There are a great many growers who recognise that their current farming practices are not sustainable. They have seen the degradation of their soils and the increased need for fertilisers and farm chemicals. They have often felt discomfort at applying toxic chemicals to their livestock, soils and plants, but above all they have seen their profitability diminish in the face of constantly rising prices. They often feel shackled to the spray rig and believe there is no escape from the treadmill. However, there is an escape and this “alternative” is rapidly becoming a major force in farming.
Biological agriculture is currently the flavor of the month; in fact, it may well prove to be the saviour of 21st Century agriculture. It appears that all paths are leading to this more sustainable approach. The spectre of peak oil looms and will have a huge impact on an agriculture fueled by cheap oil. How do we prosper in the future when pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilisers are all based on a non-renewable commodity that is destined to rise when half of the current oil reserves have been used? Then there is the carbon footprint of modern farming, which will inevitably be taxed in the near future. Most importantly, there is the growing uncertainty and ill ease associated with climate change and its impact on farming.
The good news here is that farmers will be paid carbon credits to sequester carbon (build humus) in their soils. This is inevitable because there is no alternative. Agriculture is the only sector that can solve this problem! People have not grasped the seriousness of the situation. If we were to cut carbon emissions throughout the world tomorrow then in 200 years time we would be down to the CO2 levels of 1975 and that is still much too high. We are locked into a train wreck and agriculture is the only saviour.
The inherent problem here is that the fixing of carbon into the soil is purely a biological process. It involves nurturing soil-life and re-introducing them in many cases. It involves protecting these creatures from poor soil management decisions and it requires protecting them from toxins. These requirements are the antithesis of chemical agriculture but they are the very basis of the biological approach? So how do farmers equip themselves with the knowledge to feel confident enough to change the way they farm? The answer is education and that education is now fully supported by the Federal Government in recognition of the desperate need to develop a more carbon-friendly approach in agriculture.
The World’s Best Course
The NTS four-day Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture is the leading course of its type in the world. This training has now been offered on four continents and thousands of farmers around the world are now empowered to reclaim control of their own destiny. Steve Diver, a former executive with ATTRA, the organic division of the USDA, described the course as "undoubtedly the best course of its type in the world".
This course provides intensive coverage of the tremendous problem-solving potential of biological agriculture and equips attendees with both the tools and the inspiration to make a change”. The next Certificate course at the NTS Seminar Centre in Yandina is fully booked but here is another more exotic training option scheduled for September. The Government have agreed to fully support Australian growers to travel to Norfolk Island for The NTS Certificate in Sustainable Agriculture and there is even a day of farm visits scheduled for a fifth day. This course is scheduled for 24th – 27th September 2009.
Learning in Paradise
For those of you unfamiliar with the many charms of Norfolk Island, here is a brief summary. The Island features some of the richest volcanic soils in the world, where organic matter levels exceeding 12% are common. The vegetation involves the best of sub-tropical Queensland and New Zealand and abounds with jacarandas, poincianas, frangipanis, pohutakawas and tree ferns. The native tree, the Norfolk pine is found everywhere and there are majestic 400 year old specimens that form dramatic silhouettes before spectacular ocean sunsets.
The air is the cleanest anywhere on the planet and the brilliant turquoise ocean is similarly pristine. Turtles, dolphins and whales (in season) can be seen from any headland and it is rumored that you are guaranteed to catch a fish within five minutes, when angling from key locations on the coastline. The temperature never drops below 10ºC and never increases beyond 28 degrees.
Norfolk offers a world that the rest of us can only dream of. There is no crime. You don’t lock your house or car. I was told to just leave the key in the car when I dropped off my rental car at the airport. Children can live the life they were meant to, in a natural playground free from predators. Everyone waves whether you are walking or driving and the sense of community is beautiful.
The locals speak their own language based upon a fascinating combination of Tahitian and old English. The place is steeped in history with a background as a penal colony and the final settling place for the descendants of famous mutiny on the Bounty. There are numerous good quality restaurants and the food grown in these nutrient-dense soils is exceptional. This is a rare opportunity to be educated and inspired in a genuine slice of paradise, free of charge.
Husband/Wife Teams Welcome
We have found that it can be beneficial for husbands and wives to attend the four-day course together. There is a tremendous amount of information to absorb and two heads can be better than one, but more importantly growers are often fired up after this event and inspired to embrace new concepts. It is obviously better if both partners are on the same page when it comes to important change.
This course also contains several hours of personal health information including a Human Health workshop, which involves a variety of tests including hair tests for key minerals and heavy metals. Attendees receive a report card on the state of their health and it is very common for husbands to lament the fact that their wives had not attended the course to understand the need for diet change etc. Why not come to this beautiful Island as a couple and enjoy a few days in paradise after the event?
If you would like to attend this special edition Certificate course call +61 7 5472 9900 to book your place.