​​Media Release

Healthy soils to grow Australian farm sector

28 March 2018

  • Minister Littleproud welcomes the Restore the Soil: Prosper the Nation report from Australian Soils Advocate Major-General the Hon Michael Jeffery
  • Coalition Government investing $450 million in Regional Land Partnership program and $134 million in Smart Farms program to improve soil health
  • The Agriculture Ministerial Council will be asked to consider the report

Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud today met with Australia's National Soils Advocate to welcome the release of his new report into the importance of soil to Australia's farmers and food supply. 

Minister Littleproud thanked Major-General the Hon Michael Jeffery for his five years of leadership and third report; Restore the Soil: Prosper the Nation. 

"Farmers depend hugely on the health of their soil. Soil is as important as air and water to farm productivity," Minister Littleproud said. 

"Without healthy soil the Australian economy and food supply would be at huge risk because our farm sector would falter. Healthy soils are key to achieving the ambitious target of growing agriculture to a $100 billion industry by 2030. 

"The Coalition Government is investing in soil health so our farmers can pass on healthy, sustainable farms to the next generation. 

"In 2017 we established a Cooperative Research Centre for High Performance Soil with an initial investment of $39.5 million over 10 years to help bridge the gap between soil science and farm management. 

"The $450 million in Regional Land Partnerships will continue the legacy of Landcare by concentrating on projects that improve the health of soils on farms. 

"Our $134 million Smart Farms program will also promote the adoption of next generation ideas that will improve soil, vegetation and biodiversity conditions and support agricultural systems to adapt to change. 

"Around 95 per cent of the world's food is directly or indirectly produced from soil. If we don't have healthy soils we won't have healthy and nutritious food." 

General Jeffery said "properly integrating the management of our key strategic soil, water and plant assets is fundamental to maximising agricultural productivity and prosperity." 

"During my time as National Soils Advocate, I have travelled the nation working with thousands of farmers to develop a plan that keeps soil health a driver of government policy," General Jeffery said. 

Minister Littleproud has asked his state ministerial colleagues on the Agriculture Ministerial Council to also consider the report so it can be discussed at future meetings. 

The report is available at: http://bit.ly/2Gi9Nvp