutureWalter Jehne, Regenerate Earth

Australia is aridifying, degrading and burning dangerously. We must rehydrate landscapes by regenerating the Earth’s soil carbon sponge, with perennial pastures and grazing ecologies that re-create our former deep ‘mould’ soils that retain and use most raindrops; by extending the practices of innovative farmers bio-sequestering up to 10 tons of carbon per hectare per annum back into their soils, and by extending ‘Regenerate Australia’ to retain 1 million Giga litres of extra rainwater.

Carbon Farming Made EasyMatthew Warnken, Managing Director, AgriProve

Registering for a soil carbon project under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) with AgriProve, gives you compliance grade carbon credits at no net cost. If we want to make a material difference to climate change by sequestering carbon in soils, we need to change the way we farm, which will only happen if it is easy for landholders to get on board. We’ve spent the last five years talking with farmers to find the best ways to make the system work for them.

PANEL: Building Natural Capital — Farm Performance Options

SESSION 3: Investment in Regenerative Agriculture
On the Ground Investing in Regenerative AgricultureHarry Youngman, Tiverton Investment

Our thesis was to approach the move to regenerative ag in reverse order. We identified the outcomes desired in terms of residual DM, diverse rooting architecture and using sunlight to drive a 'liquid carbon' phenomenon, coupled with whole farm biodiversity. Experiences in soil health, biodiversity and management gave rise to the establishment of Tiverton Ag Impact fund, which was established in 2017 and has grown to more than $100m of assets owned and operated.

On Farm SlaughterChris Balazs, Provenir

Developing a viable market for regeneratively produced products requires a concerted approach to educate consumers as to how their purchasing decisions impact the world they live in. Provenir — Australia's first and only mobile abattoir — has actively sought regenerative farmers to collaborate with to bring the highest welfare beef to Australia.

Carbon Farming and Associated ChallengesLouisa Kiely, Carbon Farmers of Australia

The soil is, as we all know, the largest natural carbon sink that we have. But farmers are not being put at the centre of 'Carbon' or 'Regen Ag' jobs. This conference gives an opportunity to perhaps answer a question now the fires have been so bad: how can the Regen Ag movement assist fire-affected farms to return to better productivity in their recovery? What does Holistic Management offer when one starts from such a blank canvas and why is this important?

Regenerative Agriculture InitiativesThe Hon. Gary Nairn AO, The Mulloon Institute

The Mulloon Institute (TMI) is a not-for-profit research, education and advocacy organisation that actively demonstrates, monitors and shares innovative approaches to regenerative land management. TMI aims to connect environment, farming and society through practical demonstrations at its living laboratory – Mulloon Creek Natural Farms – and beyond. TMI aims to support the regeneration of 100 agricultural landscapes over the next 10 years.

Australian Beef Sustainability FrameworkTess Herbert, RMAC Beef Sustainability Framework Chair

Beef producers need to play a key role in protecting and improving Australia’s Natural Capital, as they manage about half of the nation’s landmass. The Australian Beef Sustainability Framework is demonstrating how beef producers care for the environment and the efforts they’re taking to improve. This will shore up access to markets and financing, meet customers and consumers’ demands, and protect the industry’s social licence to operate.

Catalysing the Protected Habitat Farmers MutualAndrew Ward, Ethical Fields

In his role at Ethical Fields, Andrew is catalysing the Protected Habitat Farmers Mutual. The mutual is a way for farmers to aggregate market power in emerging environmental markets, which in turn can deliver better outcomes for farmers and reduce their transaction costs.

PANEL: Investment in Regenerative Agriculture

SESSION 4: Farmers and Their Own Approaches
Greenham’s Support of Young FarmersJessica Loughland, HW Greenham & Sons

Greenham are ardent supporters of providing opportunities for passionate young people in our industry as a means to advancing Australian agriculture and supporting rural communities. The industry is ever evolving and our future success will be dependent on having a strong pipeline of skilled young people coming through with new perspectives and ideas.

Wanted: Land-Doctors!Chris Henggeler, Kachana WA

(The link is to a page with the full PDF of the presentation.) Without community support it is now too late to effectively address issues like rehydrating landscapes and mitigating the effects of drought, flood and fire. Managing holistically would allow us to do this. Regenerative practices will pave the turn-around, and it appears that Holistic Management is the "Rolls Royce" of the models now on offer.

Family FarmsPeter and Bundle Lawson, Riverina, NSW

We grew up on farms on the south-west slopes of NSW and first did Holistic Management courses individually, fresh out of agricultural college and university, in 1996 and 2001. The HM focus and decision making process has helped us through three children, two family successions, an additional property, two major droughts and a bushfire. Despite doubts and plenty of mistakes, we feel we are still trending in the right direction!

Journey to Holistic ManagementGeorge King, Coombing Park

George took over his family property 'Coombing Park' in 1996, but saw the productive capacity of the property was degraded. Twenty-two years on, using Holistic Management, George is profitably running the property with no permanent staff, while major capital works include a new RFDS spec airstrip, 4,000 head capacity cattle yards, three large sheds and renovations to all the historic buildings.

Ecological Outcome Verification as Fundamental to Regenerative AgricultureTony Hill, Land to Market Australia

How can we know if agriculture is truly regenerative? How can we go beyond a sustainable future, where our problems continue to wound the planet, to a regenerative future, where we heal those wounds? For the first time we have a tool, Ecological Outcome Verification, that can let us monitor and clarify whether farming practices are improving or degrading the health of our landscape.

Conference Dinner: Gabrielle Chan In Conversation with Regenerative Farmers
PANEL: What will Agriculture in Australia Look Like in 2030 and 2050?

Gabrielle Chan with George King, Martin Royds, Rachel Ward and Charlie Arnott.