Northern Tablelands Local Land Services is equipping landholders and the community with the knowledge and skills to make sound management decisions to boost landscape health and farm profits.
It works to a strategic plan that delivers state-wide goals that have been localised to be relevant to Northern Tablelands producers and community.
The strategic plan is realistic but ambitious with a current focus on building a network of technically skilled people able to help farmers make the right business decisions. We are developing projects to drive innovation and the adoption of new technology on farm.
What sets your organisationapart from others in your sector?
LLS delivers independent advice and information about agriculture, biosecurity, natural resources, and emergency management. We are not influenced by commercial gain but by the needs and expectations of ratepayers and the broader community. LLS is an excellent conduit of practical and relevant decision-making tools with solid links and open lines of communication between landholders, industry and government.
Northern Tablelands LLS is here for agriculture – we are here for the environment – most of all, we are here for people in rural communities. We are here when it matters in times of natural disaster, drought, flood or bushfire and vigilant in protecting our livestock industries from pest and disease.
What opportunities are available for farmers today?
As the number one beef producing region in NSW, the Northern Tablelands has a high number of processors, including feedlots, abattoirs, online livestock marketing companies and seedstock breeders, making it an ideal region to forge stronger links between producers and processors. Northern Tablelands LLS is collaborating with processors in an innovative approach to connect with producers to meet market specifications and increase profit.
Climate change predictions for the Northern Tablelands indicate warmer minimum and maximum temperatures and a more variable rainfall pattern with increased rainfall intensity. The Northern Tablelands LLS is delivering programs to help farms to be “climate ready” – to boost soil health, maintain groundcover and pasture diversity, increase native vegetation on farms and improve water quality. It makes good sense to look after the natural resource base on your farm for long-term profitability. After all, it is the natural resource base that balances a healthy landscape with fattening livestock and producing crops on the Northern Tablelands.
Implementation of digital agriculture practices in Australia would boost the value of agriculture by 25 per cent and lift the Australian economy by 1.5pc (Australian Farm Institute, 2017), yet few producers are adopting these modern technologies. We are working with farmers and technology developers to increase understanding and adoption of new technology in the livestock sector to support farmers to make climate related management decisions.
What can government or industry bodies do to attract investment in remote, rural and regional areas?
Local Land Services has delivered investment in the Northern Tablelands region over the past four years and will continue to seek investment so the region thrives. In the past year alone Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, with funding from industry, the Australian and NSW governments, invested more than $1.216 million in projects designed and delivered by our team and partners to balance agricultural productivity and landscape health.
The most rewarding aspect of this investment is the value our landholder partners place on improving the natural resource base on their farms. Participating landholders invested a total of $1.335m of their resources to contribute to balancing a healthy landscape with farm productivity.
Any other success stories you wish to share?
The Northern Tablelands LLS Ladies in Livestock program is growing the resilience of rural people, growing agriculture and industry and growing the health and wellbeing of rural women.
Women are taking the wheel with both hands when it comes to self-empowerment and education on-farm with the expansion of the Ladies in Livestock program.
The program, funded through the Australian government’s National Landcare Programme, delivers hands-on, practical skills to women as independent land stewards with a keen interest in agriculture, to work and make decisions on properties.
Launched in September 2016 the first Guyra-based meeting drew women from across the region. Topics range widely from animal health and management, marketing options, financial planning, paddock preparation, pasture selection and identification, weed identification and biosecurity management. The program provides a supportive learning space for women who may feel less inclined to ask technical questions during mixed field days or workshops.
New Ladies in Livestock groups are now flourishing in Inverell, Tenterfield, and Walcha. There are now about 150 women registered in the program.