Presentation to Council: Amanda Thompson on the Rural Lands Strategy
Amanda Thompson presented the following submission to Eurobodalla Council August 28th 2018 The 2012 draft LEP met with widespread public disapproval. This was followed with a most extensive community consultation process engaging the combined efforts of government departments and agencies, community organizations, industry and many individuals.
Our family have been part of that process since 2012.
I should firstly speak a little bit about our families background so that those of you here today understand the relevance of the LEP to our family.
We are 4th generation farmers in our community. Between our immediate & extended family we have 3 primary production based businesses. Reedy Creek Eucalyptus Oil Pty Ltd, Reedy Creek Graziers & Symphony Farm of Tilba.
Our rural based skills & knowledge are captured in the following;
30 years in the essential oil industry, growing, harvesting & manufacturing essential oils & exporting them to international markets in the US, Europe & Asia. Supplying to major pharmaceutical, cosmetic & complimentary health organizations.
We have had over 25 years of Organic farming production experience, to international standards, USDA & NOP Certification.
We have diversified by value adding to our primary production raw materials to enhance our farms profitability.
We’ve also worked in conjunction with the CSIRO on AusAid consultancy projects to improve the Rural Living Standards in Vietnam & on the Island of Mindanao in the Philippines, providing demonstration & hands-on experience in growing essential oils & manufacturing value added products from essential oils.
We have over 20 years experience of Organic livestock production.
Our farm practices & farm design strategies have a 100% focus on “holistic management” to enhance the harmony & productivity of our farm naturally.
We use a system of “Rational Grazing” for livestock.
This essentially involves the timed grazing of livestock through pastures divided with a combination of permanent & temporary fencing.
This system maximizes nutrient cycling to enhance our soils fertility, it promotes biodiversity, this in turn promotes animal & human health, without the use of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or livestock drenches.
In recent years our family business has diversified into production of organic pastured poultry, eggs & pork. The local community has embraced both our farm produce & farm philosophy, which is;
to contribute to local sustainable food systems,
to minimize the use of high-energy fossil fuel inputs,
to foster thoughtful, ethical farming practices &
to encourage interaction between producers & consumers. Our vision for our community is to have vibrant sustainable rural industries that enhance our unique landscape & contribute to local & secure food systems.
We are very pleased that we were able to bring our experience to the table & contribute to the development of this LEP.
We believe that the community consultation process to develop this LEP has been thorough, effective & meaningful.
The community has been given enough time to familiarize themselves with complex government legislation & procedures & have had time to express their views.
The process was inclusive involving a cross section of government agencies, community representatives, industry representatives & individuals.
It was community focused, interactive & engaging.
Importantly recommendations that emerged from the consultation process were adopted & incorporated into our LEP.
The community had faith in this process, the result being a dynamic & vibrant strategy for the future prosperity of our Shires Agricultural sector, without compromising the balance or harmony of our precious landscape. That’s what a Rural LEP is all about.
This LEP encourages progressive, diverse, sustainable farming opportunities.
It offers opportunities to our next generation of farmers & supports family succession, which is so important for the future of our food & fibre security.
Particularly exciting is that this LEP supports the kind of farming that is driving tourism all around the world!
Small to medium sized farms supporting a diverse & integrated range of productions – fruit, poultry, wine, honey, olives – the list goes on.
Foodies following food trails – consumer driven farming that has passion, it has an environmental conscious, its sustainable, its alive & full of vitality! …. Lets move forward with it!