Atherton Compost in Agriculture Workshop identifies opportunities in the region

It was great to see such a large turnout for the Compost in Agriculture workshop held at Walkamin Monday 28 March.  A total of 48 people attended including representatives from horticulture, agriculture, grazing, extension, industry organisations, NRM, agronomists, local government, state government, community, sustainability and business.

You can find the main workshop presentation by David Hall (Australian Organics Recycling Association) here and the spreadsheet David spoke about here.

The Growcom Hort360, Farm business resilience planning and Reef Certification presentation delivered by Phillip Laycock and Karen George can be downloaded here

The presentation from Tony Potter from Regional Development Australia is also available – Compost for a farming future.  

The workshop closed with a discussion about identifying opportunities to address some of the barriers that exist. These barriers include:

  • limited grower access to a consistent supply of quality compost in the region
  • access to knowledge and expertise with respect to the effective application of compost to support grower production goals
  • costs in the compost production cycle/sourcing compost materials.  

This discussion saw the workshop attendees identify the need for the formation of a regional compost network to support the evolution of a sustainable compost economy, and that a letter will be written to Regional Development Australia (RDA - Far North), Australian Organics Recycling Association  (AORA) and The Far North Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils (FNQROC) noting the following:

  • that the workshop attendees identified a need for a Wet Tropics regional compost network (includes all stakeholders noted above) and Working group to be formed to continue discussing and investigating the opportunities and issues identified by the RDA – Compost for a farming future project and the workshop.
    • the networks goals would be to:
      • identify and prioritise the needs to support improved access to quality compost for growers and graziers
      • identify opportunities for efficiencies in the compost production cycle/identify opportunities for cost recovery/offsetting/savings through the compost production cycle
      • identify local and regional research needs
      • identify and seek funding to support projects
      • support awareness of the value to local economies and the environment of composting household organic waste – promote local government and community initiatives
      • connect stakeholders to support the development of local networks supporting compost production and research
      • support the evolution of a sustainable compost economy from source to farm application
  • that the workshop attendees request support and assistance from RDA-FNQ, FNQ-ROC and AORA to establish and facilitate the network and working group as it establishes and works towards its own sustainable operating model.

A number of the people attending the workshop are already actively engaged in the production of compost and associate products or involved in soil health programs and education.  

The workshop was made possible with the support of Queensland Government, Australian Organics Recycling Association, Queensland Farmers Federation and Growcom.