A PIONEER farming property’s future hangs in the balance, nearly three months after calls were made to Environment Minister Rob Stokes to protect the home of Natural Sequence Farming from KEPCO’s Bylong Valley coal mine.
Tarwyn Park is where, since the 1970’s. the The Andrews family developed the Natural Sequence Farming system. It centres on restoration of natural hydrology across the landscape.
The Andrews and their supporters called on Environment Minister Mark Speakman in mid-July to issue a Heritage Order for the property, when the Korean coal proponent took possession of the land.
But nearly three months later the Minister is yet to consider the case – despite being presented with a 4,500 signature-strong petition to protect the property.
“The Office of Environment and Heritage is undertaking a preliminary investigation, and will make a recommendation to the Minister for his consideration,” a spokesman for the Minister said.
Natural Sequence Farming involves contouring the landscape and water courses to slow water movement, to stabilise erosion, maximise soil moisture and generate mulching to distribute nutrients. Soil carbon has jumped dramatically while Tarwyn was run as a beef production enterprise.
Peter Andrews is advising the Mulloon Institute, near Braidwood, on integrating Natural Sequence Farming techniques into its landscape restoration work.
NSW’s Environment Trust gave Mulloon $100,000 in August and it was also selected by the United Nations as one of five international showcase projects for sustainable agriculture.
Former federal Special Minister of State and Mulloon chairman Gary Nairn wants KEPCO to allow “ongoing access (to Tarwyn) so that the unique landscape restoration can be documented in detail and for it to be used for practical studies as part of training people in how to regenerate and rehydrate degraded landscapes.”
KEPCO has said it won’t damage the gains made under Natural Sequence Farming and that its mine application should be approved.