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Grants scheme popular support tool in 2017

There’s been significant interest in the Hunter Local Land Services Land Management Grant Scheme again in 2017, with 139 proposals lodged so far. A total of $1.7 million is available this year to landholders and land managers across the Upper and Lower Hunter and Manning Great Lakes District, with final applications due by August 28th. Funding is from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme, Catchment Action NSW, Hunter Catchment Contributions and Hunter Water Corporation.

Grant funds are available to support implementation of sustainable grazing and land management practices within commercial beef, dairy, sheep and poultry enterprises; as well as enhancement of riparian, estuarine and remnant native vegetation by managing stock impacts and reducing threats from invasive species.

Hunter Local Land Services General Manager Brett Miners said the annual grant program is just one way the service promotes sustainable agriculture and strengthening local communities through healthy environments.

“The Land Management Grants are a significant investment in the productivity and sustainability of agriculture and the natural landscape across the district, however we understand not everyone can be successful in having their project funded,” Mr Miners said.

“We would like to encourage anyone keen to improve their land or biodiversity outcomes of their property to consider working with our staff, who can offer a range of services and assistance outside of the grant scheme.”

The Nixon family at “Merriwa Park” are enjoying the results of a sustainable grazing project completed under last year’s grants scheme, changing grazing and pasture practices on their 825ha mixed farm. Farm manager Martin Nixon said the investment of 5km fencing, 2km piping, stock-water troughs and header tanks had only been possible through the Hunter Local Land Services Land Management Grants, which partially funded the upgrades.

“Our aim across the farm is to improve pasture composition and diversity, increase herbage retention and organic matter, and reduce the potential for soil erosion, through better ground cover, soil structure and health,” Mr Nixon said.

“We are now on our way to achieving these outcomes through better cattle grazing management and pasture establishment techniques, having split two large 120ha paddocks into manageable 30ha parcels each with water troughs taking stock pressure off natural gullies and seasonal creeks.”