Phytophthora dieback poses a significant threat to the Australian environment. This introduced plant pathogen spreads easily, causing disease, death and potential extinction in susceptible plants and the loss of habitat for native animals. It poses a major threat to over 40 per cent of the native flora in Western Australia, particularly in the South-West regional area. Justin Bellanger, from the South Coast Natural Resource Management agency recently spoke to FDI, outlining the extent of the disease, its impacts and the work his organisation is doing in dealing with the problem.
Recent catastrophic bushfires on the east coast of Australia have forced many Australians to question the sustainability of a lifestyle that has been both cherished and taken for granted. The prospects, however, may not be as bleak as some sources predict. Chris Ferreira of the Forever Project, an organisation dedicated to protecting our environment for a sustainable, happy and prosperous future, maintains that a key consideration for dealing with future bushfires, is to inspire and empower members of fire-affected communities to be better prepared.
FDI has taken the opportunity to again interview Doug Pow, a cattle breeder and avocado farmer from Manjimup in Western Australia’s South-West. The interview identifies and discusses a range of positive outcomes achieved by incorporating regenerative agricultural practices while retaining greater flexibility than full organic certification. He also discusses his use of biochar.
An increasing number of Western Australian grain producers are committing to farming methods that avoid the use of extensive tillage and synthetic chemicals. One such producer is Nick Kelly of Hollands Track Farm near Newdegate in southern WA. Over the last two decades, Nick has focused on nurturing soil health by building and maintaining soil organic material to promote biological activity in his soils.
Suicide in Rural and Remote Australia: Mental Health Strategies cannot effectively Operate in Isolation
The incidence of suicide among people located in Australia’s rural and remote regions is increasing. Alarmingly, suicide rates of young Indigenous males are far in excess of the national average. National and State governments need to work together to implement the policies and strategies that have already been identified to address the unfortunate and disturbing trend that is gaining national prominence.
The health of our agricultural soils is declining caused by salinity, acidity and other factors. West Australian farmers, with support from government, are working hard to improve their soil and land management practices to ensure their ability to be able to produce the food needed to feed our future population.
While large multinational corporations traditionally dominate the field of corporate social responsibility, there is significant potential for small- to medium-sized Australian businesses to benefit their local communities by adopting effective corporate social responsibility practices. Indeed, many such businesses unknowingly already conduct programmes aligned to community support; formalising these practices can have significant positive effects for both the practising business and the community.
Opportunities exist for Australian farmers to develop and expand their farm business operations, with the objective of producing healthy and safe food for domestic and international markets. Key factors that will influence their business development will be incorporating both current and future technology in combination with automated food products, packaging and distribution systems.
The Honourable Jim Chown MLC, Member for Agricultural Region; Shadow Minister for Agriculture & Food; Regional Development; Royalties for Regions; Fisheries
The farming industry in Western Australia plays a major role in feeding the State’s growing population and that of the rest of the country. If our farmers are to continue to be able to meet the future demand for healthy and nutritious food, investment in diverse agricultural research and development programmes will be required.
The implementation of recommendations made in recent government reports would facilitate more effective firefighting and fire management, which could help to significantly reduce the disastrous effects of bushfires on Australian communities.