And That’s a Wrap for the RALF

For the past five years, our Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators have been traveling across our 7.5-million-hectare region, working with groups and individuals to support the future of sustainable agriculture in the Northern Agriculture Region.

In case you have forgotten, here’s a little memory jogger for you; Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitators, or RALFs as we like to call them, were funded and supported by the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry as part of the Regional Land Partnerships (RLP) program over five years (2018-19 to 2022-23). RALFs work to build the future of sustainable agriculture in Australia. There have been over 65 RALFs based across Australia undertaking a unique role in the community, assisting stakeholders and being the key contacts for landcarers to learn about sustainable agriculture.

RALFs aimed to support farmers, industry, and community groups (including Landcare Groups) to adopt new and innovative sustainable agriculture practices. Establishing and building partnerships with our local growers, landcare, and farming groups has been a central part of the role for the last five years.

RALF services include:

    • Engaging and informing farming communities and agricultural industries within the NAR about emerging ideas, innovative practices, and relevant new government policies and programs to help improve agriculture’s sustainability, productivity, and profitability.
    • Facilitating partnerships to best deliver agriculture outcomes, such as connecting industry, grower, and community groups so that they can work together to address common issues.
    • Assisting farming communities and agriculture industry groups to develop new projects and seek new funding opportunities.
    • Supporting the delivery of the NACC NRM National Landcare Program Sustainable Agriculture projects, including Supporting Smarter Farms and Growing Great Ground.
    • Reporting to the department annually on the delivery of RALF services.
    • Participating in a ‘Communities of Practice’ to better understand complex issues, improve networks, and help develop solutions for national priorities.
    • Informing the department about emerging issues and events within the NAR.

Collectively, RALFs contributed to the RLP program’s agricultural outcomes:

    • By 2023, there is an increase in the awareness and adoption of land management practices that improve and protect the condition of soil, biodiversity and vegetation
    • By 2023, there is an increase in the capacity of agriculture systems to adapt to significant changes in climate and market demands for information on provenance and sustainable production.

So to celebrate the finalization of the RALF program, here is a quick wrap-up from the past five years!

We have supported more than 15 community groups, promoted over 60 funding opportunities to our community and distributed over 80 articles. We have attended over 100 regional events and supported over 25 events. We have assisted more than 20 stakeholders with project planning, funding applications and grant writing through individual assistance, letters of support and community grant writing workshops. More than 60 events and projects happening in the NAR were promoted. And above all, we have made endless friendships, built an incredible network and liaised with some of the most wonderful people across our beautiful region.

So what’s next?

The current Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF) program officially ended on 30 June 2023, with the program set to be replaced, at a broad level, by the new SAF (Sustainable Agriculture Facilitator) program. This acknowledges and builds on the success of the NHT-funded regional agriculture facilitators over many years.

Keep an eye out for more information on the next round of funding and the progress of the SAF. We will continue to celebrate and share the fantastic things happening across the Northern Agricultural Region.

NACC NRM takes this opportunity to thank all of our stakeholders, project partners, and community members for their ongoing support during the past five years. And a special mention to NACC NRM’s superstar RALFs Lizzie King, Shannah Kanny, and Annabelle Garratt who each played pivotal roles in providing this service!

The RALF Program is supported by NACC NRM through the Australian Government’s Regional Landcare Partnerships initiative of the National Landcare Program.

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