PETER Weston, an innovative Nymagee farmer who has fought a long battle to convince politicians, bureaucrats and researchers about the value of removing thick pine regrowth and invasive woody weeds from outback NSW properties, has been awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
Mr Weston and his family turned their farming aggregation based at "Yalgo" in the Nyngan region into a productive and sustainable farming showplace with the help a bulldozer, good fencing, improved pasture and sound livestock management.
He started to sow pastures for stock which proved a major success in an arid part of the State that was not considered suitable for crops.
Mr Weston and other Nyngan farmers butted heads with the Carr government and its green "police" who wanted to stop the clearing of native vegetation even though the likes of Mr Weston starkly showed them the folly of locking up the Western Division and leaving regrowth, which had sprung up due to previous over stocking and rabbits, to take over.
Some of the unwanted side effects of this policy included serious erosion.
He was a supporter of the views of legendary Western Lands Commisissioner, the late Dick Condon, who warned that locking up the Western Division would turn it into a sterile wasteland.
"You have to manage the landscape to make it function properly," Mr Weston said.
He has been involved in a number of landcare groups including being a foundation member of the Central West Management Catchment Authority, a member of the advisory committee of the Invasive Native Species
Reasearch Program, inaugural chairman of the Bobadah Landcare Group and founding chairman of the North Lachlan Bogan Vegetation Committee.
The authorities wouldn't listen to warnings from Nyngan (and other) farmers about the dangers of not tackling thick native scrub regrowth.
"But when we did a lot of trials with post-graduate New England University students, everything that was trialled indicated that excess canopy was an environmental disaster. Less carbon, less biodiversity, the whole damn thing."
Country which people wanted to clear was land that had been cleared years before but had been overtaken by woody weeds, he said.
Born and bred in the Nymagee area on a selection from the famous Overflow Station, Mr Weston was always keen to make the most of his country.
He invented a fence to keep kangaroos out of their improved pasture country which the family has turned into a successful business.