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Extending Principles of Sustainable Agriculture

R.E. Chaffey and W.K. Gardner

Department of Agriculture, Victorian Institute for Dryland Agriculture Private Bag 260, Horsham VIC 3401

During the last decade, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of conservation projects involving group formation and discussion as the primary process of information transmission and technology adoption. Victorian examples include "Landcare" and "soil-care" projects, agricultural initiatives on sustainable and diversified farming systems and many projects in the salinity area. Whilst it is relatively easy to either directly establish groups or cause them to be created in the community, it is more difficult to meet their information needs. This is exacerbated by the fact that the staff assigned to act as co-ordinators/ facilitators of the groups are generally newly appointed, young staff with little or no relevant experience. Unfortunately, because of their other commitments, it is not feasible to assign the more experienced technically expert staff to service the information requirements of the groups on a one-to-one basis. With this in mind staff at the Victorian Institute for Dryland Agriculture have decided to package the information sought by the many community-based groups in a form which can readily be understood and discussed without having to rely on the presence of more technically expert staff.


The information is being provided through the publication of a series of booklets and videos under the general title of "Principles of Sustainable Agriculture" addressing the following topics:

The target audience includes landholders, agricultural colleges, secondary colleges, govern ment departments and other appropriate bodies.

Results and discussion

Booklets and videos on the first titles have been completed and distributed to a number of institutions including secondary schools, Landcare groups (Victorian and interstate), Depart ment of Conservation and Environment, Departments of Agriculture (Victorian and interstate). Very favourable responses have been received from land care co-ordinators and farming organisations both in Victoria and interstate. The remaining titles are in process and will be completed during 1992.

The material has also received wide publicity in newspapers and local television news reports and through displays at field days and other farmer gatherings.

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