Producers drive Reef project

Graziers the 'backbone' of Reef project


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In this week's NQ Dry Tropics column, DAF's Brigid Nelson explains how graziers have helped form the backbone of the Landholders Driving Change project.

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Brigid Nelson, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).

Brigid Nelson, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF).

Landholders Driving Change is a multimillion dollar natural resource management project that is being managed by NQ Dry Tropics, with funding through the Queensland Government’s Reef Water Quality Program.

I’m a member of the project panel for the project, which has been providing input into the project design alongside graziers, technical specialists and scientists.

It has been really pleasing to see such strong commitment from the beef industry and the organisations involved to design the project around the ideas, needs, and advice provided by local graziers. The project management team has done a great job of ensuring that everyone contributing to the design is working on bringing the graziers’ ideas to life.

Four grazier meetings have been held this year with representation from 37 grazing properties from within the Bowen, Broken, Bogie (BBB) area.

There are four local beef producers on the project panel and they have done a great job expressing the views of the grazing community and have been working with scientists, extension officers, and project design specialists to find ways to combine graziers’ knowledge with science and innovation.

The ideas and aspirations that were put forward at the grazier meetings have been used as the backbone to the project’s design. One thing that the beef producers are passionate about is that the project needs to include ALL land managers in the BBB to work together on addressing the causes of soil loss, it’s not just up to graziers.

One of the key aims of the project is adoption and implementation of industry best practice. Some of the components that have been put forward include support to improve land managers’ skills and knowledge, peer-to-peer networks, property planning, technical advice, producer groups, demonstrations of practices and technologies on-property, and rewards and recognition for good land management practice.

The ideas and aspirations that were put forward at the grazier meetings have been used as the backbone to the project’s design.

It’s also about implementing and evaluating a range of innovative tools and approaches. And if the project goes well, similar approaches may be funded for other catchments.

One thing that everyone agrees on is that this project needs to bring about enduring change.  At the end of the day, we are all working together to bring about sustainable, profitable and productive land and cattle management to reduce sediment and nutrient runoff.

- FutureBeef Regional Coordinator Brigid Nelson leads the DAF Grazing BMP team in the Burdekin and has been working with beef producers for more than 15 years. In that time she has been involved in the implementation of many large extension delivery programs in north Queensland including FutureBeef, producer demonstration sites, MLA’s EDGE Workshops, StockTake and the current Grazing BMP program.

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