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Hub to support regional soils capacity

31 January 2022

A new Regional Soil Coordinator will provide practical assistance to improve soil health and testing across Northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland, as part of a new $3 million Australian Government investment announced today.

The announcement means the Southern Queensland Northern New South Wales Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub can further its regional activities.

Hub Director Professor John McVeigh said the funding from the Building Landcare Community and Capacity Program would support the Hub’s overall goals with regard to boosting drought resilience and encouraging on-ground innovation.

“This funding will allow us, and the other seven drought and innovation hubs across the country, to provide down to earth support for our primary producers from Longreach to Narrabri,” Professor McVeigh said.

This new Hub project will deliver a Soil Extension Plan, including identifying gaps in current services and barriers to the adoption of improved soil practices.

“As with all of the Hub activities, we will focus on supporting and bringing together those already working to boost soil conservation efforts in Northern New South Wales and Southern Queensland,” Professor McVeigh said.

“This new role will provide leadership, facilitation and support to Smart Farm Soil Extension Officers and Soil Extension Activity grantees to deliver services in the region.

“The new Regional Soil Coordinator will connect those working on soils grants with researchers and key soil projects within our region, helping to drive national priorities and services, and reporting to the Australian Government.”

Professor McVeigh said a soil extension network would be established, to provide advice, connections, information, tools and other support.

“The sustainability of the soils in Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales is a key factor in the longterm viability of not just agriculture, but landscapes and communities as well,” Professor McVeigh said.

“Increasing the awareness, understanding, skills and adoption of sustainable soil best management practices (including soil testing, interpretation and monitoring) will contribute to increasing soil health across the SQNNSW Hub region.

“This includes focussing on technology use in soil quality enhancement and building understandings of sustainable soil processes for various farming systems.”

The Southern Queensland and Northern New South Wales Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub has received funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.

For more information, contact SQNNSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub Communications Coordinator Lisa Yorkston: 0448 263 767 or Lisa.Yorkston@usq.edu.au.

View the release from Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia David Littleproud.