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A Healthy Farming Future for Cape York

Words Juliana Foxlee | Photo Cape York NRM

A resilient, future-focused and adaptive Cape York farming sector is the goal for Cape York NRM’s Healthy Farming Futures project.

Healthy Farming Futures aims to help raise awareness of how climate change will impact farm practices, land condition and support the identification of adaptation strategy, increasing the resilience against the projected impacts of climate change.

Healthy Farming Futures’ co-lead, Sustainable Industries Officer Abbey Ernst, said the program supports landholders in Cape York’s western flowing catchments to increase ground coverage to improve soil condition and biodiversity in hillslope erosion hot spot areas.

‘By increasing ground cover, the extent of bare ground is decreased and soils are stabilised, reducing erosion and improving the quality of water draining into the Gulf of Carpentaria.  

Through improving pastures and coverage year round on grazing properties, both farm and farmers’ resilience to a changing climate and shifting market is improved,’ Abbey said.

‘This project will see us develop site specific action plans, remediate erosion affected areas and contribute to baseline data in western draining Cape York catchments by monitoring 100 existing and 50 new on-ground land condition sites, measuring changes in overall land condition’.

While improving land condition is vital to adapting to climate change, ensuring land managers feel connected and supported also has priority.

‘As part of the Healthy Farming Futures program, Cape York NRM recently held its annual Grazing Forum in Laura and Horticulture Round Table in Lakeland Downs,’ Abbey explained.

‘These events bring local graziers together to discover the latest information relevant to improve land management in order to adapt to a changing environment.’

‘Hosting events where people can gather and share information across stations, organisations, industry and government is an essential part of building support, community and resilience for agriculture, supporting a healthy farming future for Cape York and its people.’

‘Cape York NRM is very invested in this project as it ticks a whole range of boxes on climate change adaptation, improving land and water condition and bringing people together to learn from one another.’

To find out more please contact Abbey on

This project is supported by Cape York NRM, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program

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