A new partnership between iconic Australian brands Country Road and Landcare Australia is set to improve biodiversity on cotton farms, with support from CRDC, Cotton Australia and CottonInfo.
Funded by a corporate contribution and funds raised via the sale of its famous Verified Australian Cotton Heritage Sweats, Country Road will contribute a minimum $600,000 to the partnership over three years, with funds raised going to Landcare Australia to support biodiversity restoration projects.
The partnership draws on CRDC-supported work that mapped biodiversity in Australian cotton landscapes, identified threatened and endangered species and recommended ways to protect them - which you can find here. This was achieved with support from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program Smart Farming Partnership Initiative Round 1.
The initial project will be implemented by the Kahl family in the Namoi Valley, NSW. Third generation cotton farmers, the Kahl family will participate in the program by revegetating a river system that flows through their property and excluding stock to increase habitat and shelter for native animals, reduce erosion and improve water quality.
Other growers will be engaged in future rounds of funding, and all growers and those in the industry can actively help by purchasing a Country Road Verified Australian Cotton Heritage Sweat online.
What they said:
Landcare Australia CEO, Dr Shane Norrish:
“Landcare Australia is very proud to launch this partnership with Country Road and the Australian cotton industry to develop projects focused on biodiversity conservation with cotton farmers. The projects will help to restore local ecosystems and contribute to the sustainable management and productivity of the landscape.
“The partnership is a powerful example of how Landcare Australia brings together organisations to work on projects that will have a meaningful impact for farmers, the environment and the local community. We are very pleased to be working with Country Road, the Australian cotton industry and cotton growers on biodiversity projects that will protect habitat for a range of native plants and animals, including threatened species."
Cotton Australia CEO, Adam Kay:
“This is an incredibly exciting opportunity and the first time a corporate partner has come on board to directly support our biodiversity work on farm. We hope the funds from Country Road, and the support of Landcare Australia will help further engage our growers in biodiversity activities.
“We know from the research that our farms provide critical habitat for Australia’s native plants and animals, and when managed well these areas also bring benefits to the farm by providing natural pest control, improving soil health and storing and sequestering carbon.
CottonInfo NRM Technical Lead, and CRDC R&D Manager, Stacey Vogel:
"We're also adding to the launch project in other ways. This includes a five-hectare research trial by UNE to investigate which revegetation methods have the greatest survival rates on floodplain soils as well as the initial biodiversity mapping work which helps identify target areas for biodiversity enhancement works.
"Cotton industry research shows that while there have been some great steps forward, more needs to be done to protect and improve biodiversity on cotton farms and adjacent landscapes. We hope this partnership with Landcare Australia and Country Road will help focus industry efforts, accelerate our biodiversity work and provide a lasting legacy for our growers, our communities and the natural environment."