Dimboola roadside cropping to resume

ROADSIDE cropping will resume in parts of Dimboola district.

Hindmarsh Shire Council has approved controlled roadside cropping on Minyip-Dimboola Five Chain Road, between the Borung Highway and Geodetic Road.

The program is confined to historically cropped areas.

Hindmarsh Shire had a long history of roadside cropping before it became mired in controversy and was phased out in about 2006.

Council infrastructure services director Douglas Gowans said money raised from the new program would benefit community groups and organisations.

But conditions for the roadside cropping’s reinstatement will be strict.

Council is ultimately responsible for the land, and has to ensure statutory environmental obligations are upheld.

“Cropping will only be reinstated where there is no remnant environmental value,” Mr Gowans said.

Councillors voted on Wednesday to impose five conditions on farmers approved to participate in the program.

The conditions protect existing trees and native vegetation; impose an environmental assessment before cropping; prevent cultivation near tabledrains, road seals or intersections; and prohibit the removal of any boundary fencing to gain access to roadside areas.

“It is envisaged that only directly neighbouring farms to each roadside parcel will be entitled to cultivate and crop the area,” Mr Gowans said.

“Each farm enterprise participating will need to separately account for all input costs and sale of grain.

“This process would need to have the ability to be independently audited.”

An independent governance committee will be established to ensure profits from roadside cropping are fairly distributed throughout the community.

“The profits of each enterprise will need to be placed into a trust account of the governance committee as soon as practicable following payment for the market product,” Mr Gowans said.

Program applicants will have to lodge a planning permit with council.

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