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Jeff Campbell
10 Dec 2009
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Description

One of a series of PlaceStories made possible by the Queensland Government to celebrate Q150 by recognising some of Queensland's Landcare Legends.

The Maranoa River catchment near Mitchell in south-west Queensland has suffered sustained drought over the past 10 years and 30 000 tonnes of lost topsoil has been washed down the river each year.

Grazier Jeff Campbell, of the Mitchell and District Landcare Group, has led a movement of concerned farmers who are slowly returning their land to a sustainable condition. Jeff, his partner Jacky and three children, manage a 25 000 hectare farm ‘Currawarra’. Jeff is a visionary who is always ready to take the next step to improve the property. As the region’s innovator, he keeps up to date with best-practice natural resource management. Other landholders follow suit once they have seen the benefit of his work first hand.

Twelve years ago Jeff changed his farm to the holistic management system, focusing on improving watering points for stock and making better use of perennial pasture. He replaced rotational grazing with time-controlled grazing. The results were positive and other local farmers also changed their practices.

The landholders then implemented the Australian Land Management Systems (ALMS) Environmental Management System (EMS) on their properties, which enables them to continually improve their properties while gaining recognition for their achievements.

Following this success Jeff has taken a leadership role as the chairperson of the Mitchell and District Landcare Group for eight consecutive years, and he is now involved in a range of organisations at a catchment and regional level. He is keen to use every avenue available to attract other landholders to landcare. Jeff educates farmers and university students that landcare values are not against production values, rather that the two complement each other.

Jeff is a lateral thinker. Recently he initiated a project which investigates the farming of kangaroos, encouraging farmers to view roos as a resource rather than a pest. The project aims to lift the image of the native food industry and develop it in a sustainable and productive way. Jeff has completed an environmental management system on his property to underpin the concept – other properties are following suit.

Jeff strongly believes that by working together landholders can manage our natural resources in the most effective way. He has coordinated sub-catchment planning along 250 kilometres of the Maranoa River by bringing together five major sub-catchment groups in the area. The project has seen some 78 000 hectares of grazing land fenced, better watering points established, pastures improving and stock excluded from riverine areas. As a result, an estimated extra four ute loads of soil remain in the paddock every day.

Despite the massive challenges presented over the years, Jeff remains an ever-positive voice in the community. He publicises landcare activities through the local media and has met with the Prime Minister and Queensland Premier to discuss environmental issues facing the region and offer practical solutions. He is undoubtedly a Landcare Legend.

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