Soil extension activities are the focus of a new funding round of the National Landcare Program’s Smart Farms Small Grants initiative.
Farmers, land managers and a wider network of farm advisers are set to benefit from the program, as will soil extension practioners themselves as the program aims to establish a national Community of Practice to achieve maximum outcomes.
Successful projects will promote management practices that lead to better soil health including promoting the National Soil Monitoring and Incentives Pilot Program and soil testing and interpretation of results. Ultimately, this work will lead to improved sustainable soil management practices through delivery of communication products, education, awareness and training, and on-ground trials and demonstrations.
Extension activities must be provided by a suitably qualified person, with qualifications in soil science or a similar field, demonstrated experience in soil management, or in the process of attaining qualifications or experience.
The program will run from February 2022 to 30 June 2023. Available grants are over 2 years for a minimum of $100,000 ($50,000 per year) and a maximum of $250,000 ($125,000 per year). You can apply for multiple activities/grants in the one application but the maximum total grant amount per application cannot exceed $2 million.
All-in-all, $13 million is available over the two-year program.
There are two outcomes of this program:
- Increased adoption of best practice sustainable agriculture.Soil extension activities delivering this outcome will:
- promote the benefits of increased frequency and comprehensiveness of soil sampling and testing to inform soil management decisions
- support land managers and farmers to participate in soil testing and interpretation of the results
- demonstrate land management practices to improve efficiency, production and soil health
- support land managers and farmers to contribute soils data to relevant national databases
2. Increase the capacity of land managers to adopt best practice sustainable agriculture. Soil extension activities under this outcome will:
- improve land managers and farmers soil testing knowledge and skills (capacity building)
- increase the capacity of land managers and farmers to interpret soil testing results
- improve land managers and farmers capacity to undertake land management actions to improve soil health
- improve land managers and farmers understanding of the value of soil data as an important part of land management decision making
- improve collaboration and communication between soil scientists, extension officers, advisers, natural resource management and farming systems groups, land managers and farmers.
Applications for the Smart Farms Small Grants program focussing on soil extension close 12 October 2021.
Guidelines for this component of the National Landcare Program can be found here.
FAQ about the Smart Farms Small Grants Soil Extension initiative can be found here.
And everything else you might need to know if found here.