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Helping hand for agriculture on Cape York

Words and photo Juliana Foxlee

I am here to help with anything agriculture – that’s the message for Cape York’s agricultural community from Cape York NRM’s Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator, Andrew Hartwig.

Andrew, who is based in Cooktown and has worked as a Regional Landcare Facilitator in Cape York since 2011, encourages growers to get in touch.

‘My role focuses on supporting and connecting farmers and innovative and sustainable agricultural land management practices that improve soil quality, biodiversity and vegetation,’ Andrew explained.

‘Cape York is a special and unique part of Australia, and practices that work well in other places often face challenges here.

I am here to listen, to spend time with Cape York farmers and graziers, and discuss emerging ideas, innovative practice and ways of improving the sustainability, productivity and profitability their business. There is a lot of knowledge on the Cape with some very good land managers, so it is important we all learn from each other and take advantage of opportunities, especially for the next generation of land managers.

‘A big part of the role is encouraging partnerships between industry, growers and community groups so they can work together to address common issues; and supporting people to adopt practice change and peer learning.

‘I am also available to assist farming communities, agriculture industries and groups to develop new projects and seek new funding opportunities such as the Smart Farms Small Grants and Smart Farming Partnerships Grants.’

Andrew, who has qualifications in agriculture, conservation and land management and business management, has worked in remote parts of the Northern Territory and Cape York as a ranger for over 22 years.

He understands the complex issues faced by land managers and is dedicated to working with the people of Cape York.

‘I like to take an integrated approach to achieving sustainable land management outcomes, as many of the issues such as fire, weeds, feral animals, soil erosion and grazing pressures don’t occur in isolation,’ he said.

Andrew can be contacted on

The Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator project is funded by the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program through funding from the NQ NRM Alliance in partnership with Cape York NRM.