David Phelps, ARS President and Director, DAF Office Landsborough Hwy Longreach Qld 4730.  

Email: david.gphelps@bigpond.com


The 20th Australian Rangeland Society Biennial Conference is nearly here. There is still enough time to register, and to encourage your friends and colleagues to attend as well.

The theme ‘resilient future rangelands: integrating environment and livelihoods’ is extremely timely, as is holding the conference in Canberra. There is a renewed focus on the rangelands through drought policy, disaster responses, developing northern Australia and the revival of Indigenous languages (to name just a few). The conference is our opportunity as rangeland residents and experts to establish an on-going conversation with the Nation’s policy makers on the need for greater funding, support and collaboration.

There is more information on the conference website https://www.ars2019.com.au/ and more detail in this issue of the newsletter. Some of the topics that I am especially looking forward to include:

  • The importance of soils, and suggestions for strategies and tactics to influence public policy development
  • Guiding rangelands into an uncertain future
  • Enabling drought and disaster resilience
  • Managing rangelands and their communities adaptively
  • Rangelands in a global perspective
  • The interactive world café session.

The committee have done an excellent job to bring nationally important speakers to the conference such as:

  • Major General The Honourable Michael Jeffery
  • Professor Brian Walker Honorary Professor, Australian National University
  • Professor Andrew Campbell FTSE, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research and
  • Fiona Simson, President of the National Farmers Federation.

Whilst these are some of the ‘big names’ it is everyone who attends and engages in lively discussion that really makes our rangeland conferences such productive and enjoyable gatherings.

ARS conferences are always excellent networking events, with participants inevitably forging new friendships and working relationships through our shared passion for the rangelands.

I encourage you sign up if you haven’t already, and bring a friend or two as well – especially if they have not been to an ARS conference before. This is their perfect chance to discover why we are all so passionate about our rangelands!

Let us strive to create on-going communication and dialogue between policy and the ‘science and art of rangeland management’. If we can achieve this, then we will collectively leave the rangelands with a secure future. The key to future success rests with all of us.