Farming and farmers have always been a large and important part of Landcare and 40 per cent of Australian farmers are members of Landcare groups while Landcare reaches 75 per cent of farmers and land managers.
Landcare farming systems include activities known as “Best Management Practices” and “Sustainable Agricultural Practices”. The development of these practices is a work in progress driven by agricultural industries as they seek to maintain profitability while meeting community expectations about natural resource management.
Despite extensive efforts to date, land degradation problems persist in large areas of rural and regional Australia. Landcare farming can improve profitability, and improve the farm’s capacity to cope with adversity.
Surveys have consistently shown that farmers who are Landcare group members are on average 50 per cent more likely to adopt a more sustainable practice that farmers who are not Landcare group members.
The challenge of Landcare farming is to develop farming systems that suit the uniquely Australian environment which becomes ever more important as well as difficult as climate change marches on.
Landcare is an Australian movement of people on the land as well as in urban areas. Together, they care for land, water and wildlife, and are supported in this by state and federal governments, as well as business.
There are 1800 Landcare groups in NSW in 2006 and 50 % of these name weed control and revegetation their most common issues.
Landcare groups make up their own policies and rules and develop their individual focus, based on member interests and natural events. Most Landcare groups operate on privately owned land and the majority of Landcarers are farmers.
Bellinger Landcare Inc was founded in 1997 with an equal representation of groups and management committee members from the Dorrigo Plateau, the Bellinger Valley and the coast.
The constitution has been adapted over the years to more accurately reflect how this organisation functions and what it does and membership is now open to individuals as well as groups at no cost.
Bellinger Landcare Inc employs Landcare Staff who support Landcare activities locally.
In our region Landcare is partnered and supported by the North Coast Local Land Services (formerly known as the Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority). The LLS is the NSW Government Department which manages natural resource management and native vegetation http://northcoast.lls.nsw.gov.au/.
Its programs and policies follow the Northern Rivers Catchment Action Plan (CAP) which was developed through an extensive community consultation process. The plan identifies priority natural resource issues and provides for targeted actions to manage and address these issues.