Working with regional partners, the Shire's Economic Development team has been successful in achieving a National Landcare Program Smart Farms grant. The multi-partner regional consortium convened by Western Port Catchment Landcare Network successfully achieved a Soil Extension Activities grant of $393,132.

The grant will fund the “Farmers digging deeper – Increasing soil knowledge by testing, training, talking and ground truthing regenerative soil and groundcover benefits in high rainfall zones” project.

Over the next two years the project will support 235 regional farmers to better understand their soils and the practices required to measure and improve their soil health.

This will be achieved through a range of innovative and targeted programs designed to increase farmers knowledge and confidence to apply management strategies which contribute to improved soil health outcomes and improved profitability.  Program activities include – Soil testing on farms for nutrient, carbon, and biology; soil health training workshops, to demystify soil health and assist with interpretation of soil test data; establishment of a new farmer discussion group; 5 on-farm demonstration sites; and 4 field days to inform farmers about new and emerging opportunities.

The project involves many partners including; Western Port Catchment Landcare Network, Bass Coast Landcare Network, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, South Gippsland Landcare Network, Agriculture Victoria & Melbourne Water.

More information is available from Vinnie Morris, the Shire's Agribusiness & Food Industry Facilitation Officer on 5950 1286.