A new project to improve biodiversity on cotton farms is set to get under way thanks to the backing of two iconic Australian brands, Country Road and Landcare Australia.
Funded by a corporate contribution and funds raised via the sale of its famous Verified Australian Cotton Heritage Sweats, Country Road will contribute a minimum $600,000 to the partnership over three years, with funds raised going to Landcare Australia to support biodiversity restoration projects.
The initial project will be implemented by the Kahl family in the Namoi Valley.
The third generation Wee Waa-based cotton farming family will be revegetating a river system that flows through their property and excluding stock to increase habitat and shelter for native animals, reduce erosion and improve water quality.
James Kahl said an appreciation for the land had always been part of his family
"We farmed in California for nearly five generations before we emigrated here in 1961," Mr Kahl said.
"But further to that, you won't farm very long unless you realise that unless you look after the land it won't produce and look after you.
"So it's what you have to do, you need to do, to be productive as a farmer."
Landcare Australia CEO Dr Shane Norrish said the program would help restore local ecosystems and contribute to the sustainable management and productivity of the landscape.
"Landcare Australia is very proud to launch this partnership with Country Road and the Australian cotton industry to develop projects focused on biodiversity conservation with cotton farmers," Dr Norrish said.
"The partnership is a powerful example of how Landcare Australia brings together organisations to work on projects that will have a meaningful impact for farmers, the environment and the local community.
"We are very pleased to be working with Country Road, the Australian cotton industry and cotton growers on biodiversity projects that will protect habitat for a range of native plants and animals, including threatened species."
The project is also supported by the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Cotton Australia and CottonInfo.
The partnership draws on CRDC-supported work that mapped biodiversity in Australian cotton landscapes, identified threatened and endangered species and recommended ways to protect them. This was achieved with support from a federal government grant.
Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay said it wasan incredibly exciting opportunity and the first time a corporate partner had come on board to directly support biodiversity work on-farm.