|Final call for surveys|
Release date: October 19, 2011
Final call for farmer surveys
Wimmera Catchment Management Authority and Charles Sturt University are urging Wimmera farmers to return surveys which give them a say in helping shape their farming future.
This week the university has sent out reminder notices to 750 of 1200 farmers included in the ‘social drivers of catchment management’ study. University researcher, Professor Allan Curtis has urged to return their completed surveys by the end of the month.
The survey is seeking farmer’s views about the key natural resource management issues, opinions about stakeholder roles and responsibilities and long-term plans for their properties. Survey information will be used to identify trends in property ownership, the social structure of the region and to evaluate the success of government investment in resource management. It is the third survey of its kind in the Wimmera, with similar surveys in 2002 and 2007. The Wimmera is the only area in Australia to have undertaken more than one survey.
Professor Curtis said the surveys had so far attracted a 42 per cent return rate. The university was aiming for between 50 and 60 per cent.
“We are thrilled with the response so far, given that it takes about 40 minutes to fill out the survey and farmers are extremely busy at this time of year,” he said. “Ideally we need at least another 100 surveys for us to confidently say research results are representative of the Wimmera farming community.”
Professor Curtis said the university used a random selection process to identify survey recipients. All survey information goes directly to the university and remains confidential.
Wimmera CMA board chairperson Karen Douglas said this was a terrific opportunity for farmers to share concerns about the future of their farm, impacts of drought, flood and water shortage and what they identified as important for future management of their farm resources.
Mrs Douglas, who farms near St Arnaud, said the survey results would provide essential information for the Wimmera Regional Catchment Strategy. “These survey results will be crucial for the future direction of natural resource management programs that Wimmera CMA delivers,” Mrs Douglas said.
“The results will give the CMA a valuable insight into the current farming situation. We will then be able to seek government investment on farmers’ behalf for programs that are going to make a real difference to individual farmers and the catchment as a whole.”