Welcome to Ground Cover. A podcast created for farmers, by farmers. Ground Cover is a uniquely Australian podcast series exploring real life stories of land managers who have undertaken the transition from conventional farming to regenerative agriculture.
In this series, we share unique and honest conversations about the challenges and opportunities of regenerative agriculture, so you can make informed decisions about how to best manage your land.
Proudly brought to you by The Regenerative Agriculture Alliance and Southern Cross University.
Leading a movement with Lorraine Gordon
Today, on Ground Cover, Kerry is joined by Lorraine Gordon, a beef cattle trader from Ebor who is also Director of Strategic Projects at Southern Cross University, founder of the National Regenerative Agriculture Alliance based out of Southern Cross University and currently working on her PHD in Regen Ag.
In this conversation we explore what drives in this incredible woman to take on so many challenging projects and we announce a world first University degree in the Regenerative Agriculture space. Enquiries about the Bachelor of Science in Regenerative Agriculture should be sent to https://www.scu.edu.au/study-at-scu/help-and-contact/domestic-enquiry/
More about Lorraine Gordon:
Lorraine is the founder of the National Regenerative Agriculture Alliance based out of Southern Cross University. As Director of Strategic Projects at Southern Cross University and Associate Director of the University's Centre for Organic Research, Lorraine acts as a conduit between industry and research, delivering sustainable and regenerative agriculture solutions nationally.
She has assisted over 28,500 farmers, fishers and foresters around the country to progress collaborative projects and establish Cooperatives which will benefit their various industries as Director of the Commonwealth Government's Farming Together Program. Last year Lorraine was awarded the 2018 Rural Community Leader of the Year for Australia and was a 2019 nominee and finalist for Australian of the Year for her work with farmers. The Farming Together Program was an award winner at the 2019 Australian Financial Review Awards and 2019 BHERT Higher Education Engagement Awards.
Lorraine is a beef cattle trader at Ebor in the New England Tablelands of NSW turning off up to 1000 steers per annum and Director of Moffat Falls Pty Ltd and Yaraandoo which operates a number of successful tourism, agricultural, and health businesses in both the New England and North Coast Regions of NSW.
Previous positions have included CEO of Regional Development Australia Mid North Coast, Regional Agribusiness Manager with Westpac Bank, Director of the Graduate Network of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, and Executive Director of Economic Security for Women. Lorraine has also presided on the Small Business Review Panel of the Reserve Bank of Australia.
A Graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program and previous NSW ABC Rural Woman of the Year Lorraine is currently completing her PhD in Ecological Economics through UNE.
Stay tuned... this series of Ground Cover is not quite over yet.
Stay tuned... this series of Ground Cover is not quite over yet. We'll be taking a short break for a couple of weeks, then we'll be back with a big announcement that you won't want to miss.
In the meantime, join the conversation on social media via our facebook page, and you can join our email list by emailing email@example.com
Regenerating soils and communities with Helen and Mike McCosker
Kerry talks with Helen and Mike McCosker about the important of regenerating not only soil, but also communities.
The McCosker family run Angus on a 3000 acre mixed farming enterprise at Wallangra, north of Inverell. Helen is a CPA with senior management experience working in the large corporate space. A passion for the arts and music. Mike is a fourth generation farmer with extensive experience in carbon farming and teaching farmers about soil health and regenerative agriculture. He was one of the founding member of the first Landcare group in Australia established in 1982.
Together Helen and Mike, along with Kelly Jones, founded Carbon8: a farmer-led initiative that is responding to the current impact of droughts, floods and desertification by supporting our farmers to increase the carbon in their soil and help them transition to regenerative agriculture.
In this episode of Ground Cover we explore:
•How a chemical poisoning event was a catalyst for transformation
•The importance of bringing communities together in times of hardship
•Building a whole systems approach in both our landscapes, and in our towns
•The power of art and music to regenerate community
The five landscape functions in practice with livestock producer Tim Wright
Today on Ground Cover, our host Kerry Cochrane, explores the five landscape functions and how they play out on Tim Wright's property.
Tim is a livestock producer, and holistic management farmer, from Armidale on the Northern Tablelands of NSW. The Wrights are a pioneering family of the New England, Tim bucked the traditional farming approach of his ancestors to go where many were not brave enough to go. A holistic farmer in the true sense, who questioned traditional practices, and ventured into regenerating landscapes with gusto.
Declining terms of trade were a catalyst for change. And Tim turned to Stan Parsons and Allan Savory's methods for inspiration.
In this episode we explore:
•breaking down the five landscape functions into practice
•ethics and ecology as a marketing tool
•the importance of the social aspects of farming
•the leader-follower system of grazing
•and the role livestock play in healthy landscape function
More about Tim Wright:
In the 1990s Australian agriculture was marked by excessively high production costs and falling profits. Tim realised they needed to find a better way to manage their farm. Guided by their own principles for 'Working with Nature', they were motivated to fully adopt and Holistic Management approach for the operations of their property 'Lana', via Uralla in NSW. Lana is a 3,400 hectare property, across eight farmlets of mostly native pastures - under apple box, stringy bark and red gum. Lana's system of numerous internal fences and watering points is designed to allow stock to graze intently for two to four days, before being moved on.
Tim introduced the principles and practices of holistic management, including establishing small paddocks, rotational grazing of their sheep and cattle, and a leader-follow system of grazing, with sheep following cattle. Soil organic matter content and fertility have improved, leading to increases in pasture availability and quality, and improving production even in time of reduced rainfall.
Out of the ashes with multi species pasture cropping expert Col Seis
Today, Kerry chats with Colin Seis; a mixed farmer from the Gulgong area of New South Wales. Col has come from a traditional cropping and grazing family and experienced an ecological crash back in the 1970s. This set them up to be quite vulnerable to the bushfires that came afterwards.
In those fires, Col lost everything and was badly burned. He had rebuild everything from the ground up. And he started to think about the future survival of himself, his family and his farm. So his focus quickly changed to low input agriculture and focussed on what he could do differently to remain resilient in the future.
This is a real story of the phoenix rising... how one farming family faced adversity and came out of the ashes with new innovative methods for our future farming generations
In this episode we explore:
•the innovative land management technique; multi species pasture cropping
•low and no input agriculture
•holistic grazing management
•and the importance of plant and species diversity
More about Col:
Colin Seis and Daryl Cluff pioneered 'pasture cropping' in 1993 and since that time. Col ha find tuned and improved the technique on his farm, Winona. Due to this it is now possible to frow many different types of winter and summer sown crops, without destoing the perennial pasture base. The practice has now spread to all states of Australia and in a growing number of countries worldwide.
Pasture Cropping is an innovative land management technique that enables annual crops to be grown opportunistically into dormant perennial pastures or pastures whose competitive capacity have temporarily been suppressed by grazing, and/or selective herbicides to enable the successful growth of annual crops.
Col has seen the need for fast tracking improvement in degraded soil and grassland as well as producing crops for human consumption or stock feed. Since 2010 he has been developing 'multi species pasture cropping' with the aim of producing better quality forage and improving soil health even more than single species pasture cropping.
From little things big things grow with 6th generation farmer Michael Taylor
On Ground Cover today, Kerry is joined by Michael Taylor, a sixth generation wool producer from Kentucky, on the Northern Tablelands of NSW. Michael's family were one of the original settlers of the New England region. His parents, John and Vicky Taylor, discovered the real causes of the New England die back problem. The family tradition of experimentation and continuous learning is certainly instilled in Michael's approach to farming.
Michael is our Agroforestry champion; diversifying his farm practices to create greater resilience for future generations. While also running a Merino sheep enterprise of the highest ethical standard.
In this episode we hear about:
•the lessons the Taylors learned through experiencing major droughts over 3 generations
•over clearing and over grazing and it's impact on die back
•how Michael has diversified farm practices with timber and agroforestry
•the importance of shelter in creating a functioning ecosystem
•the impact of aesthetics on their property
More about Michael Taylor:
Michael is the Managing Partner at Taylors Run mixed agricultural business, a family run Merino sheep and wool enterprise started in 1839. He has also taken on the further development of the agroforestry enterprise adding value for future generations. Both of these roles in the farm management include the responsibility of being a land custodian and steward in a competitive commercial environment. Continuous improvement of water use efficiency and regenerative farming practices provide a good education and demonstration site for other landholders.
His involvement in the wool industry extends to two grower groups endeavouring to close the gap between producers and end users of Merino wool in apparel. Tablelands Merino is a regional group of only superfine Merino growers offering wool with guaranteed next-to-skin comfort. He is also a founding member and Director of Australian Ethical Merino Growers Co-operative.
In his previous role as Director with Southern New England Landcare he contributed to an organisation that provides support to landholders in the region wishing to embark on better Natural Resource Management (NRM) projects. He is still involved as a peer mentor in the Agri-woodlands Group, helping landholders with their tree management projects.
Michael studied Civil Engineering through RMIT, and worked with Hyder Consulting and Baulderstone-Hornibrook in Melbourne after completing his degree. Michael feels that Engineering has provided a strong base bringing another angle of professionalism into his current roles.
Specialties include: civil engineering (roads and water), farm and small business management, wool and sheep classing, sheep breeding, cattle breeding, farm forestry management (siliviculture, harvesting and sawn timber processing), professional photography, medium scale graphic design and publishing.
Can’t get enough
Are you still continuing with the podcast?
When’s the next season??? Cracking resource, insightful, practical and educational!
Such a great resource and sooo practical with fantastic actionable strategies and innovative farmers who have had the get and go to make changes for the better.
Fantastic to hear about the economic impacts on their businesses also. The reduced need for big machinery - with large capital investment (not to mention the big fossil fuel costs, the massive reduction in spend inputs such as chemicals).
When’s the next season? Such a shame not to continue this fantastic podcast!
Well done on an informative podcast series laid out by well educated, motivated and grounded people. Look forward to perhaps a second series.