Inverell farmer Glenn Morris is a man who likes to have his “hands in the soil”.
It’s that love of soil that’s seen him become one of three finalist for one the nation’s most prestigious environmental awards – the Bob Hawke Land Care award.
The award acknowledges people who demonstrated a remarkable commitment to caring for the land, championed better practices and share knowledge with others so that they too can prosper.
Mr Morris has regenerated two degraded properties using sustainable land management practices, which now form the backbone of his award-winning organic beef company Figtrees Organic Farms.
“The soil was totally leached of its nutrients, its mineral cycle was broken and all the organic matter had been removed – it was basically dead,” Mr Morris said.
Because of that, any rain that fell on the property couldn’t soak into the earth and ran straight off the land, making the problem worse.
“The solution is to build more organic matter and the cheapest way to do that is grow it on site,” Mr Morris said.
“We created a grazing management plan and basically did whatever we could to put the cattle in the paddock for a short time, to give the grass a long rest.
“When plants are resting, they recover and pump carbon into the soil, which builds bio mass, that becomes the source of healthy soil.”
Mr Morris said the old way of looking at the landscape as a “blank canvas” to create a product from was finished.
“We need a new and complete view of the landscape, and all the services it can provide,” he said.
In June, Mr Morris made national headlines when he crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge on horseback to raise awareness about the impact climate change has on the nations farmers.
“It was something I’ve been thinking about for 12 years, so I decided to go for it,” he said
“We need to get fair dinkum about climate change. Being a farmer, you know when you are hit hard by extreme weather conditions.”
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