Seeding grant to help progress region

Seed collection by Indigenous rangers will continue to take place throughout the Wheatbelt, with Wheatbelt Natural Resource Management (Wheatbelt NRM) announced as one of eight successful applicants of the Regional Economic Development (RED) Grants program.

Announced by Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan in Northam on Friday, Wheatbelt NRM received $75,000 towards their Wheatbelt Seed Solutions program.

Wheatbelt NRM chief executive Natarsha Woods said the funding would support the organisation's Noongar Budjar Rangers collect, treat and store native seed for revegetation projects with the long term goal of developing an independent community-run enterprise.

"Collecting seed to support revegetation projects is a vital service, and having local teams collecting local seed makes both environmental and economic outcomes better," Ms Woods said.

"The Noongar Budgar Rangers have been developing their skills in seed collection and have delivered for a couple of clients already.

"What the funding will let us do is train more rangers, build our ability to store seed and do the marketing for service."

Ms Woods said the feedback from local elders had driven the success of the ranger program.

"Our Aboriginal elders group has told us that creating economic opportunities in NRM for the Aboriginal community is a key objective for them.

"That is why we have been busy growing the ranger team," she said.

"We use a contract labour model and anyone can contract them - just give us a call.

"To date the rangers have taken on work doing seed collection, weed management, site preparation, tree planting, site clean-up, trail maintenance and using our direct seeder to revegetate large areas."

Other successful grant winners included Bruce Rock Engineering, Rowles Agricultural Company, Kochii Eucalyptus Oil, Jurien Bay Chamber of Commerce, Great Southern Seed Works, Caternet Pty Ltd and Marvick Native Farms.

The eight projects across the Wheatbelt will share in $690,000.

Ms MacTiernan said the work taking place around the region was vital to the State's overall economy.

"The Wheatbelt is our state's biggest agricultural production region, so it is vital that we continue to support projects that grow our agricultural industry and provide opportunities to diversify, value-add, and seek new markets for our products," she said.

What do you think of the grant win? Want to congratulate Wheatbelt NRM? Send a letter to eliza.wynn@avonadvocate.com.au.