March Edition
Message from the CEO, Liz Clarke

2021 has been a busy one so far for Soils for Life, including the arrival of two new team members – Kate Taylor and Daniela Carnovale. In late January, I visited the amazing Earth Canvas Exhibition at the Albury Museum Library and was hosted by organiser and regenerative farmer, Gill Sanbrook, at her beautiful property, Bibbaringa.

Our case studies continue with the upcoming release of reports on Colodon in Queensland. We have also refreshed our website and will continue to add new features throughout the year. Also in this newsletter, we take a deeper look at what is happening below ground at Martin Royds’ property, Jillamatong.

Case Study in Profile: Colodan

Located east of the Great Dividing Range in the Rawbelle district, around 260 km west of Bundaberg, Colodan is owned and managed by fourth generation farmers, James and Kylie Henderson. They’ve always taken a forward-thinking and evolving approach to agriculture, however they made big changes to their management and became more ecologically focussed following the devastation of the Millennium Drought during the early 2000s. They have broadened their enterprise mix to include agroforestry, carbon farming as well as cattle production and are reaping the benefits.
The full reports will be out next month, but here’s how James describes his work on Colodan:


What lies beneath? Digging into the soils at Jillamatong

Soils For Life is working hard to build collaborative research partnerships. We want to recognise the incredible work happening to regenerate agricultural landscapes right across Australia as well as support and enable ongoing innovation by landholders. In collaboration with ANU, we headed out to catch up with Martin Royds and Matt Hulse at Jillamatong, Braidwood NSW n helping them to assess and value natural capital and ecosystem services on farms.

Are you a soil health champion?

Do you know someone who is helping to improve soil health in Australia? Perhaps it is you!

The General Jeffery Soil Health Award recognises the efforts of the people who are caring for our land and honours the exceptional work of Australia’s first National Soils Advocate, the late Major General the Honourable Michael Jeffery. The award is open to any individual farmer, land manager, extension specialist or educator who is making an exceptional contribution to soil health in Australia. The winner will be sponsored to attend in person, the National Landcare Awards Gala Dinner where they will receive a trophy and a cash prize of $20,000. Nominations close 31 March.



Artwork competition for kids in the NSW Rangelands

The expansive wide-open spaces of Australia’s rangelands make up majority of our continent. ‘Rangelands Living Skin’ is a new project led by NSW Department of Primary Industries and supported by Meat and Livestock Australia, recognising the importance of productivity and resilience in our rangelands. Collaborating with scientists and farming families, the project will focus on soil, plants, animals and people as the living skin of the rangelands.

To celebrate the launch of this project, we are inviting primary school students in the Western LLS Region to enter the Rangelands Living Skin Artwork Competition and create an artwork that represents the work of the project over the next four years. There are some exciting prizes to be won! Entries will close on the 31st of May and the winners will be announced on the 22nd of June.


Meet the team

Soils For Life are happy to welcome Daniela Carnovale and Kate Taylor to our team.
Daniela is a researcher and project manager with a passion for improving agricultural management to increase soil health and function. She has a particular interest in soils, including soil biology, plant soil interactions, molecular ecology and biochemistry. She is a strong advocate for science communication and education, and believes in collaborative approaches to protecting and regenerating landscapes.
Kate is an Environmental Scientist who has been working in the conservation industry for the past 10 years focused on ecology, natural resource management and threatened species recovery. She has a passion for closing the gap between agriculture and conservation and exploring how regenerative (biological) agriculture can achieve positive outcomes for our environment, society and economy.


New year new look!

The Soils For Life website has recently been refreshed. The look and feel is different, but it’s still got the same goldmine of information about regenerative land management practices and the people who are making them work.


In case you missed it

  • What is regenerative agriculture? "I think a lot of farmers have been on top of many regenerative agriculture practices for a long time," said NSW Farmers president James Jackson in the recent issue of The Farmer Magazine. Read the article that delves into regenag questions with legends like Charles Massy, Terry McCosker and more.
  • Global focus on soil biodiversity: FAO is convening a virtual Global Symposium on Soil Biodiversity The main objective will be to fill some critical knowledge gaps and promote discussion among policy makers, food producers, scientists, practitioners and other stakeholders on solutions to live in harmony with nature, and ultimately, achieve the SDGs through the conservation and sustainable use of soil biodiversity.
  • State of knowledge of soil biodiversity: FAO has also recently released a comprehensive report on the status, challenges and potential of soil biodiversity, drawing on expertise from around the globe. Further evidence of the growing understanding of the importance of soil biology and biodiversity in supporting above ground biodiversity.
  • Groundcover is essential during drought to prevent soil erosion and to store water, and a key step to building resilience in farming enterprises to drought, flood and fire. However, retaining sufficient groundcover is just as important in a normal season as it is in drought. Learn more about how groundcover can help you preserve your capital base in this article from The Land.
  • Where is agriculture today? Hear from RCS Australia as they discuss what regenerative agriculture means to them and the exciting possibilities for the future.
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