SAF Conference Fostering Connections over Innovation and Drivers in Agriculture

24th May, 2024

At the beginning of May, Perth NRM's Sustainable Agriculture Facilitator (SAF), Tibby Tuckett, attended the inaugural SAF Conference in Canberra.  

The conference proved to be a good mix of insights, inspiration, and opportunities for sustainable agricultural practices and national climate-smart strategies.  

It was a wonderful occasion to connect with other SAFs from across Australia, sharing stories and learning about what other NRM organisations are working on in their region.  

Tibby kicked off her experience with a field trip to Millpost, a diverse 1100-hectare ‘wildlife refuge’ farm renowned for its commitment to permaculture principles.  

Led by owner David Watson, attendees delved into Millpost’s remarkable permaculture journey, witnessing firsthand the synergy between agriculture and nature.  

David shared his knowledge with planting wildlife corridors and deciduous trees throughout the property, highlighting the benefits to pasture productivity and animal welfare.  

The conference itself boasted an impressive lineup of speakers and topics, covering a diverse array of issues crucial to sustainable agriculture such as biosecurity and market drivers.  

Tibby found the discussions surrounding relevant Australian Government policies and programs insightful, such as the Australian Agricultural Sustainability Framework (AASF) which outlines a comprehensive roadmap for enhancing the resilience and sustainability of Australia’s agricultural sector through its 17 overarching principles. 

Another highlight was the presentation on Indigenous Agriculture in Australia, by cattle station manager and Director of the Indigenous Carbon Industry Network (ICIN), Suzanne Thompson.  

Suzanne highlighted the rich heritage of indigenous farming practices and their potential contributions to modern sustainable agriculture, including co-benefits such as eco/agritourism, research opportunities and biodiversity revitalisation. She also discussed the benefits of cool burning and shared the amazing work being led by Firesticks Alliance. 

Furthermore, the Nature Repair Market and Natural Capital sessions shed light on innovative approaches to restoring ecosystems and valuing natural resources.  

As someone who has been involved in Perth NRM’s Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) project and undergone Accounting for Nature training, Tibby said she was “encouraged by the interest around the room, and the emphasis placed on protecting and measuring natural capital in our agricultural landscapes so we can build climate resilient food systems.” 

On the final day, some of the SAF’s had the opportunity to learn about the carbon and environmental markets, which are poised to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of agriculture. 

Tibby recognised the importance of understanding and navigating these markets to leverage new opportunities for farmers while contributing to broader environmental outcomes. 

In conclusion, Tibby’s experience at the SAF Conference was nothing short of encouraging. From forming new relationships with other SAFs to delving into the latest developments in sustainable agriculture policies, Tibby returned home with a wealth of knowledge and renewed enthusiasm to continue her vital work in fostering collaborative partnerships and supporting sustainable agriculture projects to drive adoption and build resilience in the Swan region and beyond. 

Quote of the week: “Change happens at the pace of trust” – Johanna Tomlinson, South Coast NRM.

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