The final round of the Federal Government’s Smart Farms Small Grants program has now been finalised, with $13.8 million funding 32 projects across the nation to improve soil health and soil management.

Member for Barker Tony Pasin said the Smart Farms Small Grants allows farmers to collaborate on meaningful projects that help build the capacity needed to successfully undertake land management activities to improve soil resilience.

“Good soil management leads to increased agricultural productivity and profitability resulting in reaching agricultural outcomes such as improved biodiversity benefiting communities across rural and regional Australia.” Mr Pasin said.

“This funding round focuses on soil extension activities, which give farmers and land managers practical tools and information they need, including increasing uptake of soil testing and better soil data, which will allow them to make evidence-based decisions for future growing seasons.” Mr Pasin said.

“The Limestone Coast Landscape Board received a grant of $2 million through the Federal Government’s Smart Farms Small Grants program for their Landscape SA Soil Extension Project.” Mr Pasin said.

“This project will provide for soil extension activities that promote the importance of soil heath and management, as well as educate farmers and land managers to understand the benefits of soil testing and support them in interpreting soil test results.”

“It also aims to empower land managers to take responsibility for their soil health, resulting in improved productivity, profitability and environmental outcomes.” Mr Pasin said.

“Land managers will be equipped with an understanding of the latest soil science and the skills and knowledge to translate soil test results into on-farm action for improved soil health.” Mr Pasin said.

The project will employ four (full-time equivalent) soil extension officers working across seven landscape board regions in South Australia, covering a total of 93 million hectares.

The Limestone Coast and Murraylands and Riverland landscape board regions will each employee a full-time soil extension officer.

Limestone Coast Landscape Board Sustainable Primary Production Team Leader James Hall said the soil extension officers will work with local farming system groups and advisors to support and complement their activities, as well as with local land managers to empower their decision making.

“It is all about making the most of our precious soil resource,” Mr Hall said.

“The soil extension officers will form the core of a community of practice network, and work collaboratively with industry and agriculture groups, soil specialists and researchers across the state to deliver extension activities, as well as promote and facilitate farmer and land manager involvement in the National Soil Monitoring and Incentives Pilot Program.” Mr Hall said.