19th Annual SANTFA conference (SANF116)

START

September 1, 2016

FINISH

March 1, 2017

Summary

The 19th Annual SANTFA conference was held on Friday 24 February at Tanunda. The theme of the conference was soil health, focusing on practical information with respect to implementing cover cropping on farm and addressing soil health concerns.

Speakers from interstate and overseas headlined the conference, including leading US farmers John Heermann and Rick Bieber, Australian Farmer of the Year Grant Sims and Ben Beck from Wagga Wagga. Survey results indicated that the conference was one of most successful and informative conferences in recent times.

Background

The South Australian No-Till Farmers Association (SANTFA) is a non-profit farmer driven organisation working to increase the area of no-till farming and to attract new supporters to conservation farming. The association holds an annual conference to provide growers with information and tools to improve their farming operations.

Research Aims

The objective of the project was to hold the SANTFA annual conference with the theme of soil health. Specific targets were 200 attendees at the conference and at least 20 per cent of new farmers attending the conference for the first time.

In The Field

The four headlining speakers discussed their experiences with establishing and managing regenerative agricultural systems and what can be achieved from working with nature to enhance soil health, vitality and productivity.

All four are farming in low-moisture environments and using minimum or zero tillage systems, diverse rotations, cover crops and cattle. The two Australian speakers also use controlled traffic systems and one aims to avoid all chemical inputs including chemical fertilisers, which he has replaced with a fermented biological product.

The conference was promoted widely leading up to the conference through SANTFA’s social media: Twitter (2330 followers) and Facebook (960 likes), as well as direct SMS and emails to the membership database (more than 450 members). The ABC Country Hour also promoted and broadcast from the conference along with promotion through the SANTFA website and quarterly journal, “The Cutting Edge”.

Results

The conference attracted 150 participants, with 23 per cent attending for the first time, and survey results indicated that the conference was one of most successful and informative conferences in recent times.

Project Participants

SANTFA: Leighton Pearce

The Problem

The annual SANTFA conference provides extension on conservation farming topics to South Australian growers.

The research

What was done?

More information

Leighton Pearce, SANTFA
T: 0427688028
E: [email protected]

Value for Growers

The 2017 SANTFA Annual conference was successful, with very positive feedback given via the survey conducted, despite lower than anticipated numbers. A higher than expected number of first timers attend the conference to learn about soil
regeneration.

Each speaker’s session was audio recorded and the recordings are available through SANTFA’s podcasting channel “Radio SANTFA” through iTunes. From the conference, several articles have been written and included in the latest edition of SANTFA’s quarterly journal, “The Cutting Edge”. Several news items were also created and published in the Stock Journal (SA) and Weekly Times (Vic).

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