Victorian Landcare Magazine - Summer 2020, Issue 77

Healthy Hectares engages small property owners

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Sustainable agriculture & farming

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Above Healthy Hectares provides advice on farm planning. Here a tank and solar pump provide water for stock, leaving the dam undisturbed.

A country property is a great change of pace for many living busy Melbourne lives. The chance to slow down, breathe deeply and inhale eucalyptus instead of fumes, maybe grow some vegies or raise some animals, is very appealing.

Many new landholders that I meet express their delight in the space, views and wildlife encounters and often mention they would like to earn some money from their property.

Property planning is the first big step – identifying sensitive areas – watercourses, steep hills and spring soaks. Where is the fire risk and what steps will you take to mitigate that risk? Do you have weed or pest animal issues? Where are the existing fences and water points for stock? Will you have animals and what are the legal obligations you will need to address as a property owner? Where is your native vegetation and do you want to create better links for wildlife?

It’s not easy navigating each of these questions on your own and it can be difficult to find good, general advice and contacts as a new landholder. Healthy Hectares was developed by Euroa Arboretum with funding from BeyondSoilCare and the Goulburn Broken CMA to address the needs of new and small property owners. 

A Healthy Hectares tour at Mansfield on establishing a wetland.

Above: A Healthy Hectares tour at Mansfield on establishing a wetland.

We were aware that small landholders were falling through the cracks for funding assistance, and were time poor, often restricted to visiting their property on weekends. We aimed to create materials that were practical and easily accessible to small landholders. Our Healthy Hectares – a guide for small landholders to create productive and environmentally sustainable properties – developed with Mary Trigger, is a basic introduction to land management. It is available as a download from our new website where there are lots of useful links to websites and local Landcare networks. 

A short course on land management that we run periodically around the Goulburn Broken catchment in conjunction with each local Landcare network has also been very successful. The course is a great way for new and small landholders to meet like-minded folk and get to know their local Landcare facilitators and other professionals who can guide them with property management. 

We are really encouraged by the feedback we’ve received about Healthy Hectares. There are great suggestions for further courses and interest in more detailed information. We love the energy and interest our new and small landholders bring to their properties and the region and look forward to continuing to support them. 

For copies of the guidebook and more information about Healthy Hectares go to

Cathy Olive is project manager at the Euroa Arboretum.

For more information email