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Sustainable pastoralism bash culmination of action learning projects

The Southern Rangelands Sustainable Pastoralism ‘Bash’ last month brought together a host of pastoralists who have been working on community-based action learning projects.

Rangelands NRM supported the Yalgoo Producer’s Group field event which was held at Meka Station, about 110km north of Yalgoo from 22-24 October 2013. The event raised a lot of public interest with some 100 attendees over the three days.

Rangelands NRM Sustainable Pastoralism Program Manager Dr Karen Cosgrove said the Caring for Our Country (CfoC) funded Sustainable Pastoralism Program assisted pastoralists to form action groups and run their own group trials to test and evaluate new options for managing their landscapes in a way that delivers improvements to the environment and supports their production system.

“The program encouraged the pastoralists to share what they learn from the trials, identify new ideas or gaps in their knowledge through collaborating and group activities,” Dr Cosgrove said.

Over the past two years, Rangelands NRM has funded various small community-based action learning projects.

The projects were diverse in their aims and outcomes and included supporting the formation of two new interest/industry groups, as well as refreshing Ecologically Sustainable Rangeland Management (ESRM) plans, creating new ESRM plans, camel pitting on eroded land, nutritional shepherding, stress-free stock handling, exclusion fencing to manage dogs, grader workshops, and weed and erosion control workshops.

The Southern Rangelands Sustainable Pastoralism ‘Bash’ was a culmination of this program, which is at the end of its current funding.

“This highlights the move by pastoralists in the Southern Rangelands to embrace the concept of ˜working together collaboratively’ for the benefit of the industry and the environment,” Dr Cosgrove said.

The primary theme of the Bash was re-igniting enthusiasm for the pastoral industry and enhancing communities through collaboration.

“It demonstrated what working together can achieve and the potential benefits of collaboration to tackle ‘wicked’ problems; feral herbivores and wild dog management are examples of these,” Dr Cosgrove said.

Examples of collaboration were on show with presentations of projects that have achieved success through participation and collaboration. Potential opportunities from emerging industries, giving pastoralists an eye to the future, were also discussed.

“The ultimate aim was to encourage the culture of information transfer and action learning as a means to rebuilding, or reshaping the industry and the environment,” Dr Cosgrove said.

Speakers included but were not limited to: Vince Catania MLA; Mark Lewis MLC; Bill Mitchell, Chair NRM Board; Dr Brian Warren General Manager Rangelands NRM WA; Greg Mifsud, National Wild Dog Facilitator Invasive Animal Species CRC; and Andrew Mosely, Western CMA Board NSW.

Other industry bodies represented were Waratah, Southern Wire, Elders, Primaries and Gallagher.

For more information, contact Dr Karen Cosgrove (karenc@rangelandswa.com.au or 0402 657 570)

Image: Attendees at the ˜Bash’ listen to a presentation ©Steven Cosgrove