Australian Farmers embrace Landcare, but call for innovation.

The results of a recent national Landcare survey demonstrate a movement that is firmly embedded in teh culture of Australian farming, with a staggering 93% of those surveyed saying that they practiced Landcare on their farms, and 73% saying they feel they are part of Landcare.

In a preliminary release of the results National Landcare Facilitator, Brett de Hayr, says that the results convey a powerful message and provides further proof that the Landcare movement has proven its longevity.  “The results of this survey reflect a remarkable cultural shift that has occurred in the Australian farming community since the inception of Landcare across the country in the late 1980’s,” he said.

“These figures are significant and run counter to the view in some areas that farmers are not supportive of issues relating to the environment. The growth of Landcare over the last two decades has clearly shown that a healthy environment and sustainable agriculture are not mutually exclusive.”

Farmers surveyed also pointed out that the value of Landcare extends beyond the benefits to our natural environment to the social fabric of their communities, with 61% saying that Landcare plays an important role in building social capacity in the local community.

Respondents also indicated that the job for Landcare is not over and it is part of the solution to a new generation of challenges. 95% of farmers indicated that Landcare has not ‘had its day’, yet 79% believe the movement needs to evolve to meet the challenges of the future, and 80% see the movement as having a major role in responding to national challenges such as food security, environment and climate adaptation.

“This is a clear message that while Landcare has become incorporated into the culture of Australian agriculture, that the movement, like Australian farmers, will need to adapt what it does and how it does it in light of changing issues, technologies and changes in society,” said Mr de Hayr.

“It is a testament to the hard work of all of those involved in Landcare since its inception -governments, industry and environmental organisations, Landcare groups and individual farmers – that successive generations of Australian farmers have since adopted the ethic of Landcare so it is now firmly entrenched in the cultural of Australian agriculture,” he added .

Mr de Hayr also said that “Landcare is now firmly embedded within the Australian farming community and has grown into a movement which is made up of many organisations, local groups and farmers across the country, in addition to the Landcare movement in coastal, urban, peri-urban areas, indigenous groups and Junior Landcare in schools.”

This positive note for further innovation and evolution within the Landcare movement was a key message from the survey and will be further explored when the full results of the survey are released during the National Landcare Conference during Landcare Week in Sydney on the 3-5 of September. For more information on the National Landcare Conference, please visit www.daff.gov.au/landcareconference

The National Landcare Facilitator Program is an initiative of the Australian Government under the Caring for our Country Program through the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

For more information, please contact:
Brett de Hayr
National Landcare Facilitator
E-mail: brettdehayr@landcarefacilitator.com
Tel: 0457 750 815
About the survey
The Health of the Landcare Movement survey was conducted by the National Landcare Facilitator and included phone surveys of farmers across the country as well as internet surveys targeting the views of individual farmers and Landcare and related groups. The survey was aimed at gauging the health of the Landcare movement, in particular Landcare and related groups, and the attitude of farmers towards Landcare.