Cross-boundary farming forum

1 JANUARY 2003

Lessons from the tilled and grazing Commons of the Middle Ages could well help farms in Australia, particularly smaller farms and holdings, become more sustainable.

Lessons from the tilled and grazing Commons of the Middle Ages could well help farms in Australia, particularly smaller farms and holdings, become more sustainable.
 
In that era farmers didn’t have individual titles over land but instead farmed collectively on common property or “commons.”
 
A modern day adaptation of this concept is “cross-boundary farming” where farmers agree to pool their land resource and manage it as a whole.
 
“Common property resource management allows for pooling of resources, and sharing of ideas and labor,” said Prof David Brunckhorst, director of the Institute for Rural Futures at the University of New England.
 
“It builds a combined social and ecological resilience for these systems.”
 
Prof Brunckhorst will be a key speaker at a free one day forum on “Cross-boundary farming” hosted by the Institute for Land, Water and Society at Charles Sturt University, Wagga, on Friday, September 7.
 
During the forum Prof Brunckhorst will talk about the experimental Tilbuster Commons project near Armidale. For this project, which ran from 1999-2004, four families on adjacent properties, agreed to pool their land into a commons and rotationally graze cattle and goats.  Financially the venture produced better returns than when run as a single enterprise and required less management time. There were also big environmental benefits.
 
The forum will consider the opportunities and pitfalls of cross-boundary farming; the environmental benefits; property rights; relationships between and within families; and workloads.
 
Other speakers on the day include Bill Thompson, from Commins Hendricks Solicitors, on the experiences of a property lawyer; and Bill Baker from the NSW Farmers’ Association.
 
There will be two panel session, one presenting some of the practical points of view, and another political points of view.
 
The forum from 9 am to 3.30pm will be held at the National Food and Wine Grape Industry Centre on the Wagga campus. Lunch and morning tea is provided. Please RSVP to Kate Roberts on 02 6933 2680 or kroberts@csu.edu.au by Friday August 31.

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