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From the beginning...

Posted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:30 pm
by webmaster
Over the years we have acted with decorum, dignity and diplomacy in trying to spread the word about Natural Sequence Farming however during that time we have seen very little reactions from those that matter.

Fortunately we have some wonderful businessmen and regular folk come on board to offer whatever they have to help the cause, but governments and bureaucrats? Give me a break!

What we have seen is the more noisy a lobby group is, the more they get what they are after. So, with that in mind...

Yes, it was me who actually typed out the initial applications for the NSF R&D project, to register the NSF names and businesses and who wrote countless letters to ministers and bureaucrats, mostly without reply.

It was me who went to back to USA in the early 90's to make the people who mattered aware of the principles of NSF and to show them that it could also work in USA.

Firstly I was very happy when I was told officials and financiers in the States of Florida and California were very impressed and saw the logic in it.

However that happiness disappeared when, to a soul, they all asked the same question..

If it works, why don't your governments take it on, as you are the driest continent on earth?

How would you feel?

I had a variety of options as an answer.. Phrases like..

Because they are stupid..
Because they are not interested
Because they don't understand
Because the corporate interests have them by the throat
Because, because, because..

and at times I used them all in frustration.

For example I had people who took NSF seriously but who also had to give a good answer to that question when asked by their own overseers and governments. It was clear that until our own government decided to give NSF the 'all clear', we would not succeed overseas on any big scale.

The scary part is that governments and financiers today wouls still ask that same question. Unfortunately our answers with a few small changes, would be much the same as they were then.

Well that's a very small part of my NSF story and I am just as frustrated now as I was 20 plus years ago when this all started.

What valid reasons do State and Federal governments have not to take a look at the obvious proof of NSF?

Are our politicians and bureaucrats really so dumb and they don't want us to know it?:
Or are they so crooked and in the pockets of big corporations they are afraid to move?

Can someone give me a decent answer?

I'd be very interested to know.

Lonnie Lee

Posted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 6:39 am
by Shirley Henderson
Hi Lonnie,

I have written a few letters to the government myself and they never address the issues I have raised and they never even address that I have spoken Peters name or Natural Sequence Farming. Their replies are about what they are doing not about what they are not doing. I have decided to have another go and this time I am really going to push the issue and demand that they address and explain why they are not giving Peters methods a go. Every trial needs a control to look at what happens when they do the opposite or nothing at all. Weeds need addressed and Peters methods are really fantastic as he manages weeds without herbicides and helps nature to evolve back into a healthy functioning landscape that can be worked by farmers and survive in a healthy state. All of his methods and principles are clever and beneficial to us and the environment. So I am going to push and push and keep pushing. Let them put into writing with their own name on it, why this neglect of NSF is happening and see if they are really willing to back up there ignorance!

Posted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:14 pm
by ColinJEly
I was employed by the Victorian Department of Natural Resources and Environment for 12 years. I was recently at the Lardner Park Farmworld one of the largest field days in the state. I went to the department stand and ask some of the Catchment Management Officers about Peter and Natural Sequence Farming. Not only didn't they know who and what I was talking about, I would go so far as to say that they didn't want to know!



Posted: Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:29 pm
by Shirley Henderson
The thing is, I believe there are plenty people who would want to know. It seems this brilliant knowledge is being kept from them. Instead of shouting out loud that we can live with drought, weeds and climate change quite comfortably, our leaders want to pretend we can defeat natural processes with money and water allocation. The truth is if we push things too far with destructive measures the earth might just get rid of us and recover quite well on it's own. My family is first and foremost in my mind and being rich or having the most money won't mean anything if you cant eat or drink clean water. I guess if you have money though you can just move to another country or another planet! I'm sure that is the back of there minds somewhere... I'm not joking... you know they are investigating Mars. The thing is I really care about this place and MY childrens future and I dont care about old school thinking if it DOES NOT WORK. NSF is a natural solution with natural principles, without pesticides and without HUGE cost to farmers. Farmers produce our food and they caretake our waterways. I urge all of you farmers out there to turn your back on pesticides and give Natural Sequence Farming a go. Visit Tarwyn Park, visit one of Peters demonstration sites as I have done or write to this forum and ask as many questions as you need to be convinced and understand this different and opposite method of farming. IT IS GOOD...IT DOES WORK... If pollies wont listen and support it, in the end it is up to the farmers who etch a living of the land to show them how it is done.. What they expect from farmers is unreasonable and it is not fixing your land. Ran out of space...... Shirley

Posted: Mon Nov 03, 2008 1:52 pm
by ColinJEly
G'day All
Two good books I have read recently; 'The Deniers' and 'Unstoppable Climate Change' both of which I got through Amazon. They both seem to stop 'human induced CO2 driven' climate change dead in the water. Yet our Elected leaders, public service and so called experts seem to be hell bent on wasting our time and money fixing a non existant problem instead of a real one. Apart from the pertinent fact that NSF can help rural landhlders do more with less water, what about recycled water and using what we have instead of wasting it. Here in Victoria they are stealing, yes STEALING! water from farmers along the Goulbourn river, when there is, even in these lean times, an excess of water being allowed to flow into Bass Straight from the Mitchell and Macallister rivers. but we can't build more dams because the left wing, tree hugging 'watermelons' say that dams are bad. Perhaps some of you rural types, especially those that are near large towns could tell me what happens to all the effluent from the treatment plants? I fing it strange that the ornamental lake in Ballarat should be dry, shouldn't Victoria's third largest city produce enough recycled water to keep it full. Shirley, I don't know what the answer is. Although I can only practice NSF on my sub-quarter acre piece of suburbia, as any good gardener will tell you, mulch, mulch, mulch. Although I am forced to put my compost pile on the worst possible site, down the back on the lowest part of my block, I shifted some up to the highest part out the front where I noticed that the soil was poorest, my roses shot up six inches and burst into flower! I guess we can only contact all the 'experts' we can. Government, Politcians, Agriculture dept's, CRC's and the relevant Universities. We will just have to be patient, they will ignore us until it is an election year and then they will come running and say 'Why didn't you tell us this before?'

Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 1:06 pm
by webmaster
Hi guys,

Yes we all know that we are surrounded by people who only want to keep their bureaucratic jobs and either don't want to or are afraid to drawing attention to something which is not on their white paper agenda.

To try and bring some common sense into government I've actually thought about throwing myself into the cesspit of politics however I think I'd be assassinated within a month or two!

I'm afraid unless we mount an aggressive campaign to these pencil pushers, we will not get through to them and unless we get through to them, they will never recommend change to the ministers of the day

My 2 cents.... on Melbourne Cup day!!

Good luck all..

A note from Peter Andrews

Posted: Tue Nov 04, 2008 7:01 pm
by Peter Andrews
Australia, the land of droughts and flooding rains, became the oldest landscape in the world by achieving the most efficient landscape functions known. I realised over thirty years ago, that the processes that contributed to that efficiency were almost the opposite to the then land management strategies as they are still to the present day. After first demonstrating the sustainable management of those systems, I publicised the results in 1984.

To my horror, more people chose to steal my demonstrations than to help make the results available to the world. So, I decided to do a syndicated R & D, to involve the government, the tax department and as many high profile business leaders as possible.

I reasoned, that if change was to be affected, the support of our leaders was necessary. Once again, a lack of integrity ruled. I mentioned integrity because I was drawing attention to the real landscape components and processes demonstrated in the landscape and involving all climatic extremes. I requested that an independent assessment be undertaken and was told by the members of the syndicate that they were not interested. It must be realised that our present environmental laws do not permit the exploitation of some of the essential landscape components, such as, reinstating the processes of the floodplains (grass covered dams).

The current world financial crisis demonstrates the same human failing…. i.e., a lack of integrity, as occurred in the R & D program. Finance, is just a means of rationalising a value on items of trade. The destruction of the environment means the destruction of society itself. As the present financial meltdown affects the whole world, so to will the current environmental destruction affect the whole world.

All people make mistakes. Those who recognise this and make restitution for their mistakes, society forgives. We are now confronted with a desperate need for people to act responsibly and to co-operate under a banner of common sense, co-operation and integrity. There is no longer any time for human societies to ignore the need for co-operation in environmental management.

This notification begins a national and international club whose charter is co-operation and integrity. The membership fees to this club will guarantee that the very best people can be compensated for their assistance in scrutinising the information to be released to members. Members are assured that no commercial connections will influence those people charged with assessing this information that will be available to them.

Peter Andrews
4th November 2008

Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2008 9:40 pm
by duane
12 October 2008


The current global economic conditions being experienced move me to write this letter.

Peter Andrews has been variously described as a “bankrupted farmer”, a “gifted stud master and horseman” and someone who “lost his family” as a result of the collapse of his research project at Tarwyn Park in the mid – 1990s.

Peter has always been a man of scrupulous honesty – a trait almost unknown to the generations that have thrived on merchant banking and information technology. He undertook a research project at Tarwyn Park, supported by Bankers Trust (BT), the Federal Department of Research & Development, University of Technology Sydney and a group of “overtaxed” investors introduced by Horwath & Horwath. The project was designed to investigate and prove the merit of Natural processes in the Australian landscape in its use of water, fertility, biodiversity under his floodplain management system.

For Peter, his reward would come through the sale of his technology to the “Investors” for commercialisation, in return for the payment of an initial $3.2 million. However, Peter had to fund aspects of this research and warrant the investors. This allowed for the financial manipulation of the project funds by BT and their associates wihich parallels the present world financial troubles. Peter was informed that he would be in a position to meet his obligations at the completion of the project (through interest earned on the $3.2 funds invested) and that his services would be required thereafter in the commercialisation process.

Through no fault of his, BT and through them, the investors, decided that the technology should not go to market. BT had retained a company called Australian Agricultural Research to market the research technology and this company withdrew from the project. As a result, Peter did not receive his $3.2 million or the $600,000 interst accumulated and his technology was “transferred” back to him. The “investors” received their money back (most of which had been borrowed from BT) and still received their 150% tax deduction under the R&D tax rulings. Everyone, except for Mr. Andrews, was happy.

Peter realised that he had been duped by this process, because as the researcher, he had no control over where funds were spent, yet he believed what he was trying to demonstrate was REAL and the truth. So he commenced litigation in the NSW Supreme Court. However, his financial resources were greatly depleted and the two banks were moving to foreclose on Tarwyn Park. The accountant/auditor for the project put in a trumpe- up claim for unpaid fees and when Peter refused to meet these fees, they brought an action in bankruptcy against him. The total of the debt amounted to some $30,000. This action was done for no other reason than to head off the Supreme Court action Peter had commenced.

Following this, Peter’s world collapsed. He lost his properties, although his son Stuart, purchased one at a bargain basement price. The other was also sold for a gross undervaluation. Peter’s marriage ended, his daughter committed suicide and his future looked bleak.

Since that time, Peter, with the support of Mr. Gerry Harvey, has lived at Baramul Stud, in the Upper Hunter Valley of NSW, where he has carried out significant works on the Widden Brook and throughout the Widden floodplain. But like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Peter has gained a worldwide reputation for doing the very things that he sought to prove at Tarwyn Park.

He has written two books – “Back from the Brink” and “Beyond the Brink” – both published by ABC Books. He has spoken at conferences, seminars and meetings all over Australia, been interviewed on television and radio and been the focus of the ABC programme “Australian Story”.

Peter is an environmental hero with a profound understanding of the way the Australian landscape operates. His ideas are inexpensive, practical and they work!
Today, if that research which is residing in the landscape at Tarwyn Park would cost >$100m to fund.

Why is it that no Federal, State or Local Government has provided worthwhile funding for Natural Sequence farming? I believe, that almost everyone with some knowledge of agriculture or horticulture knows that what Peter espouses is correct. However, Peter’s work is not sexy, like buying Toorale Station is sexy, or like buying back water allocations or sounding off about greenhouse gases.

It’s all too simple. It would just take some regulatory changes to permit the re -establishment of the natural floodplain hydrology by stream intervention, the use of shallow contour channels, employing fast growing vegetation (native or exotic) and our land could be green again – even in times of drought. But too many people gain a living from imposing regulations, performing useless tasks, encouraging the use of expensive herbicides and fertilisers, selling larger irrigation plants and telling farmers to plant indigenous trees for Peter’s voice to be heard loud and clear. It’s easier to call him a “bankrupted farmer”. Who would listen to a bankrupt? Well nearly all the banks are bankrupt now and the entire Western World is hell bent on bailing them out.

There is a lesson here for all governments. In times of Depression, food, clothing and shelter are vital commodities – that’s where the jobs are and that’s where the export dollars will be found. It’s time to realise that people who grow things need a simple solution to make them productive and the planet needs successful farmers to address climate change.


J.R. McKay

Julia McKay B.A., LL.B.

About the Author of this Letter

Julia McKay has been working with Peter Andrews since 1978 when she introduced him to Professor Hector Geddes (University of Sydney Professor of Animal Husbandry and Director, University Farms Camden). Professor Geddes was flown to Tarwyn Park by The Hon. Geoffrey Keighley (Member of NSW Parliament and President, Cattleman’s Association) to view the works that Peter had commenced on the property. Both men were astonished by Peter’s observations of the natural landforms and vegetation and agreed that Natural Sequence Farming was the best way of utilising natural fertility.

Subsequently, Julia has written about and promoted Natural Sequence Farming and is currently the Secretary, Natural Sequence (The Peter Andrews System) Governing Body Inc. Through Landcare and NRM roles she has adopted many of Peter’s principles on her dairy farms and is currently promoting, as Secretary of the Jacqua Creek Landcare Group a Natural Sequence demonstration site at Bungonia, NSW. She has recently enrolled to study for a PhD at the Australian National University on the topic of Natural Sequence Farming.

Paul Lockyer

Posted: Fri Jan 09, 2009 5:56 pm
by Wilkie
Re. It would just take some regulatory changes to permit the re -establishment of the natural floodplain hydrology by stream intervention, the use of shallow contour channels, employing fast growing vegetation (native or exotic)

Could anyone point me to where I can get a summary of the present regulations.


Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 9:50 am
by duane

I have asked Julia McKay to give a reply to your question...

Watch this space.

Posted: Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:10 am
by Wilkie
duane wrote:Wilkie

I have asked Julia McKay to give a reply to your question...

Watch this space.

Thanks Duane

Julia has emailed me the relevant websites / Departments to contact.
Also, thanks for the copy of the CSIRO report.