The Swayns’ involvement in the WestVic NRM Focus Farm Project has helped them plant shelter belts throughout their property and improve their pasture quality substantially – along with the farm’s appearance.
Their vision for the farm is becoming a reality because of what they are doing through the Focus Farm Project - It’s an all-encompassing project covering trees and shelter belts, soil improvement, fertiliser and effluent management. It’s about making best use of our natural resources and farming smarter.
About Dairying for Tomorrow
The Australian dairy industry is recognised for its proactive approach to environmental management, an approach that is delivering significant outcomes in terms of on-farm change in environmental practices.
The cornerstone of the Australian dairy industry's success in facilitating on-farm change is the industry-led Dairying for Tomorrow (DfT) program, managed by Dairy Australia. The projects and underlying philosophy of DfT actively encourage collaborative partnerships between the dairy industry and catchment managers to set on-farm targets for change that will contribute to healthy catchments and communities.
In recent years projects under Dairying for Tomorrow have changed the way farmers think about their environmental management and changed how the community looks at the role of farming.
The success of Dairying for Tomorrow can be attributed to several factors:
Regional On-farm Change Programs: - Regions have developed or customised industry NRM programs to reflect regional issues and strengths. Programs are based on the DfT learning framework and have the following features; supported change, farmer ownership, collaborative delivery partnerships and high levels of industry and NRM stakeholder support.
Regional Dairying for Tomorrow Coordinators: - The activities of the Dairying for Tomorrow (DfT) coordinators have been critical to the success of Dairying for Tomorrow. Since their appointment in 2005 over 4000 (50%) Australian dairy farmers have participated in natural rsource management and climate chang projects, and of these 85% have made significant changes to their management practices. The DfT coordinators have carried out their work by developing regional NRM projects based on industry needs with input from dairy farmers and a range of stakeholders.
National tools and frameworks: - All industry NRM programs use the dairy environmental self assessment tool, DairySAT as their starting point. DairySAT has been the most successful tool of the DfT program, with respondents routinely rating the region specific information in DairySAT as extremely useful. Other highly regarded DfT tools are the Dairy Greenhouse Abatement Strategies calculator and the Farm Nutrient Loss Index (index.php).
National and regional information sharing networks: - One of the most valuable activities of the Dairying for Tomorrow program has been development and maintenance of industry NRM networks. DfT coordinators and Dairy Australia have worked hard to establish formal and informal relationships with NRM agencies, milk companies, state agencies and other relevant stakeholders.
Participatory research and development programs: - A core requirement for a sustainable industry is the know-how to manage operations in a manner that maximises resource productivity whilst minimising the impact of industry operations on the environment. DfT research programs ensure the relevant science is undertaken to provide rigour to on-farm change and catchment outcomes. Farmer and stakeholder participation is actively encouraged to ensure innovation is captured from farmer through to researchers.