New government grant for the Australian Agroforestry Foundation
Foundation receives grant to help farmers explore agroforestry
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Agriculture, Senator Richard Colbeck, today announced the Australian Agroforestry Foundation will receive up to $770,000 for a project to stimulate investment in revegetation and tree management on farms.
The foundation is a national not-for-profit company that was recently formed to take over the responsibility for the Australian Master TreeGrower program, the Australian Agroforestry magazine and the national roll out of the Peer Group Mentoring extension initiative developed by the Otway Agroforestry Network. Those involved in the foundation include Rowan Reid (Vic), Richard Moore (WA), Annabel Kater (NSW) and some of the leaders of the Otway Agroforestry Network (Vic).
“The Master TreeGrower and Peer Group Mentoring project will give farmers access to practical science-based knowledge, credible information networks and guidance. The project aims to result in more trees being planted and managed on farms,” Senator Colbeck said.
“The benefits of this project are vast and include reducing land degradation, improving off-site water quality, increasing carbon sequestration.”
Senator Colbeck said the project also had the potential to increase and diversify farm income from the sale of native foods, timber, biofuels, tree seed, flowers, honey and essential oils as well as re-establishing habitat for native birds, animals and insects.
Senator Colbeck said projects were being funded around the country as part of the Australian Government’s $21.2 million Innovation Grants.
“We’re thrilled that the new government has recognised the importance of continuing, and expanding the work of the Otway Agroforestry Network and the Australian Master TreeGrower Program”, said Rowan Reid, the Managing Director of the not-for profit Australian Agroforestry Foundation.
Using the innovative models developed over 20 years the Foundation will stimulate investment in revegetation and tree management on farms for the reasons that are important to farmers and their communities.
“This funding will include a series of Australian Master TreeGrower courses that will be run in regional areas around Australia including Victoria, New South Wales and Western Australia,” said Rowan.
The Australian Master TreeGrower Program (MTG) was established by Rowan in 1996 (when a lecturer at The University of Melbourne). Since then, more than 100 regional courses have been conducted across all states and territories involving over 2000 land managers and more than 40 partner organisations. In 2000 the program was awarded the Eureka Prize for Excellence in Environmental Education and in 2013 Rowan led a team to Uganda to run the first international MTG course.
“We will also provide training and support to regional Landcare groups so that they can trial the Peer Group Mentoring concept in their own region,” said Rowan.
The Peer Group Mentoring (PGM) concept was developed by the Otway Agroforestry Network as follow-up for their MTG courses. It involves training farmers, then paying them to work with other landholders in their own region as they design and implement agroforestry projects of their own. The OAN has conducted over 300 site visits and has 25 mentors working regularly with more than 100 farmers.
“In the Otway region we have clearly demonstrated that involving farmers in the design and management of vegetation on their own land leads to a mix of trees and farming that supports, rather than displaces, rural communities,” said Rowan.
Integrating multipurpose trees and shrubs into farming systems will benefit farmers by improving environmental management, protecting and enhancing agricultural production and the potential to provide a variety of tree products from the plantings for diversified farm income. The biodiverse landscapes sequester more carbon and provide improved water quality and habitat for birds and other wildlife including pollinators. With products from agroforestry there is the potential to develop new industries whilst maintaining or increasing the level of traditional farm produce.
What is Agroforestry?
For me, agroforestry is the integration of trees and shrubs into farming landscapes for conservation and profit. It's all about farmers using trees to improve the environmental, social and economic values of their land. I've been working with Australian farmers for more than 30 years. From the wheatbelt of Western Australia to the Atherton Tablelands in North Queensland I don't think I've ever seen a farm that would not benefit from more tree cover or better forest management.
Welcome to my agroforestry website. After more than 20 years working as a lecturer in agroforestry and farm forestry at The University of Melbourne I'm now freelancing. I maintain my role as coordinator of the Australian Master TreeGrower Program and as volunteer editor of the Australian Agroforestry magazine. I will even be still teaching my Agroforestry subject at Melbourne University (see link below).
This web site presents information, ideas, opinion and research that I think might be of interest to Australian farmers and those who work with them. You can download my own publications, read practical information on tree species and management, take a virtual tour of our own Bambra Agroforestry Farm and watch videos on harvesting, integrating trees into farming systems and shiitake production.
I'm happy to try and answer your email questions at no charge (go to Ask Rowan). I am also available for speaking engagements, field days, consultancies and can organise tours of my property and other leading agroforestry farms around Australia. For those in the many agencies working with farmers I can also organise and run workshops and courses that reflect your needs.
I hope you find the site useful.
Thanks for your interest, Rowan More about Rowan Reid
Looking for past Master TreeGrowers and other tree growers
Have you completed one of the 90 or so Master TreeGrower courses I have run around Australia since 1996? I would like to stay in contact thrugh email. I send out an irregular/non-commercial email to more than 600 recipients with information about events, the Australian Agroforstry Magazine and Master TreeGrower courses and seminars.
If you want to join please send me you email address: Rowan
BOOK SALE: Agroforestry for Natural Resource Management by Ian Nuberg, Brendan George and Rowan Reid
Published by CSIRO publishing and written by more than 20 contributing authors. This 350 page book covers everything from salinity to sawlogs and economics to aesthetics.
The Australian Master TreeGrower Program has copies available at a discounted price of $75 (includes postage) as a special offer until our stocks run down (usually $80 plus postage). Email Rowan for details on how to get your copy.
Western Australian Master TreeGrower course
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