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Amy Perry


Creation date: 07 February 2022


Introducing Amy Perry

 

Jerilderie agronomist Amy Perry knows a lot about sustainable cropping practice. But when it came time to write her application for the LEAD scholarship program, Amy didn’t talk about products, rotations, soil care or farming operations. She talked about people.

 

She chose to respond to the topic of sustainability - the meaning, practices and behaviours that need to change for us to be truly sustainable and feed the growing world – and the key point that secured her place as a 2021 finalist was that ultimately, sustainability is about people.

 

Here’s some of what she said:

Sustainability comes down to people, working together to achieve sustainability objectives. Initially behind the farm gate is where it begins, working to achieve agronomy best practices and the best outcomes from an environmental perspective. People involved in these businesses are a part of the discussion surrounding sustainability, as they are making everyday decisions that will affect future generations. Industry bodies are crucial to developing new technologies and practices for sustainable farming. In order to achieve sustainability outcomes, the best practices that are communicated from our relevant industry bodies need to be easily adopted and implemented on farm.

When thinking about sustainability in agriculture I immediately think of what that means at a farm level.

 

The ecological aspect of sustainability can be improved at a farm level. There are so many opportunities on farm to make a difference to environmental sustainability. When considering management on farm, careful consideration needs to be given to natural resources so that future generations are not hindered by decisions we make today. An example of this is supplying the soil with adequate nutrients to achieve crop yields and a surplus reserve to allow soil microbes to cycle nutrients. This avoids depleting soil nutrients for short term profit that will reduce the productivity of the land for future generations.

 

The human capital on farm is responsible for implementing best practices to achieve sustainable farming. There is a diverse range of people within these farming businesses that include families, business people, laborers, the eager next generation and many others.

 

The future of Australian agriculture relies on these people having the same philosophy with regard to sustainability.

 

This philosophy revolves around improving the productivity of their land without compromising future generations to do the same. To achieve this, the sector needs motivated people who want to be involved in agriculture, starting with educating people, particularly those who are removed from rural communities that usually wouldn’t have access to the opportunities in agriculture.

 

In family farming businesses succession planning is critical to the long-term objectives of the business and property. Laborers need to be supported and well looked after so they stay in the area and work on farms. The long-term success of sustainable agriculture requires this range of people to play a crucial role as they are a part of the decision making now that will affect the future.

 

The agricultural industry bodies are responsible for delivering best practices for sustainable farming and filtering it down to farmers. In order make progress as an industry, there needs to be clearly set goals and targets that can be achieved in certain timeframes. After looking at the various industries, many had websites discussing sustainability aims but it was uncommon to find set dates to achieve these aims or a review on how they were tracking. It is inadequate to declare just the goals to achieve improvements in sustainability - the industries need to be accountable for making steps to actually achieve their goals.

Sustainability is crucial to the longevity of our agricultural industry.

 

To me sustainability means to look after the land and the people who are responsible for the land, to guarantee future generations have opportunities that won’t be compromised. Starting behind the farm gate there needs to be adoption of industry best practices, listening to our customers and keeping in mind the health of the environment. To accomplish this, we need an industry that educates, guides and is accountable for implementing sustainable practices.


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