Funded projects to help develop soil workforce and use of soil data

The Albanese Government’s agenda to build a more sustainable agriculture sector has taken another step forward, with $20 million in funding awarded to 17 projects across states and territories to implement the National Soil Action Plan.

Delivery of the projects will help develop soil workforce capabilities, accelerate the adoption of land use and management practices that protect soil, and support the collection and use of soil data to inform best practice management and decision making, amongst other benefits.

One project will be based in the Northern Territory and will train and mentor graduates in all aspects of soil investigation and survey.

Graduates will gain experience in soil survey planning, remote area field programs, synthesising data, and presenting and publishing new land resource information and mapping products.

Another project will increase drought resilience in Victoria by targeting agriculture management practice changes that improve soil structure and function. This will enable greater water storage for plants, reduce nutrient loss to the environment, and increase the potential to build soil carbon.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Murray Watt said the Albanese Government is committed to ongoing work to protect soils and improve soil health.

“These projects will strengthen Australia’s soil health and provide security for future productivity and sustainability in Australia’s agriculture sector.

“We’re partnering with states and territories to progress the action plan through clear, measurable commitments to localised action.

“Knowledge from farmers, land managers, soil researchers, and natural resource management groups will help advance the protection and improvement of our soil health.”

The projects complement investments under the Natural Heritage Trust Climate-Smart Program, including $36 million to improve soil information and soil expertise, and $130 million for on-ground project funding to support farmers to adopt climate-smart sustainable agriculture practices.

Project delivery will commence in the second half of this year, with all projects finishing by June 2028.

The National Soil Action Plan 2023-2028 is the first action plan under the National Soil Strategy.

For more information about successful projects visit the DAFF website.

-DAFF