Have your say about the future of farming in Tasmania

Published 11 August 2022
Northern Midlands TAS with sheep in paddock Sheep in a paddock, Northern Midlands region of Tasmania.

Check your mailbox! That’s the message to more than 2000 landholders across Tasmania who’ve been selected to take part in a study about land and farm management practices.

Led by Southern Cross University and developed with local partners, the Soil CRC Australian Landholder Study is interested in how local and national organisations can better support farmers and landholders.  

The aim of the study is to find out what is driving farming and land management practices, and what farmers need to help them build resilience into the future.

“Having regional priorities co-developed with local partners ensures that our study is both locally relevant, while nationally significant,” said project leader, Dr Hanabeth Luke of Southern Cross University.

“We would like to find out what information and technical support farmers are seeking in the region.

“We’re gathering a national data set to gain an understanding of what’s happening for Australian farmers and for soils across our farming systems. We have surveyed North Central Victoria, the Eyre Peninsula of SA, the WA Wheatbelt, Central West NSW and now Tasmania.”

“This work is making a real difference for farmers across Australia,” Dr Luke said.

“On the Eyre Peninsula, the local farming system group AIR EP is now working more effectively to meet the needs of younger farmers. On the WA Wheatbelt, the West Midlands Group is finding new and innovative ways for sharing knowledge between farmers.  Central West Farming Systems in NSW is currently developing its strategic priorities informed by the results of our study.”

The study reports from these regions can be viewed on the Soil CRC website.

Handful of ferrosol, TAS state soil

A handful of ferrosol, Tasmania's state soil.

“We are seeking to understand the important challenges faced by farmers; their goals and what support they need to reach those goals,” Dr Luke said.

“We also need to understand the decision-making behind why they operate as they do: are they adopting best practice and new innovative approaches? If not, we need to understand the barriers. For example, is it time, money or knowledge holding someone back from trying something new? Do they trust the organisations suggesting they make these changes?”

“All of these things come together to help us to understand the complexities driving these systems so the partner organisations and scientists from the Soil CRC can best target their efforts.”

No individual landholder is identified in the reporting.

The project is a collaboration with local groups NRM North, NRM South, Cradle Coast NRM, Southern Farming Systems, as well as Southern Cross University and Charles Sturt University, funded through the Soil CRC (Cooperative Research Centre).

The study will be repeated in five years’ time to measure any changes.

Completing the questionnaire is easy

An advance notice has been mailed to landholders in Tasmania.

  • QR code: The advance notice features a QR code that links to the online questionnaire.
  • Online: Access the online questionnaire via soilcrc.com.au Click on TAS survey in the top menu. Landholders can use the same link to opt-out.
  • In writing: The surveys can be completed on paper. A questionnaire pack, containing a postage paid return envelope for easy returns, will be sent out shortly.

The comprehensive survey will take 25 to 50 minutes to complete.

Cradle Coast NRM Agriculture Project Coordinator, Ali Dugand, said: “The end goal of the survey for us as an organisation is to ascertain how to best engage and support farmers in future project design and funding to improve productivity and natural resource protection.

“We need to be developing resilience now more than ever across our farming systems.”

For more information about participating in the study, contact Dr Hanabeth Luke at hanabeth.luke@scu.edu.au or call 1800 317 503.

Media contact: Sharlene King, media office at Southern Cross University 0429 661 349 or scumedia@scu.edu.au