Have you seen this?
Yes, it’s by Unilever. Yes, you’re entitled to be cynical and yes, I love it.
The global manufacturer and ice-cream maker has just accredited Australian dairy production as meeting its Sustainable Agriculture Code – a huge accomplishment, which is also a world first. Of course it doesn’t mean Australian dairying is perfect and Dairy Australia has published a Sustainability Framework that will nudge us all to do better.
Here on the farm, our family does a bite-sized project for the environment every year. We have:
When I say “our family”, I have to stress that we haven’t been able to do all this without help. Grants from Landcare, Greening Australia and the Wellington Shire, work by the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority, together with the hard yakka of volunteers from the Victorian Mobile Landcare Group and some of our friends have made the tree planting possible.
It just goes to show what we can do when everyone pulls together.
If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a country to take care of its land.
Our family has set a target of planting at least 1000 trees on our dairy farm every year but we’ve only been able to do it with a lot of help.
- Greening Australia helped me develop a whole farm plan and funded the refencing of 11ha of remnant vegetation plus 800 trees that our friends helped us to plant.
- Our local Landcare group provided a good chunk of the funding for fencing off and revegetating a wetland that volunteers from the Victorian Mobile Landcare Group came down from the city and planted with us.
- The West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority funded kilometres of fencing and thousands of trees along the gully and anabranch, plus connecting wildlife corridors.
- Again, the volunteers from the Victorian Mobile Landcare Group came and planted 1200 trees for us last year.
- The Wellington Shire Council funded the planting of trees along the roadside bounding our farm a year ago and has funded more work in the wetland this year.
We are so, so grateful for all this help. Revegetation is an expensive affair that involves a lot of planning and hard yakka. It’s so worthwhile! This is one of the trees planted by Bruce, Chris and David of the VMLG last October.
The trees will provide wildlife habitats, help to keep the water table healthy, protect our rivers and the ocean and make a small contribution to reducing carbon pollution. They will also make our cows more comfortable in unpleasant weather and enhance the beauty of our landscapes.
With all this in mind, it was a relief to hear that the doomsayers’ predictions of funding cuts to the chief national environmental program, Caring for Our Country, that helps to fund all this work failed to materialise in the federal budget. There are unwelcome cuts (on top of previous cuts) but it is still here.