NEW South Wales farmer and grazier Bruce Maynard has been announced as the 2022 Bob Hawke Landcare Award winner.
Mr Maynard was presented with the prestigious national award by Minister for Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt at the National Landcare Awards dinner at Sydney’s Darling Harbour on Wednesday night.
The award is presented every two years to an individual who has demonstrated a remarkable commitment to caring for the land, championing new and innovative practices and inspiring others.
After receiving the award the longstanding innovator said he was overwhelmed by the accolade and gave a short speech about his most memorable “threes”, including thanking Bob Hawke and the architects of the Landcare movement, Phillip Toyne and Rick Farley.
He said it was ridiculous in a way to have an individual award “because there have been so many people that have assisted and helped and supported with their knowledge and wisdom our journey along here.”
His next ‘threes’ were three notable people working at local, state and national levels in Tom Powell from Red Dust Healing at Narromine, the inspirational Dr Dean Revell, his collaborator in self-herding technique development and Professor Fred Provenza who “opened our eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.”
He said his fellow 2022 award finalists Dr Mary Retallack from South Australia and Geoff Bassett from New South Wales also deserved to be “up here as well.”
“So on the theme of threes, it is about past present and future of course, and it would be remiss not to mention something slightly on the negative.
“We won’t dwell on the negative, but is something that has impacted us and is impacting our possibilities with all our Landcare work throughout Australia and that is passive chemical exposures.”
He said despite planning several hundred shrubs and a couple of hundred thousand trees over 35 years “most of those are now dead and dying through forces that are outside of our control.”
Mr Maynard for the next two years he will focus on championing the positive work of all Landcarers in the media and ensuring their challenges are not ignored.
“The last bit of threes, thank you very much to all of you and for all of us this is for community, country and commerce.”
Mr Watt said the Narromine farmer was a worthy winner of the $50,000 prize.
“Bruce exemplifies the valuable work being done by farmers who are taking environmental sustainability seriously and making innovative improvements.
“For 35 years he has invented, implemented and extended regenerative agricultural systems on his family farm and across Australia,” Mr Watt said.
“Bruce invented the No Kill Cropping system, which allows farmers to change easily and quickly between grazing and cropping in the same paddock.
“He has shown incredible leadership, whether it be planting native shrubs, trees and multi-purpose crops, utilising native grasses or managing grazing for livestock methane reduction,” Mr Watt said.
“He has done this all while improving stock handling methods to reduce stress on the animals.
“The 200,000-odd trees and 350,000 shrubs Bruce has planted on his own property have inspired visiting Landcare and community groups and stand as monuments to his unwavering commitment to sustainable land management.”
Mr Watt said the Bob Hawke Landcare Award was a fitting and enduring tribute to the former Prime Minister who championed Landcare from its inception.
“Bob stands as a great protector of our natural environment and for all of us as custodians of Landcare, the great national movement forever connected with him.
“His special talent was his ability to bring together governments, trade unions, businesses, and all parts of society,” he said.
“And that spirit of consensus is more important than ever amid the challenges of climate change, natural disasters and the degradation of our natural environment.”
The Bob Hawke Landcare Award is funded by a grant provided to Landcare Australia under the Smart Farms: Building Landcare Community and Capacity program.