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The development of training courses commenced when a group of farmers approached Mr Gwyn Jones to give a workshop on practical soil chemistry and improving soil and plant productivity. A four day workshop [over three weeks] was developed and was expanded into Australians first formal Organic conversion course for commercial farmers in 1999. This FarmBis approved course ran over sixteen days and within a three and half month period. Several farmers converted to certified organic production during the course and others have since gone on to be certified growers.

In an attempt to broaden the appeal to both conventional and organic farmers, a series of five two-day courses has been developed with only an emphasis on organic production at the very end of the course. This new format has proven to be successful with conventional farmers learning how to work with nature and not against it.

Healthy Farming Systems ten day course is about creating healthy living cells that make the plants we produce (pasture, crops, horticulture, trees, etc) or the animals we raise. Common sense tells us that it is cheaper and easier to raise a healthy plant or animal than to raise a sick plant(s) or animal(s).

The course is split into five - two day units that will give you some of the key foundational principals to developing an healthy farming system by taking everything back to the basics by starting to learn how to improve the health of your soil and how to regenerate one of the worlds most valuable resource - the topsoil. You will also learn how to identify what is cause many of your underlying production [plant / animal] based problems. This takes a lot of the guess work out of decision making.. The course puts into perspective need to treat the problem, not the just manage symptoms and introduces practical ways to overcoming many of your production based problems. By gaining a better understanding to what has been causing below optimum productivity and disease etc.. The need for costly high inputs can be reduced and your farm can be more sustainable.

A healthy farming system does not need the constant intervention with "bandaid" inputs of work drenches, herbicide, fungicides, (vaccinations), "dry cow" etc. The use of many chemicals assist farmers in managing recurring symptoms (disease, weeds, pests) but not solving the underlying problems. If excess chemical inputs are reduced and good husbandry practices (ie Landcare) are used a farmer is well on the road to a more sustainable form of farming and (potential) organic certification of the farm and its saleable products.

Remember, good biological / organic farmers donít use chemicals because they have removed the need to use them. In effect, they have learnt how to solve their problems and removed the symptoms of a sick farming system (ie weeds, disease, high culling rate, low fertility etc). When this is achieved they can focus on building the immune systems of their plants and animals to keep them healthy and profitable. If you want to learn the practical methods of developing a healthy farming system and improving the sustainability of your farm, please take the opportunity to join a course in your area.

For Australian farmers you may wish to go directly to Rural Finances web site for approved FarmBiz courses. www.ruralfinance.com.au

Currently there are 2 types of courses, "Group Trainng" and "One on One Training". Please click on either to read more about these courses.

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