One way that DEW supports resilient agricultural landscapes is through its annual sponsorship of the Agricultural Bureau of South Australia’s Sustainable Agriculture Scholarship for farmers, which this year was won by farmer Ellen Zibell from Buckleboo, near Kimba on the Eyre Peninsula.
The scholarship was presented recently at the bureau’s Spirit of Excellence in Agriculture Awards recent presentation dinner by Landscape Services Director Matt Ward.
Ellen runs a mixed farming enterprise with her husband Brett and three children.
Agricultural Bureau of SA Incoming Chair Janette Ridgeway said the $8000 scholarship provides opportunities for young farmers to improve their personal and professional skills that will benefit; the rural industry, the individual in their own business or employment, and the sustainability of natural resources.
‘The promotion of best-practice soil and land management on agricultural lands that provide essential economic and ecosystem services, is a fundamental priority for DEW, the Ag Bureau and the Landscape SA boards,’ Janette said.
Ellen wants to use her scholarship to visit properties interstate to learn from farmers who are using regenerative and sustainable practices.
Her aim is to find alternatives to mainstream thinking on soil and crop management that will improve the health and wellbeing of her family’s farm. She is currently involved with local farming groups and wants to trial alternative crops and practices on local farms.
She also hopes to host an on-farm event next year to disseminate this healthy soils and sustainable farming information to other interested landholders. She wants to engage local school children and agricultural students around the Eyre Peninsula to ensure the next generation of farmers are included.
DEW’s Environmental Unit’s Sustainable Soils team, which includes Tim Herrmann, Giles Forward, Craig Liddicoat and Susan Sweeney, facilitates this award with the goal of supporting partnerships with the agricultural industry to enhance the capacity of land managers to manage land sustainably.
The scholarship was established in memory of Peter and Wendy Olsen, who were tragically killed in a plane accident near Whyalla nearly 20 years ago. Through the award Peter and Wendy’s passion for environmental management and their strong advocacy for sustainable farming practices is acknowledged.
*Pictured are Sam Schmidt, winner Ellen Zibell and Jasmin Piggott (second from right), with Ag Bureau of SA's Janette Ridgway and Mark Grossman (right) and Landscape Services Director Matt Ward