The former Australian Governor General and the country’s first Advocate for Soil Health will open the Talkin’ Soil Health conference in York later this month. Major General Michael Jeffery will travel to the Wheatbelt for the two-day summit on soil health on the 26th and 27th of March. Wheatbelt NRM has organised the conference in response to the growing number of farmers questioning the sustainability of their current farming systems. The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Joe Ludwig will also make one of the keynote addresses on the first day. As Advocate for Soil Health, Major General Jeffery is working on issues including fertility, carbon and optimising water retention in the root zone. “Soil health is integral to the health of the broader landscape,” Major General Jeffery said. “We must take an integrated and nationally coordinated approach to soil, water and biodiversity. “Farmers should be recognised and rewarded for managing these natural, national, strategic assets in a sustainable way. “I’m looking forward to meeting with our leading experts to hear about the practical work being done in addressing these important natural resource management issues.” The conference will also feature internationally renowned soils ecologist Dr Christine Jones and CSIRO scientist Dr Michael Robertson. The two days will include panel discussions and hands-on workshops covering soil degradation, soil biology and soil building and the future of agriculture. The event is being funded through the Australian government’s Caring for our Country program and major sponsor Australian Mineral Fertilisers. Media contact: Guy Boggs, Wheatbelt NRM, 9670 3100 or 0434 976 124.