Environmental ‘maverick’ to address Summit

Controversial land manager and racehorse breeder Peter Andrews will address the Summit on the Sustainability & Viability of Agriculture in South Australia, to be hosted by the South Australian Farmers’ Federation (SAFF) in Parliament House, Adelaide, this week (July 29-30).

For much of his life, Mr Andrews has railed against conventional wisdom and battled to have his ideas for environmental management and sustainable production accepted.

His struggles and, more lately, triumphs were featured in ABC TV’s Australian Story Program Of Droughts and Flooding Rains, aired in June this year.

Mr Andrews, has been variously labelled a crackpot and genius, but his farming methods have captured the imagination of one of Australia’s richest and most prominent businessmen Gerry Harvey of the Harvey Norman furniture and electrical empire. Mr Andrew has done major on-ground rehabilitation work on Mr Harvey’s bloodstock stud in NSW’s Widden Valley.

His work has also gained the support of Dr John Williams, a former head of CSIRO’s Land and Water division.

Mr Andrews’ ideas go under the broad banner of ‘natural sequence farming’, put simply, a process of restoring streams and wetlands to the state they were in prior to European settlement. In following this path, Mr Andrews has rejuvenated salinity affected properties and produced green pastures on land surrounded by drought-ravaged farms.

SAFF General Manager Carol Vincent said she was delighted to have Mr Andrews on board for the Summit.

“I think Peter epitomises exactly what this Summit is all about,” she said.

“The Summit is not going to be about everybody feeling good – it’s about feeling uncomfortable, about visionary concepts, about taking people outside the square.

“Peter Andrews is someone who has refused to be bound by conventional wisdom, farming or environmental practices and has striven – often at great personal cost – to find new ways to make agriculture sustainable in Australia.

“Whether you agree with him or not, he will certainly be someone who will challenge the farming, scientific and political communities to think of new solutions to ensure agriculture has a future.”

Date of Publication: 26 Jul 05 1:00pm ACST

Source: ezigrain Journalist

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