Aussie farmers up for Landcare gong

20th July 2021 | Eativity editors

A Moree landholder and a Longreach cattle producer are among the nominees for the 2020 Bob Hawke Landcare Award, a prestigious accolade which recognises an individual who actively pursues, introduces and develops innovative farming systems to improve productivity, profitability, sustainability and the quality of our natural resources.

Sixteen years after buying their Gravesend property on the North West Slopes, 50kms outside Moree, NSW, nominee Justin Kirkby and his wife Lorroi of Amarula Dorpers have revitalised their land, which once featured rundown cropping blocks with scarce groundcover and poor nutritional grasses. Now, the Dorper sheep farmers have decreased their farm’s carbon footprint with the revegetation of up to 20 percent of the property, with native tree species specific to the region. Planting trees and fodder shrubs has added to wildlife corridors and bio-link habitats for insects and birds to work as one in the ecosystem with their Kirkby’s innovative farming practices.

Justin and Lorroi Kirkby are developing the Dorper sheep as a sustainable meat breed for Australia.

Nominee James Walker and his family operate Camden Park Station, a 20,000-acre organic, global animal partnership accredited cattle station in Longreach, Qld. The Walkers have focused on tackling land degradation, carbon emissions and climate change.

Actively researching ways of improving the environmental, financial and production performance of his property, Walker has addressed emissions through an off-grid solution for the power supply on his property and created the Agrihive Farmecco digital platform to help other farmers understand and implement sustainable Landcare goals. Camden Park has completed extensive water developments, and Walker has also initiated and executed a large-scale solar farm to help with viability during drought.

James Walker has also developed an innovative “floating lease” to reflect seasonal conditions.

The Bob Hawke Landcare Award publicly recognises an individual involved in championing Landcare Australia – a community not-for-profit organisation which involves local groups of volunteers repairing the natural environment – and inspiring others to take action on their own property or through a Landcare group. It also acknowledges a person’s leadership and commitment to landcare, natural resource management and sustainable agriculture.

Landcare Australia CEO Dr Shane Norrish says that an overwhelming number of people were nominated for the award this year.

“We received very strong nominations from across the country, demonstrating that there is a strong interest to be recognised for this distinguished accolade,” he says.

The winner of the Bob Hawke Landcare Award will be announced at the virtual 2021 National Landcare Awards gala dinner on Thursday, August 5. The award recipient will be awarded a prize package of $50,000 for further development of their knowledge and skills in sustainable land management to enable an even stronger contribution to Landcare.

For more about the Bob Hawke Landcare Award, head to bobhawkelandcareaward.com.au. To find a Landcare group you can volunteer with, head to landcareaustralia.org.au