THE Healthy Hectares North East program gives small rural property owners the knowledge and skills to apply best practice land management principles to their land.
The program kicks off on Sunday, July 24th with information sessions at Myrtleford and Chiltern, which will introduce the topics explored in field days and workshops during the next 12 months.
Conservation and land management educator, Sue Brunskill will introduce key topics – Property Planning, Soil, Livestock, Pest Plants and Animals, Water and Biodiversity, and give an overview of the Healthy Hectares North East program.
The project will explore the fundamental principles and knowledge of sustainable, best-practice land management through face-to-face field days, online workshops and a booklet designed to provide information relevant to North East Victoria.
It is a collaboration between the Wodonga Urban Landcare Network, the Kiewa Catchment Landcare Groups, the Ovens Landcare Network and the Mid Ovens Landcare Consortium with funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.
It adapts the Healthy Hectares program, previously developed by Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority and Euroa Arboretum to the North East region of Victoria and delivers a series of field days for landholders.
Project officer David Thorpe said a feature of the program would be the development of a whole farm plan for each of the participants’ properties, with the help of professional guidance.
“This is a great opportunity for small rural property owners to learn the principles of best practice land management and get help from experts to apply them on their property,’’ Mr Thorpe said.
“Participants will have the chance to work with experts and create a whole farm plan which helps them build that capacity of their property while fulfilling their dreams and aspirations.
“Workshops and field days will be held on small rural properties so it will be a great opportunity for people to network and see how others are managing their properties.
“By attending the information sessions landholders will get a good understanding of how the program works, what they will learn over the next 12 months and how they can apply that new knowledge.”
Past participants Patricia and Martin Hendriks have put the knowledge gained to improve management of their Yackandandah property.
“Taking part in the previous Healthy Hectares program gave us the chance to refresh our knowledge of the principles of best-practice land management,’’ Patricia said.
“Also people with small farms are often doing a range of things and have mixed enterprises, so it was a good way to meet people and to reinforce that you are on the right track.’’
Information session presenter, Sue Brunskill said Healthy Hectares North East was suitable for new property owners but also those who have owned their property for a long time.
“Planning and assessing what you have are a real key for managing your land and this is covered in the first workshop,’’ she said.
“Other topics cover the management of soil, water, pests, pastures and biodiversity and will be presented by specialists in these fields.
“While the course looks at productivity, landholders who are not interested in this will find the course very helpful.’’
To find out more about the project phone Project Officer, David Thorpe on 0400 740 791 or email email@example.com.
Pictures: Conservation and land management educator, Sue Brunskill with past participants Patricia (hat) and Martin Hendriks (correct) on their Yackandandah property.