Victorian farming couple Andrew and Jill Stewart have been awarded the distinguished ‘Australian Government Landcare Farming Award’ for their excellence and leadership in implementing sustainable and integrated land management practices on their 230-hectars property in Corangamite.
The award not only recognises the remarkable work the couple have done on their Yan Yan Gurt West Farm but also the outstanding contribution the couple has made to the Landcare movement across Victoria.
The couples Yan Yan Gurt West Farm, a 230-hectare regenerative grazing and agroforestry property is an astounding example of how to successfully combine regenerative grazing and agroforestry.
Plantings of 50,000 trees and shrubs have increased woody vegetation across the farm from 3 per cent to 18 per cent, without impacting agriculture production.
Mr. Stewart is a founding member of the Otway Agroforestry Network, member of the East Otway Landcare Group, has served on the Australian Landcare Council, was a recipient of the prestigious Bob Hawke Award, the Norman Wettenhall Foundation Landscape Restoration Fellowship, and along with his wife Jill, was the Australian Forest Growers’ 1999 Victorian Tree Farmer of the Year.
The Stewart family have been key drivers of the Yan Yan Gurt Creek Catchment community revegetation program with 98% of the 18km creek now completed forming a wildlife corridor connecting many farms.
Over the past 25 years more than 5,000 people have visited the farm engaging in tree planting days, and educational tours all participating in the regeneration of the farm and sharing knowledge of sustainable farming.
Corangamite CMA Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator Karen O’Keefe said, “The Stewart family are community leaders in adopting Landcare and agroforestry principles on their 230-hectare farm ‘Yan Yan Gurt West and sharing their learnings”.
Corangamite CMA CEO John Riddiford, said “The Corangamite CMA could not be prouder, this award recognises the enormous contribution the Stewart family have made to Landcare in our Region”.
Landcare Australia CEO, Dr Shane Norrish said, “It’s an honour to be able to recognise the great work being carried out by our Landcare champions in Victoria”.
“The Landcare Australia Program provides landcarers the ideal opportunity to get together and celebrate individual and collective achievements of community landcare,” he added.