General News

$20,000 Prize Available for Australian Soil Health Experts

Leading soil scientist Emerita Professor Lynette Abbott is encouraging soil experts across Australia to nominate for a prestigious national award.

The General Jeffery Soil Health Award recognises an exceptional individual who is helping improve soil health in Australia, be they a farmer, extension specialist, land manager or educator.

Now in its second round, the $20,000 award supports the work of a person who cares for soil health and who is educating or inspiring others.

Inaugural winner Prof Abbott is passionate about soil biology and fostering an appreciation of the role soil health plays in land management.

As a Senior Honorary Research Fellow at The University of Western Australia, Prof Abbott conducts soil research and is a mentor to young scientists. She is currently working on perennial pastures and land restoration projects at the university’s farm near Pingelly.

Prof Abbott is also involved in working directly with farming communities through workshops and seminars.

Now she is sharing her extensive knowledge with a nationwide audience through digital platforms.

Prof Abbott recently created the SOILHEALTH app featuring podcasts, an eBook and educational videos. This project was supported by the Australia Government Smart Farms Small Grants program under the National Landcare Program.

Her next move is establishing a new online hub of information for “farmers, educators, students – anybody interested in learning about soil biology,” she said.

“I want to create a user-friendly knowledge base for people to learn about soil processes and easily find information about how to improve the health of Australian soils,” Prof Abbott said. “The prize money from the General Jeffery Soil Health Award is helping me to do this. The website will launch later this year.”

“I recommend those working in soil health to nominate themselves or one of their peers for this award,” she said.

“Emerita Professor Lynette Abbott is a powerhouse in this field and we look forward to appointing a winner of her calibre for the 2022 award,” said Dr Shane Norrish, Landcare Australia CEO.

Nominations for the General Jeffery Soil Health Award close on Sunday 17 April.

Finalists will be announced in June and the winner will be announced at the 2022 National Landcare Awards gala dinner on 24 August.

The award is initiated and sponsored by the Office of the National Soils Advocate within the Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and is administered by Landcare Australia.

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