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Soils for the Future

14 Mar 2018

Soil is a lot more than just the material that holds up our plants, trees and crops. It is a living organism and is linked directly to our success and our survival. Improving our soil health leads to increased productivity, vegetation and biodiversity on farm.

That’s why the North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) is working together with Agrictulture Victoria to put together the North Central Victoria Regional Soil Action Plan, and they want your input.

“A lot of our region struggles under declining soil health, whether as a result of the natural geomorphology or past farming practices,” North Central CMA Sustainable Agriculture team member Suzanne Johnstone said.

 “Our team is working on finding ways to improve soils across the region, and we want to hear from the community about what their soil priorities are.

“This plan will identify priority areas and develop a long-term plan to improve soil health.

“We want the community to tell us about their soil priorities, whether on private or public land, so we can work together to find solutions and improve the region’s soil health.”

Ms Johnstone said the first step was to conduct a technical review of the soils in the region, which was done in conjuction with Agriculture Victoria.

“We are now rolling out the community consultation, through an online survey and community workshops in April,” she said.

“We want to look at ways to minimise soil loss, reduce salinity and acidification, improve soil properties and work out better ways to manage wet soils.

“We also want to identify how to prevent contamination, enhance the biota of soil, maintain fertility and improve groundcover and organic carbon levels, but we can’t do that without the community’s help.”

Ms Johnstone said it is important for people to understand that soil is a living thing.

“Healthy soil supplies nutrients, water and oxygen to plants, and it also retains and cycles nutrients,” she said.

“It can help suppress pests, diseases and weeds and can sometimes even be resilient to the impact of environmental stresses.

“Soil is a vital living ecosystem that sustains more than just plants. It sustains animals and humans as well.”

To find out more about the North Central Victoria Regional Soil Action Plan, click here, or call 03 5448 7124.