Ur­ban sprawl study

Shepparton News - Country News - - COBRAM & DISTRICT PONY CLUB TRIALS -

New re­search aimed at boost­ing in­dus­try and com­mu­nity un­der­stand­ing of the chal­lenges posed to agri-busi­ness de­vel­op­ments by an ex­pand­ing ur­ban fringe and chang­ing ru­ral de­mo­graphic has been re­leased by 2015 Nuffield Scholar and NSW pri­mary pro­ducer Ber­nadette Mortensen.

The re­port in­ves­ti­gates the vi­a­bil­ity of agribusi­nesses in a chang­ing land­scape, and the ef­fect of ur­ban sprawl on ex­ist­ing land uses, as well as the role of pol­icy and leg­is­la­tion in shap­ing the next wave of agri-busi­ness growth.

With sup­port from Wool­worths, Mrs Mortensen was mo­ti­vated to un­der­take her Nuffield Schol­ar­ship af­ter ex­pe­ri­enc­ing first-hand the chal­lenges that land use and plan­ning pro­cesses can pose to agri-busi­ness de­vel­op­ment.

As an av­o­cado and freerange chicken pro­ducer on the NSW cen­tral coast, Mrs Mortensen has had to grap­ple with com­plex plan­ning pro­cesses to en­sure the vi­a­bil­ity of her busi­ness, and was keen to use her Nuffield ex­pe­ri­ence to im­prove in­dus­try and com­mu­nity un­der­stand­ing of the chal­lenges and op­por­tu­ni­ties posed by our chang­ing ur­ban and ru­ral land­scapes.

‘‘My Nuffield re­search set out to in­ves­ti­gate ru­ral ex­pan­sion and di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and the mo­ti­va­tions be­hind ob­ject­ing to or ap­prov­ing de­vel­op­ments, and looked at so­lu­tions to build bet­ter en­gage­ment be­tween farm­ers, com­mu­ni­ties and gov­ern­ments to pri­ori­tise the im­por­tance of food pro­duc­tion and meet com­mu­nity ex­pec­ta­tions,’’ Mrs Mortensen said.

‘‘It found that a re­newed ap­proach to com­mu­ni­ca­tion, flex­i­bil­ity and un­der­stand­ing in plan­ning and farm di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion was needed, in or­der for farm­ers to re­main fi­nan­cially vi­able and to feed a grow­ing global pop­u­la­tion.’’

Mrs Mortensen’s re­search con­firmed that many other agri­cul­tural coun­tries faced sim­i­lar chal­lenges when the vi­a­bil­ity of farm­ing was im­pacted by seg­ments of the com­mu­nity that had lim­ited un­der­stand­ing of the re­sources needed to pro­duce food, and an as­sump­tion that scale and in­ten­si­fi­ca­tion au­to­mat­i­cally led to poorer en­vi­ron­men­tal, com­mu­nity and an­i­mal wel­fare out­comes.

The re­port rec­om­mends that gov­ern­ment and agribusi­ness im­prove co­op­er­a­tion, and fo­cus on im­prov­ing map­ping and data col­la­tion around ex­ist­ing land use, de­vel­op­ments and ap­proved tech­nolo­gies.

. . . a re­newed ap­proach to com­mu­ni­ca­tion, flex­i­bil­ity and un­der­stand­ing in plan­ning and farm di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion was needed, in or­der for farm­ers to re­main fi­nan­cially vi­able and to feed a grow­ing global pop­u­la­tion. Ber­nadette Mortensen

NSW farmer Ber­nadette Mortensen used her Nuffield schol­ar­ship to boost in­dus­try and com­mu­nity un­der­stand­ing of the chal­lenges posed to agri-busi­ness de­vel­op­ments by an ex­pand­ing ur­ban fringe and chang­ing ru­ral de­mo­graphic.

Chal­lenges ex­plained . . .

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