Whole Farm Planning
What is Whole Farm Planning?
Whole Farm Planning (WFP) is a process of planning, property design and management based on natural resources and economic factors.
WFP focuses on all of the farm assets (physical and nonphysical) over a long period of time (perhaps several generations). WFP covers the knowledge and skills to be able to plan a sub-division, irrigation layouts, assess land capability and potential of a farm.
- Land classing
- Farm water supply
- Pest plants and animals
- Succession planning
- Grazing management
- Drought management
- Prioritising works
- Identifying threats and assets
- Developing realistic action plans
These are optional and can be addressed in any order.
The benefits of WFP:
You can address the current and future goals of your property, industry, landscape and catchment.
WFP enables you to identify and take advantage of the catchments and subcatchment opportunities of your property.
A WFP helps you make a management plan for your property and considers your own strengths and weaknesses as well as those of your landscape and environment.
"Farm planning helped get all the ideas for the farm out of our heads and onto paper… then the action happens." Doug Streeter (farmer)
Your WFP can include management issues such as:
- identifying assets and threats and risk management
- increasing the profitability of the business
- demonstrating sustainability and environmental
- implementing Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
- aligning priorities of regional natural resource management bodies, including regional Catchment Management Authority strategies.
What is a Farm Plan?
Primarily the plan is to simplify management, improve productivity and include biodiversity and ecological issues in your farm decision making.
A Farm Plan (FP) is used if you intend to develop your rural land. It conveys to council the natural resource management (NRM) features of your property, rural business aspirations of the property, and the impacts of your proposed rural development on the natural resources and the surrounding community.
WFP plans include aims of the farmer including profit, lifestyle, family wellbeing, sustainability of production and more.
A Farm Plan is also known as a:
- Land Management Plan
- Farm Management Plan
- Native vegetation management plans/Property Vegetation Plans.
When do I need a Farm Plan?
Preparing a whole farm plan will help in your decision making if you are thinking about the following:
- Are you looking at any major enterprise changes?
- Could your farm management be made easier?
- Are you farming within the capacity of your landscape?
- Are you prepared for climatic extremes such as drought, wet periods and fire?
A Farm Plan can be a requirement for planning applications in rural areas and helps ensure an efficient application process.
Many agencies including the this department encourage farmers to complete or update Farm Plans irrespective of a development proposal.
How Do I Prepare a Farm Plan?
You can prepare your Farm Plan by yourself, through an accredited course, or with the help of a consultant.
Learn how to prepare your Farm Plan.
Whole Farm Planning Farmer Stories:
"Whole Farm Planning gave me more of a long term vision and focus on conservation of the different landscapes on the property" (Ewan Read)
Some major differences between WFP and EMS:
- WFP does not specifically require landholders to identify and comply with relevant legislation and industry codes of practice, as EMS does.
- WFP cannot be audited and certified as EMS can be.
- WFP enables rebates on certain educational courses and materials.
- WFP certification stays with the farmer – even if they move to another farm business or begin a new enterprise. EMS stays with the business if continual improvement cycle is in place.
History of Farm Planning
Whole of farm planning commenced in Australia in the 1950's. These plans were primarily aimed at soil erosion control and utilised the United States of America's Department of Agriculture's eight-class land-capability classification.
These plans were prepared largely by government extension officers with varying input from landholders. They focused mostly on physical erosion-control works and to a lesser extent they addressed property layout, water conservation, tillage methods, pasture and crop development and tree planting programs.
During the 1980s farm planning had a renaissance due partly, and not insignificantly, to the Potter Farmland Plan.
Participating landholders established 15 demonstration farms in Western Victoria that aimed to show how ecological considerations could be incorporated into farm planning to improve productivity and redress land degradation.