Lismore Biodiversity Award winners mix macadamia farming with innovative environmental management

2019 Lismore council biodiversity awards winners Stephen Genrich and Bruno Bertolo with CCC officer Diana Unsworth

Stephen Genrich (left) and Bruno Bertolo (right) with Clean Coastal
Catchment’s officer Diana Unsworth at the 2019 Lismore Biodiversity Awards.

23 September 2019

The Clean Coastal Catchments (CCC) project was delighted to be part of the 2019
Lismore Biodiversity Awards to showcase the inspiring work of farmers, volunteers, and
others working to protect healthy habitats in the Lismore City Council region.

CCC sponsored the Primary Producer Award category and our CCC Officer Diana
Unsworth sat on the judging panel that selected this year’s winners, macadamia
growers, Bruno Bertolo and Stephen Genrich.

Bruno and Stephen have constructed a wetland on their farm at Whian Whian north of
Lismore, an area known for its beautiful rainforests and waterfalls. The wetland filters
run off from their macadamia farm, helping protect water quality in the local Rocky
Creek catchment.

They have also made significant improvements to drainage management and erosion
control, enhanced biodiversity within the farm as part of their integrated pest
management plan, planted a koala corridor along their boundary, and implemented
large scale compost production to improve soil biology and organic carbon levels.

The Primary Producer Biodiversity Award assessed how nominees demonstrated best
practice in managing biodiversity alongside agricultural production, and how they have
shared their knowledge, experience and outcomes with the broader community.

Bruno and Stephen have opened their farm to the public during field days, and hosted
students from schools and university projects to show how they have incorporated
regenerative agriculture and biodiversity into a successful farming operation.

“The skill of sharing your knowledge and experience is an important aspect in initiating
and spreading best management practices to friends, neighbours and industry
colleagues, and their passion is contagious,” said Diana.

“The judging panel was very impressed with the way Bruno and Stephen have achieved
the change from conventional to regenerative farming while maintaining a productive
orchard.”

“They have embraced biodiversity as an important asset in a working farm, improved
water quality, minimised fertiliser run off and increased the natural resilience of their
farming system.”

The CCC team congratulate Bruno and Stephen on their Biodiversity Award win and
their innovative approach to combining productive farming with progressive
environmental management.

The Clean Coastal Catchments project is funded under the NSW Government's Marine
Estate Management Strategy. The ten-year Strategy was developed by the NSW Marine
Estate Management Authority to coordinate the management of the marine estate.