New Voice for Soil Health

23 October 2006

Vital new soil research information will now be more easily available to agricultural communities of the Wheatbelt and south coast, thanks to the employment of a Soil Health Extension Officer.

Soil Health Extension Officer Jessica Sheppard will ensure that there is effective information exchange between major research and demonstration programs, farmers and agribusiness.

Ms Sheppard is jointly funded by the Avon Catchment Council (ACC) and the South Coast Regional Initiative Planning Team (SCRIPT) with investment from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

Statewide there are several major soil research projects addressing soil acidity, nutrient management, soil health and sub-soil constraints.

Soil is the fundamental resource in agriculture and improved soil health will result in more robust agricultural enterprises, less external inputs and more sustainable farming systems.

Don Cummins from the Avon Catchment Council said Ms Sheppard will work very closely with research partners, grower groups and regional natural resource management programs.

“The plan is to develop a complete soil health package, integrating information and outcomes from the current range of soil management initiatives,” he said.

“By working closely with grower groups, agribusiness and consultant networks, Jessica will be able to determine the best method of information delivery and identify further research opportunities.”

Ms Sheppard will provide information and soil management research results at field days, through local media and radio as well as coordinating the state Soil Health Forum in early 2007.

Media Contact:

Rochelle Pyle, Marketing & Communications Manager, Avon Catchment Council (08) 9690 2250.

Wendy Cooke, Public Relations Officer, South Coast Regional Initiative Planning Team Inc (08) 9892 8537