Conference to meet thirst for biological farming information

Conference to meet thirst for biological farming information

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GET READY: SoilCare board member, Bruno Bertolo, says this year's Australian Biological Farming Conference will feature noted international speakers along with Australian experts addressing the conference theme "science meets nature".

GET READY: SoilCare board member, Bruno Bertolo, says this year's Australian Biological Farming Conference will feature noted international speakers along with Australian experts addressing the conference theme "science meets nature".

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The third Australian Biological Farming Conference is heading to Qld in November.

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THE lack of specialist advice or research on biological farming in Australia is leading to increasing numbers of farmers attending forums like the third Australian Biological Farming Conference to be held later this year.

According to organisers SoilCare, a Landcare group of farmers with special interests in soil health and soil function, biological farming is now firmly on the agenda for a significant minority of Australian farmers.

“The conference is already gaining interest among farmers who want to know more but access to knowledge and information has been difficult in Australia where opportunities are limited,” says conference spokesperson, Bruno Bertolo, SoilCare Board Member and macadamia grower.

It’s the third national biological farming conference and this year is being held on the Gold Coast, November 9 - 12. 

Up to 500 farmers and delegates are expected, up from 360 in 2015 and 465 in 2016.

“ We are fortunate to have some noted international speakers along with Australian experts addressing the conference theme ‘science meets nature’. Importantly the speakers will also include farmers who will present case studies from their own successful implementation of biological farming practices,” Mr Bertolo said. 

Speakers include:

  • Michael Philips, of Lost Nation Orchard, New Hampshire, USA: Michael Phillips is a farmer, writer, and orchard consultant who grows apples and a variety of medicinal herbs. In his latest book Mycorrhizal Planet: How Fungi and Plants Work Together to Create Dynamic Soils, Phillips explores the complex science of the world beneath our feet in layman’s terms - offering insight into how to make plants and their fungal partners prosper.
  • Jeff Moyer of Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania, USA: Jeff is a world renowned authority in biological and organic agriculture. His expertise includes organic crop production systems with a focus on weed management, cover crops, crop rotations, equipment modification and use, and facilities design. In 2011, he wrote Organic No-Till Farming, a publication that has become a resource for farmers throughout the world.
  • Professor Carlo Leifert - Director, Centre for Organics Research at Southern Cross University: Professor Carlo Leifert was previously Director of the Nafferton Ecological Farming Group at Newcastle University in England. He has wide experience as a course director, establishing courses in organic farming and food production systems and sustainable farming and food security.
  • Rob Hinrichsen of Kalfresh: Kalfresh one of the biggest vegetable farming operations in Qld. He will be speaking about how they focussed on controlled traffic farming, the use of compost and biological fertilisers, cover crops and integrated pest management  to improve soil health and farm productivity.
  • Nick Kelly, broadacre farmer from Western Australia: His weather resilient farming system is enhancing soil health, sequestering carbon, reducing erosion, increasing moisture retention, reducing chemical use and improving crop yields.

Professor Leifert is also the newly appointed director of the new Centre for Organics Research at Southern Cross University.

The Centre will be hosting the conference at the university’s Gold Coast campus.

“The opening of the research centre into organics is in itself a great step forward in Australia into better understanding the science of nature when it comes to improving productivity without the use of chemicals,” Mr Bertolo said.

Early bird bookings for the conference are only $330 for the full conference until July 31. After that the fee is $440.

More information about the conference can be found at the conference website: www.australianbiologicalfarmingconference.org/

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