For World Soil Day 5th December 2016, Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Luke Hartsuyker has acknowledged the critical importance of soil in Australia’s food chain and the role it plays in supporting a productive and sustainable agriculture sector.
“In the same way that milk doesn’t come from a bottle, food doesn’t come from a supermarket shelf,” Minister Hartsuyker said.
“The food we eat every day depends on the quality of Australia’s soil. World Soil Day celebrates this vital piece of the food puzzle and its contribution not only to what ends up on our plates, but also to climate regulation, hydrological services, biodiversity and natural habitat.
“Our farmers rely on the condition of their soil for the production of the healthy, clean and high quality food and fibre that they are renowned for.
“Export earnings from farm commodities are forecast at an estimated $44 billion in 2016-17. This production depends on healthy and productive soil.”
Healthy soils produce healthy food, which is why the Australian Government – through the National Landcare Programme – is investing a total of $1 billion over four years to 2017-18 to help communities deliver more sustainable agriculture, and support the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of Australia’s natural environment.
“This funding supports farmers and other land managers to adopt practices that promote soil health, including reduced tillage, retaining good ground cover to reduce soil loss from erosion, and addressing soil acidification,” Minister Hartsuyker said.
“The government is committed to improving soil and biodiversity management for farms across Australia.
“Initiatives like World Soil Day and soil champions like our own National Advocate for Soil Health, Major General the Hon. Michael Jeffery, can get people talking and looking at new and better ways to manage and understand our soils.
“World Soil Day unites scientists, farmers and other land managers, and offers up unique insights on the processes underpinning changes in our landscape, how they can be improved, and how we can all work together to make sure the foundation of our food production remains healthy and prosperous for generations to come.”