Corangamite landholder’s 50,000 tree and shrub eco plan wins Bob Hawke Landcare Award

Branding for Award winner and photo of man wearing hat

Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia announces Corangamite landholder’s 50,000 tree and shrub eco plan wins Bob Hawke Landcare Award

AUGUST 6 2021: A Corangamite landholder living on the fringes of the Otway Ranges has landed the Australian Government sponsored Bob Hawke Landcare Award for his ambitious regeneration activities on his family farm.

The Hon. David Littleproud announced the winner at last night’s 2021 National Landcare Awards. Andrew Stewart scooped the title for environmental and sustainable agricultural advancements on Yan Yan Gurt West Farm. His work on this 230-hectare grazing and agroforestry property, includes the establishment of 50,000 trees and shrubs, increasing woody vegetation across the farm from 3 per cent to 18 per cent.

The Bob Hawke Landcare Award recipient is awarded a prize package, sponsored by the Australian Government of $50,000 for further development of their knowledge and skills in sustainable land management to enable an even stronger contribution to Landcare.

Celebrating the win, Minister Littleproud commended Andrew Stewart’s sustainable agricultural approach and innovative on-farm techniques which have resulted in a significant increase in biodiversity and habitat restoration without impacting on output. The Minister hailed Andrew Stewart as an example of exemplary, adaptable practices and an extremely worthy recipient of the coveted title.

Thirty years ago, the family developed a whole farm plan and mission statement for Yan Yan Gurt West Farm to address environmental issues such as gully erosion, salinity, waterlogging, ecological decline and livestock and pasture exposure.

The property has been fenced to land classes and trees and shrubs have been planted along land class boundaries. Other areas fenced and revegetated with multi-purpose plantations include, creeks, drainage lines, remnant vegetation, salt affected areas and waterlogged sites.

These plantings have been connected to form a web of trees meandering across the farming landscape providing, soil, pasture and livestock protection, nutrient cycling, waterway protection, wild life corridors, improved aesthetics and wellbeing for people who live, work and visit the farm. There is now a 23km interface of trees and shrubs to pasture and 113 bird species recorded.

Modelling suggests carbon neutrality will be achieved when revegetation increases from the current 18 per cent to 20 per cent of the property. While multi-purpose trees and shrubs have formed a robust biological infrastructure, which underpins the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the farm.

Andrew and his family have been key drivers of the Yan Yan Gurt Creek Catchment community revegetation program with 98 per cent of the 18km creek completed and forming a wildlife corridor connecting many farms.

The Bob Hawke Landcare Award is supported by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program. The campaign received 120 nominations for the award demonstrating the strong interest from farmers, landowners and landcare groups.

See more information about the Bob Hawke Landcare Award and Andrew Stewart, and watch video.

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