Local Land Services has launched a new program for drought preparedness.
It features three flagship projects around planning and preparedness, enhanced soil health, and best practice animal production.
LLS business partner for agriculture and plant biosecurity, Andrew Lieschke, said the program, Farming Forward, is being bankrolled from within existing LLS government funding and would use existing LLS staff.
It stemmed from the agriculture services framework, launched last year, to facilitate sustainable production, drought preparedness and farmer partnerships.
It would also work with with the southern and northern drought hubs to leverage their staffing and resources, and partner with the Future Drought Fund and National Soil Strategy.
He said a key aspect would be follow-through post workshops, where LLS staff booked in farm visits to eyeball projects with farmers on their farms.
Mr Lieschke said aligning the enterprise with the most appropriate tools would also feature, such as using containment lots as a management option.
Perhaps the most successful drought program to date from the NSW Government, containment lots could help farmers get stock off pastures, not just in drought, but when pastures need a rest, during floods, fire recovery, or as an area for biosecurity management.
"The Farming Forward program is an exciting initiative to help build more profitable, productive and sustainable practices by helping farmers invest in drought preparedness and planning, soils intelligence, and livestock production," said NSW Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders.
The program would include workshops and extension services throughout the next 12 to 24 months.
These would include drought preparedness, understanding enterprise capacity and how to manage the enterprise through drought; soil intelligence testing and soil health workshops to educate landholders on soil constraints, nutrient requirements and moisture to optimise pasture and crop growth, and Pro-graze and Tactical Grazing Management courses.
Grazier, Glen Johnstone, runs 26,000 hectares across three farms at Coonamble, Warren and Carinda, which includes 10,000 Merino ewes, cattle backgrounding and 1000ha of fodder production.
He has worked with the LLS and its predecessors since the 1980s on projects which he said included "water and wire", ponding works and fencing sensitive riparian areas.
He said measures like fodder subsidies were great, but they were "there one minute and gone the next", whereas drought preparedness would be there for the future.
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