Introducing Dr Mary Retallack, Mr Bruce Maynard, and Mr Geoff Bassett as emerging leaders in championing for landcare and natural resource management in Australia for the betterment of our lives.
Agriculture has been improved upon for tens of thousands of years by humans, and leaders and innovators in Australia today have been able to take farming to new heights. New technological achievements are still being made with the hard work of individuals involved in landcare. Dr Mary Retallack, Bruce Maynard, and Geoff Bassett are this year’s finalists for the prestigious Bob Hawke Landcare Award, a national award recognising outstanding individuals who have been leading the movement in natural resource management and sustainable agriculture.
The Bob Hawke Landcare Award is named after former Australian Prime minister, the Hon. Bob Hawke AC, who had contributed greatly to the rise of the landcare movement from grassroots to government. “I am very pleased to maintain an association with Landcare through this award, named in my honour,” said RJL Hawke AC. “The Decade of Landcare initiative I declared in 1989 has now spanned well over three decades. This in itself highlights the need and willingness by community volunteers to continually raise awareness and participation in activities directed at protecting the environment and giving their continued support to ensure that the practice of sustainable farming remains paramount.”
Eligibility for the Bob Hawke Landcare Award includes Australian citizenship and active involvement in landcare, natural resource management, or sustainable agriculture. The advisory panel, comprised of representatives with Indigenous perspectives and experience in farming practice and the community, will evaluate the nominees. With the award comes a prize package of $50,000 for further development of the recipient’s knowledge and skills to continue with even stronger contribution and leadership in landcare.
Dr Mary Retallack
Dr Mary Retallack from SA is an experienced agroecologist, scientist, and third-generation viticulturist involved with the ecological restoration of vineyards throughout Australia. She has pioneered the highly successful EcoVineyards Program, funded by the National Landcare Smart Farms Small Grants and in collaborations with the Wine Grape Council of SA and more than 60 partnering organisations. The program uses Dr Retallack’s research in native insectary plants to influence the wine growing practices of more than 6,000 grape growers around Australia. Dr Retallack’s pursuit of environmental stewardship is a crucial key to the management of over 146,000 hectares of wine grapes throughout the country.
Bruce Maynard from NSW is an agricultural innovator and developer of the No Kill Cropping System, Stress Free Stockmanship competencies, and Self Herding, among many more accomplishments in agricultural techniques. The No Kill Cropping System is a revolutionary technique that retains full grassland functions to result in the consumption of almost no external inputs. His Stress Free Stockmanship competencies and Self Herding are the result of his strong commitment to animal welfare and his collaborative effort in a new field of animal behavioural science with Dr Dean Revell. Mr Maynard has also formed the Constructive Farming Cooperative and shared his innovation and extensive experience with landcarers and farmers all across Australia. The Constructive Farming Cooperative is a group of farmers and researchers committed to furthering the application of regenerative agricultural techniques.
Geoff Bassett from NSW is a specialist in regenerative agriculture and soil health, founder of Farm Mojo, and project leader and research collaborator with The Carbon Farm and Southern Cross University. Being a professional farmer with experience spanning over 40 years, Mr Bassett works on enhancing on-farm soil fertility through microbiology and techniques like mineral balancing and carbon sequestration. His Farm Mojo program supports broad acre farmers across Australia to transition from using contemporary chemicals to working with natural systems. With his extensive work with Landcare groups across Australia for 35 years, Mr Bassett encourages improving economic and environmental outcomes in rural communities, as well as ensuring long term environmental resilience to climate change.
“The work of Dr Retallack, Mr Maynard, and Mr Bassett could not be more important. These finalists are the landcare leaders and innovators that are paving the way for Australia’s sustainable farming future,” said Senator Murray Watt, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. “Their achievements show exactly why farmers, graziers and land managers across Australia need to be part of the conversation on how to address the climate crisis and improve sustainability. Their forward-thinking approach to agriculture is exactly what we need to build resilience and improve environmental outcomes.”
What will the Landcare Award Winner do going forth? Past Award winners have used the funding to educate the wider community and youth through podcasts or partnerships with schools, as well as start agricultural projects to support local farmers. These Award Alumni are doing the utmost to combat the most pressing issues that impact agriculture and our world today— sustainability, resource management, climate change— and we cannot wait to see what this year’s Bob Hawke Landcare Award winner will accomplish.