By Brian Tessmann, QDO President
Early this year, QDO as part of the Reef Alliance partnership with other industry organisations and Reef NRM bodies, were successful in securing funding through the Australian Government’s Reef Trust Phase III investment.
Although the dairy footprint in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) catchment is comparatively small to other industries, our Dairying Better ‘n Better (DBnB) program has always been a leader in the Natural Resource Management (NRM) programs across the region.
The proactive program which focuses on productivity, profitability and the environment was developed by Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) and Subtropical Dairy Programme in the early 2000s and being an valuable contributor to the Reef initiatives since 2008.
In this time we have seen nearly 80% of current dairy farms in the GBR engaged in the DBnB program in one form or another. It is important that we continue this momentum to help the farmers continuously improve their businesses to become more sustainable and reduce the risks to water quality leaving their farms.
The new Reef project will continue this trend through the delivery of a range of extension services to 30 dairy farms across the Mary, Johnstone and Herbert catchments.
The project will prioritise farmers previously not engaged in Reef programs, to mitigate any off-site risks in terms of nutrients and sediment and make their businesses more profitable and sustainable. All eligible farms will receive communiques this week.
QDO is very thankful to the Australian Government in supporting proactive initiatives like the DBnB program and Reef Alliance partnerships that accelerate the adoption of best management practices and encourage innovation. We call on the Queensland Government to also support these proactive programs with additional resources to ensure agriculture can meet the ambitious targets set out in the Reef Sustainability Plan.
The Dairy Reef Trust project is delivered by the DBnB team in conjunction with Burnett Mary Regional Group and Terrain NRM. The Reef Alliance Program is a partnership between agricultural industries, regional NRM bodies and is facilitated by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF), with a common goal of securing the future health of the Great Barrier Reef.