The Agricultural Hall of Fame will give lasting recognition to Western Australians, past and present, who have made outstanding contributions to agriculture.
The Agricultural Hall of Fame is an inspirational initiative created to recognise the pioneers of the land - Western Australians, past and present - who have made outstanding contributions to the development and progress of Western Australian agriculture.
By establishing the Agricultural Hall of Fame, The RAS has ensured that Western Australians can pay tribute to their greatest agricultural achievers. The Agricultural Hall of Fame provides the community with an opportunity to appreciate land and agricultural initiatives.
Nominees are inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame based on their agricultural achievements - their leadership, vision, skill and their impact on Western Australian agriculture. Each year a selection committee reviews nominations to the Hall of Fame gallery and a special induction ceremony occurs each year to inaugurate successful nominees.
RAS President Dr Rob Wilson, Michael Lloyd, Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AO, Governor of Western Australia, Hon Ken Baston MLC
Landcare champion is 2015 Agricultural Hall of Fame Inductee
A landcare champion is the newest inductee to the Agricultural Hall of Fame.
Michael Lloyd is a renowned expert on salinity whose saltbush based revegetation practices have led to major advances in land management across Australia.
He has been pivotal in changing the perception of saltland from “white cancer’ to economic and environmental asset.
When faced with 40% of his wheat sheep property in the Lake Grace region affected by salinity and waterlogging, Michael Lloyd established saltbush pastures and slowly revegetated 600 hectares of saltland.
It was a stunning success story. Michael established a long term sustainable management system that increased production and benefitted biodiversity. His land care practices equipped Bundilla to withstand drought more effectively than many neighbouring farms and to stabilise critical water resources.
The scale of investment in saltbush based saltland pastures at Bundilla was unique in Australia and the farm became a case study for scientists with Michael Lloyd always open to sharing his insights.
“We noticed changes over about 10 or 15 years, bit by bit. We were in denial really. Then when things started to get bad I knew I had to do something. I started looking at it and trying out different things. I knew I was going to have to change this farm around. I started planting saltbush and saw results after about 5 years,” he said.
Michael became an activist for saltbush revegetation after a research paper was published in 1994 indicating that high levels of salt in saltbush meant that it was almost toxic to sheep. That was contrary to his experience. The research was based on feeding trials with saltbush where the sheep had no access to under-storey and it dramatically dampened interest in saltbush and saltland pastures for several years.
“It was a real concern to me that we may bail out of research funding because of the findings of a report that didn’t tell the whole story.”
According to Michael, the key to success of saltbush revegetation was in the growing saltbush and grass together. “It is the combination of the two that makes the difference.”
In 1996, Michael met Clive Malcolm, the pioneer of saltbush agronomy, at a conference in Albany. The two became friends and worked together over many years to raise the profile of saltland.
When the State Government released its Salinity Action Plan of 1996 without any reference to saltbush revegetation, Michael Lloyd got busy.
He hosted field days at Bundilla for 6 or 7 years with 50 and 60 people visiting every year: “I raised the profile of saltland. I got a good reception at a State Landcare conference and I spoke at national conferences.”
Realising the importance of setting up a farmer based group to lobby agencies, the Saltland Pastures Association was formed in 1997 with Michael Lloyd as its chair. His 1996 paper Saltland Pastures – Saltland Profit helped spark renewed interest in saltbush. Tenacious lobbying paid off with saltland agronomy research put on the policy agenda. A win came when the use of saline land and water was added to Western Australia’s Salinity Action Plan Draft Update in 1998 and then another victory when the goal of re-vegetating one million hectares of saline land over a decade was adopted in the Western Australian Salinity Strategy of 2000. But perhaps the sweetest victory of all was when the wool industry developed a program on resource management with $8m of the $20m funding set aside to deal with saltland.
In 2002, Michael Lloyd was awarded the prestigious McKell Medal for his work in natural resource management.
RAS President Dr Rob Wilson said that the work of Michael Lloyd has changed landcare management on farms and driven sustainability.
“As a member of the Agricultural Hall of Fame, Michael Lloyd is in the company of other great West Australians whose determination and perseverance helped WA become an economic powerhouse, whose innovation led to breakthroughs and whose expertise defined an industry.”
Michael Lloyd is the 60th inductee to the Agricultural Hall of Fame established by the RAS in 1999. The Hall of Fame at Claremont Showground is open to the public and offers a unique educational experience.
“This recognition means a lot,” said Michael Lloyd. “I have looked at the Agricultural Hall of Fame over the years and thought about the people there. I know a lot of them. I am amazed that people consider that I am in the same category.”
For further information on inductees click here.