National Farmers' Federation

Australian Farm Biodiversity Certification Scheme trial

The Federal Government Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment has provided $4m in funding to the National Farmers’ Federation to develop and trial the Scheme. Funding has been made available through the $34m Agriculture Stewardship Package.

The package recognises that farmers, as stewards of the environment and as land managers are providing benefits to the wider community. Many small and medium sized farmers would like to do more, and the Australian Government is taking the lead to support further stewardship activities by farmers.

With a wide range of industries, issues and differing priorities, a consultative approach is being adopted in all phases. If you or your organisation wish to be involved in consultation, please contact the project manager by email opearse@nff.org.au

Project Details

The project will run from December 2019 until mid 2022 and will be delivered in 3 Phases:

  • Phase 1 will be completed before the end of July 2020 and will be a stocktake existing Australian Agriculture sector BMPs/Sustainability frameworks and a high-level international search for comparative schemes. This will allow Industry and Government to assess areas of commonality across schemes and make recommendations about next steps.

The Australia Farm Institute has been contracted to deliver the Phase 1 report. More information on the AFI consultation process is available here.

  • Phase 2 will be completed by the end of June 2021 and will involve the development of a certification/verification scheme as well as detailed consultation across a number of commodities and geographic regions.
  • Phase 3 will be completed by mid 2022 and will be an assessment of readiness by farmers to participate in such a scheme, and a small trial of the certification/verification system.

The overall objectives identified for the Australian Farm Biodiversity Certification Scheme Trial include: 

  • Integrate productivity, sustainability and biodiversity on Australian farms to provide lasting benefits to farmers and the community.
  • Ensure Australian farmers can showcase best practice sustainability/biodiversity management of natural resources – and ensure these actions are recognisable by the community and other farmers.

Producer Survey

In June, the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) launched a survey for farmers to have their say in the design of the Australian Farm Biodiversity Certification Scheme Trial. This survey has now closed.

Webinar Recording:

The webinar below was recorded on 4 May 2020 as part of the Australian Farm Institute project investigating critical success factors for an Australian Farm Biodiversity Scheme. The presentations feature AFI Executive Director Richard Heath and NFF General Manager, Natural Resource Management Warwick Ragg. A final 1-hour webinar for this project will be held on Tuesday May 19th (register via link above).

The project will consult with an agricultural industry Stakeholder Reference Group, which comprises of representatives from the following organisations:

  • Grain Growers Limited
  • Sheep Producers Australia
  • Cotton Australia
  • Cattle Council of Australia
  • Australian Farmers for Climate Action
  • Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia
  • AgForce Queensland Farmers Limited
  • Victorian Farmers Federation
  • NSW Farmers’ Association
  • NRM Regions