Reef Guardian Farmers pilot kicks off in Cairns region

Published: 19/07/2011

The Reef Guardian Farmers has kicked off in the Cairns region today with local cane growers signing on to the cane pilot program.

Local cane farmer Mark Savina has become the first farmer in the region to join Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority's stewardship recognition program which aims to promote farmers' good land practices that help to improve the health of the Reef.

Reef Guardian Program Director Karen Vohland said the Marine Park Authority was delighted to work with cane farmers along the Great Barrier Reef to help protect the Reef for the future.

"We are developing this voluntary program with industry for industry," she said.

"As part of this we'll showcase the positive environmental work being undertaken by farmers.

"This includes farming practices that improve water quality, soil health, energy efficiency and ensure nutrients don't wash into water ways.

"By fostering a sense of ownership amongst landholders whose activities can directly contribute to a healthy marine environment, we hope to inspire other landholders to adopt similar practices."

Sarah Standen, District Manager for Canegrowers Cairns Region said Mark Savina's cane operations were a great example of farming practices that are achieving win-win outcomes for their business and the health of the Great Barrier Reef.

"Mark has a personal goal that his farming practices are the best available."

"This includes using the absolute minimum amount of fertilisers and chemicals needed to get a rewarding cane crop each year, and through using cutting-edge technology ensuring that what goes on his farm stays on his farm."

"He is one of a number of cane growers along the Great Barrier Reef Coastline who are offering their time and insight into sustainable farming practices to help the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority build a program that suits growers' needs and aspirations and achieve positive environmental outcomes as well."

Reef Guardian Farmers is part of a broader Reef Guardian Program, which also involves a Reef Guardian Fishers program within the commercial fishing sector, 13 Councils and over 230 schools taking part in on-ground environmental projects that benefit the Reef.

 


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