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Award of the Mckell Medal for 1989

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PIE 89/290C



The 1989 McKell Medal is to be awarded to Mr Rex Edmondson of Western Australia for his outstanding contribution to soil conservation.

This was announced today by the Federal Minister for Resources and Chairman of the Australian Soil Conservation Council, Senator Peter Cook.

"The McKell Medal is the leading Australian award for soil conservation," Senator Cook said.

"Mr Edmondson is a worthy recipient of this distinction as a result of his tireless efforts in organising and promoting soil conservation at local, State and national levels," Senator Cook said.

Mr Edmondson has been Chairman of the Jerramungup Land Conservation District Committee since its inception at his instigation in 1983.

Through his efforts and those of the District Committee wind erosion has not occurred in the Jerramungup District since the early eighties, minimum tillage and sound ground cover practices have been adopted by upwards of 90 per cent of farms and some 40 per cent of all farmers in

the district are actively involved in soil conservation projects.

The District Committee's tree seeder has sown over 600,000 trees in the last four years;

Under Mr Edmondson's guidance, the District Committee has attracted around $680,000 of external funding to combat land degradation. The District Committee has also made videos which have been used regionally and nationally to illustrate the potential of community


Mr Edmonson has played a key role in the establishment of the Fitzgerald River Biosphere project. This project has integrated the management of a national park with surrounding farms and has promoted integrated catchment management. He has also encouraged research into

perennial fodder trees and other areas to complement his efforts in arresting soil degradation.

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Senator Cook said that Mr Edmondson had provided leadership to the land care program in Jerramungup and Western Australia and had influenced land use strategies well beyond his immediate a r e a .

"Mr Edmondson has provided a model which all Australian farming communities should follow," Senator Cook said.

"It is this sort of foresight which will ensure agriculture can continue to be productive and sustainable," he concluded.

The medal will be presented officially to Mr Edmondson at the Fifth Australian Soil Conservation Conference to be held in Perth in March, 1990.

Media Contact:

Phil Hurst (062) 72 4522