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Pat Conaghan MP

SCU engaged to deliver $54 million Federal Government soil testing program

Support for soil testing of up to $10,000 per land manager was launched today and will help Australian farmers improve their agricultural productivity and participate in soil carbon projects under the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud said the two-year, $54.4 million Pilot Soil Monitoring and Incentives Program was a key part of the $214.9 million National Soil Package.

“Under the two-year program farmers and land managers can receive up to $10,000 in subsidies while contributing to a national soil database. Mr Littleproud said.

“Soil health is critical to farm performance, so sampling supported under the program will show up in the farmers bottom line

This support to land managers could underpin emissions reductions in Australian agriculture.

“Soil testing to participate in carbon reduction programs can be expensive but this program will help farmers be part of the solution to climate change,”

Southern Cross University (SCU) will work with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE) to administer the program.

Mr Ben Roche, Vice President (Engagement) at SCU said the university was delighted to partner with DAWE.

“Understanding and managing soil properties in deeper soil layers gives the land managers and farmers better tools to preserve their land against changing climatic conditions,” Mr Roche said.

“We are excited to work with farmers and scientific labs to offer a comprehensive suite of soil sampling and testing, as well as putting land managers in touch with soil extension officers and other grantees from the Smart Farms Small Grants: Soil Extension Activities, to interpret soil test results to better manage their valuable assets and enhance soil productivity, health and resilience.

“Interested land managers can get in contact with SCU to apply.”

Aggregated data collected by farmers and land managers will also be shared to the Australian National Soil Information System to inform government decision-making regarding priorities for Australia’s future soil monitoring and management.

Federal Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan welcomed the announcement and applauded the collaboration with SCU.

“Seeing this funding provided is exciting on two levels for our region. Firstly, to support the ongoing viability of our farming and agricultural industry, and secondly seeing a real needs-based collaboration with a regional university like SCU is fantastic,” Mr Conaghan said.

For more information, visit www.awe.gov.au/soils

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