When l look across the hay paddock l count up the number of bales and wonder will this be enough to get us through the winter. (After the 2003 drought we will never really feel sure that there is enough feed.) Should we cut another paddock? Will the new phalaris hold up to this punishing routine? Balancing long-term goals against short-term issues, it’s a farmer’s management dilemma. What I’m sure of is that our farm/environment is not an open cut quarry. We can’t keep taking things out and without putting something back.
As participants in the North East EMS Pilot programme we identified goals to improving our environmental management practices. At our review two weeks ago, we experienced a great feeling of achievement. We have established another 50 hectares of perennial pasture, got the empty spray drums to Drum Muster and meet all our soil and plant health monitoring targets.
But being involved in EMS is about so much more than just our farm; it’s about involving everyone. The pilot allowed us to link up with other producers interested in documenting and improving their environmental practice. We may not have been as diligent with out their support. Arguing the possibilities of market advantage for EMS accredited product has been thought provoking and begs the question for
EMS pilot participants of; where to now?
We will continue to monitor and review, balancing our management goals against maintaining and improving the environment. EMS may help us maintain market access in the future. We may even attract a deserved premium for a product that is clean and green. In the mean time we will have put something back to ensure a long-term future for our farm and the global environment.
(One of the 100 farms in the pilot program conducted by a partnership of North Central, North East & Glenelg Hopkins Catchment Management Authorities in Victoria, and funded by the Australian Government through its EMS National Pilot Programs)