Condamine Headwaters Landcare Group co-ordinator Fiona Morris is looking to re-establish a connection and a lifeline for landholders on the Southern Downs.
Condamine Headwaters Landcare Group co-ordinator Fiona Morris is looking to re-establish a connection and a lifeline for landholders on the Southern Downs. Jonno Colfs

Mental health, financial security focus of landcare group

NO LONGER are landcare groups about planting trees according to recently appointed Condamine Headwater Landcare Group co-ordinator Fiona Morris.

"It's not about being green," she said.

"This is about our livelihoods."

Condamine Headwaters Landcare Group was created by local farmers more than 20 years ago, with the aim of offering a pool of assistance and knowledge between the members.

Mrs Morris, who has a long and diverse agricultural background, said the group was about strategy.

"I'm pushing CHLG to be something people can use," she said.

"To be that support farmers in the area need.

"At the moment I'm devising and developing workshops and farm-walkthroughs based on what I think might be valuable to farmers and landholders in the region, but essentially I need people to come forward and tell me about the issues they are facing.

Mrs Morris said at the end of the day it was all business.

"But there can be many issues getting in the way - be they financial, marketing and even mental health," she said.

"How are you supposed to manage your land if you can't afford to, or you can't sell your product or you're not in the right frame of mind?

"I can then tailor help and information around this, I can bring in a financial planner or a marketing expert to give over tips and ideas to make a difference."

Mrs Morris said her main focus had been to give locals more access to information they needed.

"The idea of CHLG is that we're here to help," she said.

"Whatever the problems are, poor soil, erosion, waterways - whatever is stopping people from making the living they should be.

"Quite often the problems lie in the planning and organisation of the farm."

To help bridge the gap and pass on information that might make a difference, Mrs Morris has been staging numerous workshops since taking over as co-ordinator of CHLG.

The next event will feature a series of farm walks presented by internationally recognised leader in regenerative agriculture Darren Doherty, who has extensive experience across the world in project design, development, management and training.

His career-long focus on the profitable and regenerative retrofit of broadacre landscapes has seen him acclaimed as a pioneer in the field.

Mr Doherty is a fifth- generation Bendigo region farmer, developer, author and trainer and has been involved in the design and development of well over 2500 mostly broadacre projects in more than 50 countries. They range from 1million hectare cattle stations in Australia's Kimberly region to 110,000 acre Estancia's in Patagonia, and family farms across the globe. "If what you're doing on your land isn't working and you realise that if you don't do something to fix it then you're in trouble, then information from a world-leader like Darren could make an immense difference to your operation," Mrs Morris said.

"Soil management is paramount, and most farmers know what they need to do, it's just planning to do it that is the hard part - most farmers simply don't have the time.

"That's where we can help."

To register for the Darren Doherty regenerative farm planning walk-throughs on Wednesday, April 18 phone Helen Lewis on 0418785285.

The farm walk-throughs will take place from 8am in Goomburra and from 1pm in Maryvale.