Last week James and I had the pleasure of attending a Certified Land Management workshop. Our local South Gippsland Landcare Network, run in conjunction with the Australian Land Management Group, set this up. We would like to thank Jenny, Tony and Darren for making this both possible and enjoyable to attend (not to mention letting us sneak out on the first day so we could go and get our escaped highlands back from the neighbors property!).
The CLM process aims to help producers improve their productivity, environmental performance and support for biodiversity conservation within an internationally recognised system. Ultimately it provides recognition for landholders who are achieving and continually improving on these goals. James and I felt this was important to us as we want to be responsible stewards of the land. We both believe that there is a place for farming and biodiversity to live side by side.
Our group was made up of local producers from Southern Gippsland. There was a diverse range of enterprises from pigs to deer, sheep and beef as well as an array of experience with Environmental Management Systems. For James and I we were just starting out with our experience in EMS. The course was excellent and we found it thoroughly beneficial. For example; we knew many of the impacts our typical farming practices may result in, but the system allowed us to assess the risk of each and prioritise which of these presented the greatest threat to the farm productivity and environment. This has assisted us in identifying which areas we need to work on first.
For our farm the introduction of a grazing system and control of the weeds were top of the list and the well-structured CLM starter course guided us through developing action plans to address these. In addition we also developed a plan for animal welfare that centered on yard design and minimising stress in the cattle as they are run through the yards. The plans developed will later become our assessment criteria for the certification during an audit due in 6 months time. I will look forward to updating on each of these topics individually, as well as how we do on the audit.
Our final task for the workshop was to develop a set of environmental objectives. These are policies and goals that we stand by, which address our commitment to improving environmental performance. We would like to share ours with you now and will also make this available on our About Us page.
Scorrybreck Farm Statement of Environmental Objectives.
Protection of the natural environment is at the core of our business alongside agricultural productivity and profitability. We endeavour to achieve this through maintaining and improving the biodiversity of flora and fauna across the farm. Scorrybreck Farm is also committed to protecting waterways and reducing erosion on the property. As part of our commitment to protecting the natural environment we are also striving to reduce the impact of feral animals and weeds within the property bounds.
Scorrybreck Farm will make use of industry best practice in order to comply with our environmental objectives. Policies and procedures will be developed that take into account local and regional priorities as well as complying with all Commonwealth and Victorian legal and regulatory requirements. Our staff, contractors and visitors are also required to comply with these objectives and adhere to any policies and/or procedures developed to ensure environmental objectives are met. We will measure our performance against our objectives and submit our processes and results to external audit.
We met some fantastic people on the course and will be looking forward to meeting again as a group to discuss our progress towards a certified status. The brains behind the concept – Tony Gleeson was passionate about promoting CLM and we wish him the best of luck and hope more farmers join in to create a sustainable network Australia-wide.