NRM North has been supporting landholder participation in Property Management Planning (PMP) since 2006. In late 2011, 42 landholders from around the region expressed interest in PMP in response to an advertised opportunity. Agricultural consultants, RM Consulting Group, Macquarie Franklin and AK Consultants were contracted to assist landholders to undertake the planning process.
Current PMP clients were offered the opportunity to access consultant support to update and/or upgrade a PMP or extend it to cover newly acquired land. Fifteen landholders have undertaken this.
The big picture
The purpose of property management planning is to assist landholders with the sustainable management of their natural assets taking into consideration the environmental, social and economic aspects of farming.
Property management planning is an ongoing cycle of reviewing property resource condition and evaluation of management procedures. Landholders are encouraged to do this on a regular basis. This may be done informally or as part of an environmental accreditation process.
Property Management Planning can be undertaken individually or as part of a group. NRM North has traditionally supported geographic clusters of landholders where previous activities and associations have created some level of affiliation between them.
Why this activity is so important
Farms share major assets such as soils and water with the non-farmed environment. A large proportion of Australian biodiversity resides on farms. Farm management can have positive or negative impacts on native flora and fauna as well as assets. Farming businesses can play an important role in restoring, improving or protecting environmental values. In most instances, this should benefit the farm due to enhanced crop or animal productivity and property value. Other benefits of an integrated approach may be expressed in peoples' enhanced well-being through enjoyment of their surroundings and pride of place.
What has been solved
For NRM North and participating landholders, the PMP process solves questions around the best management of assets on participating farms, especially in relation to healthy soils, waterways and biodiversity. Landholders increase their knowledge about methods and benefits of sustainable soil management and protecting, enhancing and restoring biodiversity values.
The PMP process identifies priority areas where NRM North is able to further support landholder activities through provision of funding for on ground activities. The PMP maps and reports are invaluable to guide this investment.
What we have achieved
Forty two landholders have been involved in creating their own Property Management Plan including action plans focussed on addressing natural resource management issues and their own priorities.
Since 2006, a total of 260 landholders managing 326,000 hectares have participated in NRM North's PMP program.
The property management planning process establishes a relationship between landholders and NRM North that increases landholder ability to address key local and regional NRM issues, now and in future years.
The lack of a common background or geographical grouping of participants resulted in individual PMP delivery with little or no interaction between the participants. Although the participants received valuable information about their property they missed out on the benefits and understanding of what is happening within their district that comes from when regional farmer groups interact and share experiences.