Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) representative Pat Dwyer, Wagin farmer Xavier White, National Landcare facilitator Mike Grasby and Wagin Woodanilling Landcare Zone’s Danielle Perrie at a well-established patch of perennial tall wheat grass.THE shires of Katanning, Dumbleyung, Wagin and Woodanilling have been visited by representatives of the Federal Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) Caring for Our Country program this week to get a feel for the work being done by local landcare groups and landholders.
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The representatives flew from Canberra this week to visit a range of projects funded under the program including the several projects under the 2010-11 Community Action Grants as well as the Increasing the Uptake of Technology to Improve Soil Condition funded under the Sustainable Agricultural open call.

Christine Aughey from the Australian Government Land and Coasts Grants Services visited sites in Katanning, Dumbleyung and Woodanilling looking at projects supported by Dumbleyung Landcare Zone, Katanning LCDC and the Bugs & Biology Group.

Excluding Stock to Improve Biodiversity is one being implemented by Katanning LCDC and local farmers included fencing and revegetation.

Katanning District Landcare officer Marianne Perrie was thrilled to show Ms Aughey around.

“It was pleasing to see that the Australian government had sent someone to have a look at what we get up to around here,” she said.

“Christine was not here in any auditing capacity, but more just to familiarise herself on site with the issues that we face daily in our landscape and take messages back to Canberra about our local priorities.”

National Landcare facilitator Mike Grasby and Pat Dwyer of the WA team visited two sites and landholders that were part of the soils project which offered 30 landholders across the Upper Blackwood EM mapping support, deep soil testing, membership to Evergreen and technical site advice from Evergreen as well as some funding to implement practices to improve soil condition.

The activities undertaken included 209 hectares of perennial pasture establishment, 236 hectares of liming and gypsum, 10 kilometres of fencing, 10,000 saltbush and some other trial soil improvers such as Lure H2o.

Among the sites they were able to see high success rates and vitality of the seedlings and perennials that were planted throughout the 2011 season.

One local farmer who has been involved in landcare projects for most of his life said it was the summer rains that made the difference.

“I have never seen one-year-old seedlings look so good,” he said.

“We are a very active area with high interest in sustainable agricultural programs,” Cara Badger from the Dumbleyung Landcare Zone said.

“It’s great to showcase the results of what this kind of funding can achieve on the ground.”

For more information on funding opportunities and results of the current projects call local landcare offices: Wagin on 9861 2222, Katanning on 9821 4327 or Dumbleyung on 9863 4225.

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