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| AGM President't report 2014 | What is happening with carbon? | 
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Ecological News

Newsletter of the
Ecological Agriculture Australia Association

No. 21 | September, 2014
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Inside

  • President's report 2014 AGM
  • What is happening with carbon?
  • What is ARLASH?
  • Website recommendations
  • FREE online learning courses
  • M&S tips on innovation
  • Farmer Endorsement Program
  • RAS Foundation 2015 Scholarships
  • Membership
  • Join us!
Photo of the month

Dung beetles (Img source: smh.com.au)
Dung beetles
(Img src: David Marsh in SMH)

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Welcome new members

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From all of us at EAAA


Links


ARLASH
Australian Carbon Cooperative
Rahamim Ecological Learning Community
Erin Earth
A
FSA

Quote

 

‘‘Yeah, but that’s not right. You have got to have both, your balanced country. That’s the way I look at it.’’

~  Peter Yench  ~

 

 

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President's report
EAAA's 2014 AGM

 
Here is a copy of the 2014 President’s report which covers all issues.

President’s Report: The past 12 months or more since the last AGM hasn’t been filled with progress of a significant nature. Highlights would include:
  1. Membership rising to 273
  2. Several newsletters which continue to provide a service to our members
  3. A Facebook which is highly active and interactive
  4. A website which remains impressive and useful.
  5. An ethics group which is developing a policy on this aspect of ecological agriculture.
We haven’t been successful in advancing the Farmer Endorsement Program despite intentions to do so. We have received a number of enquiries in regard to this but little progress has been made. It hasn’t disappeared into the too hard basket but it might not be too far off unless someone or some people come forward to put-their-shoulder-to-the-wheel.
Despite the feeling that little is happening there are developments which could have an impact on the EAAA. They include:
  1. An intention to investigate the formation of a professional body to represent graduates or professionals affiliated with an ecological approach. This body would be the equivalent of the Institute of Agricultural Science which is the professional body representing graduates of agricultural science courses, which predominate. A committee is needed to explore this concept.
  2. The intention of Thurgoona TAFE to establish a degree program in agroecology. I have been involved in this project and have submitted a business report in relation to its development. EAAA member Rob Fenton is driving force behind it and Rob (and Thurgoona TAFE) are hoping the course will complement the very successful diploma and certificate courses already underway at Thurgoona (in organics and permaculture). If the report is accepted by TAFE and its various committees it is anticipate the course will start in 2016. The EAAA has offered its support in the development of the degree in whatever way is needed. We see this as an important development in agricultural education in Australia. A number of EAAA members contributed to the survey conducted into the desirability of the degree and these thoughts have added significantly to the outcomes.
  3. As President I have been connected to the development of the ARLASH group at ANU and surrounds. The driving force is Cooma grazier and author Dr Charlie Massy whose recent PhD looked into the evolution of agriculture in Australia. Charlie’s thesis concluded that the emerging phase of agriculture will be what he calls post-organic which might be translated as ecological. The ARLASH group have set up a website to promote regenerative agriculture. There is a strong overlap between the content of the ARLASH website (www.arlash.com) and the objectives of the farming pillar component of the EAAA. Hopefully we can lean on each other!
As President I would like to thank the hard work that Susan Hill invests in the EAAA. Sue was the architect of the website and she is the architect and driver behind our social media and in particular the highly active Facebook site. She is now involved in researching the professional association. Much of what we are can be attributed to Sue’s tireless efforts.

I would also like to thanks David Savill (general secretary), David Hardwick (membership secretary), and Ian Read (treasurer), for their efforts during the year. I would also like to thanks Meg Hoskins for her continuing efforts re understanding the EAAA’s ethical stance. It takes many people to turn the wheels of an organisation and particularly one that exists in cyber space, primarily.

An AGM and a President’s report is a time to reflect on the organisation needs re keeping it upright over the next 12 months, and beyond. Number 1 would be more involvement from the membership in helping to run the organisation. The EAAA exists on two levels. Level 1 is the organisation itself which requires a president, secretary, treasurer, and web manager roles. Level 2 is the level of activities which advance the organisation into the community. I have mentioned the intentions re the Farmer Endorsement Program, and the professional body. We need members to get involved in these initiatives in order to advance them. Without that happening the wheels of EAAA progress don’t move.

Let me be specific. In relation to Level 1 we seek:
  1. Members to assist with the web and social media
  2. Members to assist with the newsletter as contributors
  3. A member to assist with the treasury.
In relation to Level 2 we seek:
  1. Members to advance the Farmer Endorsement Program
  2. Members to advance the professional association concept.
  3. Members who might want to get involved in our pillars of farming, food, education, ethics and ecology.
The EAAA is beginning to become recognised as an important contributor to a new role for agriculture in Australia. We stand in opposition to industrial agriculture and its purposes although we recognise that there may well be techniques within that style of farming that could be universally adopted. We stand in unison with the organic and biodynamic movements and their intent and would seek to advance their purposes wherever we can. But importantly we see ourselves as a third force that enables farmers to move towards an organic approach without actually arriving at a point where they are called organic (unless they want to). By embracing natural and social ecology we provide a definite ‘get-out-of-gaol’ free card for those who would like to farm biologically/ecologically but don’t know where to start and don’t necessarily want to become labelled as organic. Australian agriculture needs this third force.

 

President

The EAAA's need for additional funds


The AGM discussed the EAAA’s finances and agreed that we need to improve our bottom line. In the last financial year we were lax in requesting membership fees from our members. The lack of funds impacts on our capacity to fund initiatives to pay those individuals who given handsomely of their time. With this in mind it is our intention to seek an annual fee of $50 with the exception of students who are asked to make a donation if they are able to do so. Many students are working people so the demarcation between student (no work and full time study) and student (part time and work) becomes blurred. It is appropriate, therefore, to suggest a donation as appropriate. Details regarding this will be conveyed to you shortly.


Click here if you would like to enquire about EAAA Membership.
 
EAAA Logo

The professional body

Comment


The AGM report carried an intention re a professional body. The first step will be to determine the value of such as entity to the EAAA and the ecological/biological industry in the first instance. If a survey of those associated with the EAAA or graduates of the Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture believe there is value in it we can take it to the next level. We will need some volunteers to advance this concept. If you can help at all please contact me (kcochrane@ecoag.org.au)

Kerry Cochrane

What is happening with carbon? CO2 (Img src: Carbon Coop

The following story was in the Sydney Morning Herald recently. It is worth re-circulating to demonstrate the current thinking re carbon and also the good work underway at Cobar by GreenCollar.

 
On Peter Yench’s sheep farm the bulldozers are ready. When they surge forward, trees will be ripped from the earth, clearing the land for grazing and crops. 

Elsewhere on his land stands another vast stretch of sparse, dry native forest. It is hardly the Daintree , but like all forests it is a sink for carbon dioxide. If it, too, is brought down, then the CO2 stored in the trees will be released, exacerbating climate change.

Mr Yench holds a permit to clear on his western NSW properties, Bulgoo Station and The Meadows. Traditionally the more land a grazier could clear, the more sheep they could run, bolstering their economic return.

Reminded of an old farming adage that ‘‘ the only good tree is a dead tree’’ , Mr Yench smiles in recognition , but retorts: ‘‘Yeah, but that’s not right. You have got to have both, your balanced country. That’s the way I look at it.’’

Instead of clearing everything, Mr Yench has promised to keep almost 7000 hectares of forest on Bulgoo standing for 100 years. In exchange he receives carbon credits under the federal government’s Carbon Farming Initiative. It has proved a healthy alternative revenue stream.

Quietly, another 30-odd landowners in western NSW have promised to do the same or are exploring the option. Like Mr Yench, many are based around the mining and grazing town Cobar. It has quickly become an unlikely national centre for carbon farming.

Mr Yench says the new income is turning around marginal farms in the western district, allowing landowners to reinvest in their properties. Mr Yench used his first tranche of carbon cash to buy The Meadows and put on new workers.

But the Abbott government’s repeal of the carbon price, and the political uncertainty surrounding its much-criticised replacement, Direct Action, could bring it all undone.

Under the carbon price, polluting companies bought the credits generated by Mr Yench and others. With the scheme repealed, the only immediate potential buyer is now the federal government through the $2.55 billion it has committed to pay for emissions cuts under Direct Action.

That money is called the Emissions Reduction Fund. But the Coalition is struggling to win support for it in the Senate.

If a way through cannot be found then 140,000 hectares of native box eucalyptus, cypress pine, acacia and other semi-arid woodlands in the western district will again be under threat of clearing.

Behind the scenes a company called GreenCollar is responsible for almost all the western NSW forest projects. So far it says 12 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions have been saved and $25 million generated for farms.

GreenCollar has been working with farmers in Cobar for almost three years. It does the technical grunt work and in return takes a cut of whatever carbon credits are generated.

Before credits can be claimed under the carbon farming program a set of rules must be written and then ticked off by the government so all projects of one type – in this case avoided clearing of native forest – work to the same standards.

Once a landowner is interested, and they hold an applicable landclearing permit indicating a realistic threat of clearing, GreenCollar maps the type, size and density of the forest involved by surveying hundreds of plots.

From there it calculates how much carbon is stored in the trees, and therefore how many credits the farm should claim. Land that would not have been cleared or does not meet a standard definition of forest is excluded.

GreenCollar had kept its work relatively quiet, wary of the Australian climate debate. Agreeing to The Sunday Age’s request to visit the projects reflects increasing agitation at the policy vacuum threatening its work.

GreenCollar chief executive James Schultz says the carbon incentive is for the first time giving landowners an economic alternative to clearing. His fellow company co-founder , Lewis Tyndall, says that with the carbon price gone ‘‘ the emissions reduction fund has the potential to keep these projects alive’’ .

Mr Schultz says the focus has been western NSW because landclearing permits are more common there due to advantageous rule changes made last decade.

Cobar grazier Robert Chambers advocated for those changes. He, too, holds a clearing permit for his property, but is leaving about 11,000 hectares of forest standing for credits.

‘‘ Any income stream coming into a community is a good thing,’’ he says.

Mr Chambers bristles at the suggestion the forests are locked up. His sheep can still graze through the area and he is managing the forests for fire risk and feral goats. ‘‘ This is not lock it up, walk away. There are no green deserts here,’’ Mr Chambers says.

Mr Chambers and Mr Yench both suggest they will need to again consider clearing the forests if they lose the carbon income stream. The economic incentive would again return to running more animals.

All up, there are 154 accredited carbon farming projects across Australia taking different approaches to cutting emissions from the landscape. Environment Minister Greg Hunt said it would be irresponsible for others to hurt this work by blocking the Emissions Reduction Fund.

Opposition environment spokesman Mark Butler says the Carbon Farming Initiative – brought in by Labor – was designed to work with an Emissions Trading Scheme and Direct Action is no solution.

Greens acting leader Adam Bandt says: ‘‘ Given that Direct Action as it stands won’t get through the Senate, the government now needs to come up with an alternative way of supporting carbon farming projects.’’

Many of the crucial crossbench senators have also been publicly lukewarm about Direct Action.

Out in western NSW, those farming carbon are just looking for a lifeline, concerned their work, income and the native forests may become the next piece of collateral damage in the Australian political war over climate change.

Source: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/reducing-carbon/carbon-farming-initiative/methodologies/methodology-proposals/native-forest


ARLASH to become incorporated

 

What is ARLASH?


ARLASH is a collaborative network of individuals and practitioners from environment, agriculture,health, nutrition, planning, indigenous interests, management and design, with education and research links to the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University. 

ARLASH members seek to further connection, integration, synthesis, cooperation, mutual inquiry and collective learnings that promote synergies between regenerative landscapes and society’s health.

The Chairmen of ARLASH has been Monaro sheep producer Charlie Massy PhD who became involved in creating the organisation following the completion of his PhD in 2013. Charlie’s studies explored the evolution of agriculture in Australia and the influences that led to it being what it is. The PhD was initiated in the first place because of his concerns about the failing state of agriculture despite the relative financial and knowledge wealth of contemporary Australia. The thesis is currently being converted into a book for release in 2016.

It is worth taking a look at the ARLASH website (www.arlash.com) and even book marking it. The Blog Editor of ARLASH is well known Boorowa farmer David Marsh. Here is one of his poetic informative blogs: http://www.arlash.com/blog/

Up until now ARLASH has operated as an informal group but at a recent meeting the decision was made to incorporate as an association. The EAAA wishes ARLASH well and hopefully, in time, we can find common ground to support each other.


ARLASH Logo
 

 

Website recommendation

 
Our recommendation is the Australian Farm Institute and their Carbon Farming Tools.
The carbon farming tools were deve
loped by the Institute and supported by funding from the Australian Government.

For details go to: 
http://www.farminstitute.org.au/calculators/carbon_farming_tools
 
Farming pillar wordle

Education pillar

FREE online learning courses via the UK (Google future learn)

 

 
The following courses are very good.  All you need to do is join Future Learn and select a course. The courses on offer are: 

Start Writing Fiction,The Open University, 27 October
Cracking Mechanics: Further Maths for Engineers, University of Bristol, 10 November
Our Changing Climate: Past, Present and Future, University of Reading, 10 November
Understanding Language: Learning and Teaching, University of Southampton, 17 November
Teaching Computing: Part 2, University of East Anglia, 17 November

Art, Humanities & Society
Towards Scottish Independence? Understanding the Referendum, The University of Edinburgh, 25 August
Irish Lives in War and Revolution: Exploring Ireland's History 1912-1923, Trinity College Dublin, 01 September
Hadrian's Wall: Life on the Roman Frontier, Newcastle University, 22 September
Introduction to Journalism, University of Strathclyde, 29 September
Shakespeare and his World, University of Warwick, 29 September
Corpus Linguistics: Method, Analysis, Interpretation, Lancaster University, 29 September
Exploring Play: the Importance of Play in Everyday Life, The University of Sheffield, 29 September

Business & Management
Discovering Business in Society, University of Exeter in association with ACCA, 08 September
Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World, University of Groningen, 15 September
Innovation: the Key to Business Success, University of Leeds in association with Marks & Spencer, 15 September

Education & Languages
Exploring English: Language and Culture, British Council, 01 September
Developing your Research Project, University of Southampton, 15 September
Teaching Computing: Part 1, University of East Anglia, 22 September

Health & Psychology
Medicines Adherence: Supporting Patients with their Treatment, King's College London, 25 August
The Science of Medicines, Monash University, 01 September
Inside Cancer: How Genes Influence Cancer Development, University of Bath, 01 September
Psychology and Mental Health: Beyond Nature and Nurture, University of Liverpool, 08 September
Heart Health: a Beginner's Guide to Cardiovascular Disease, University of Reading, 08 September

Science, Technology, Engineering & Maths
Getting a Grip on Mathematical Symbolism, Loughborough University, 15 September
Electrify: an Introduction to Electrical and Electronic Engineering, University of Liverpool, 22 September
Basic Science: Understanding Experiments, The Open University, 22 September
 

Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture (BEAS)


The EAAA is happy to provide information on various educational programs in agroecology. One program is the Bachelor of Ecological Agriculture (BEAS) course at CSU. If you or someone you know, is interested please Contact us here. For details of the course refer to the link below: 

Ecological Agriculture: Course Structure
 

RAS Foundation - Calling all applicants for 2015 Scholarship


RAS FOUNDATION - JB Fairfax Award for Rural Journalism for the 2015 academic year is NOW OPEN - CALLING FOR APPLICANTS

Since 2011, the RAS Foundation has provided over 180 students with $921,500 worth of financial support to fulfill their educational goals. The helping hand given to these students assists them to achieve their potential, and provide regional and rural NSW and Australia with a more vibrant and sustainable future.

JB Fairfax Award for Rural Journalism is now open for 2015 – we ask that you please pass on this information to suitable students in your networks who are study a journalism related course and dedicated about telling the stories of Rural Australia and a future in rural journalism.
JB Fairfax Award for Rural Journalism (National) 1 only - $10,000 http://www.rasnsw.com.au/830.htm

The Award includes a scholarship of up to $10,000 and practical work experience at Rural Press and the Sydney Royal Easter Show. The winning article is published in a major rural publication.

Applicants for the Award must:

• Be enrolled to study in any undergraduate or postgraduate degree of relevance to rural affairs at an approved Australian education provider

1. Submit a Feature article

Choose one of the following topics

Topic 1 - Should we develop Northern Australia as a major agricultural production area?
Topic 2 - Are youth suicide rates in rural and regional area preventable ?
Topic 3 - Do urban communities care about Australian agriculture?

Write a feature article of up to 1,200 words exploring one of the topics to a publication standard that includes a minimum of four sources of information.

2. Submit a News article

Write a strong news article relating to Australian agriculture, of up to 600 words. Please include a minimum of three sources including one primary producer. The article must be original and not previously published.
Criteria -

• Demonstrate an active interest in rural affairs and in pursuing a career in rural journalism upon graduation

• Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident

• Be aged 30 years or under

Interested ?

For more information visit: http://www.rasnsw.com.au/rural-scholarships-.htm
Other Scholarships available;
Rural Scholarships (NSW only) Up to 45 scholarships - $5000 http://www.rasnsw.com.au/rural-scholarships-.htm
Sydney Royal Wine Scholarship (National) 1 only – $5000 http://www.rasnsw.com.au/sydney-royal-wine-scholarship.htm
Sydney Royal Dairy Produce Scholarship (NSW only) – 1 only -$5000 http://www.rasnsw.com.au/sydney-royal-dairy-produce-scholarship.htm

Applications close 30 September 2014

Marks & Spencer shares its tips on innovation

 

Marks & Spencer, one of the UK’s best-loved high street retailers, will share its tips on innovation through the University of Leeds course ‘Innovation: the key to business success’, which starts on 15 September.

Simon Colbeck, Head of Innovation and Quality at M&S, says: “This course aims to share best practice for commercial innovation to achieve business success. Not only will it explore some of the many examples of innovation in our history, it will give participants a real insight into how big ideas are shaped and drive commercial success.”

 
Farming pillar wordle

Farming pillar

EAAA Farmer Endorsement Program


The EAAA Farmer Endorsement Program serves to help farmers “climb the ladder“ from conventional industrial agriculture to an ecologically driven farming system.


The EAAA producer endorsement is creating a "community of ecological farmers" who, through peer review, self development and mutual assistance, create a brand that will give consumers confidence that the produce they buy was grown under an ecological paradigm.
3 levels | EAAA Farmer Endorsement Scheme

To find out more, visit our website: EAAA Farmer Endorsement Program or drop us an email
 
 
Membership

EAAA Membership

Membership fees


Members:

Annual subscription: $50
 
Student members:

Non-compulsory donation as appropriate

Donations:

Your donation is welcome. 
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Subscription payments & donations can be made via direct deposit or cheque.

Please post cheques to:

Membership
Ecological Agriculture Australia
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ORANGE NSW 2800


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Email us for direct deposit details.
Celebrating

890 Twitter followers
&
755 Facebook friends

 


Join us online

 
Recently EAAA Facebook posts reached an audience of over 14,000 people. We would love you to join us on Facebook and help us keep up the dynamic stories, shares and likes.

EAAA website is an evolving space where we share the benefits of living an ecologically driven life.

Have your say and contribute to its content and our 'rolling stone' !

At the same time our social media platforms engage like minded thinkers.

Be sure to check in and invite your friends to visit and get involved.

Click on the icons above and below to follow, link and join EAAA

_____________________________________
 

Stories for the next edition


We would love to hear your story. 

Please send stories or tips to the editor Kerry Cochrane by email.

Additional stories are available from our website EAAA (www.ecoag.org.au) and from our Facebook page and Twitter stream
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