Stories: On the Farm
Helen and Clive Brownlie - Pampas, QLD, Australia
Fostering Sustainability with myBMP
The Australian cotton Best Management Practices (myBMP) demonstrate that a grower is committed to consuming less water and chemicals, to maintaining healthy soils and to being held accountable for sustainability. Cotton growers Clive and Helen Brownlie of “Culverthorpe” in Pampas, Queensland, have taken up the myBMP principles wholeheartedly, with very positive results.
The Brownlies have a strong family history of cotton production, with Clive’s father planting some of Australia’s first cotton around 60 years ago. Voluntary environmental regulation of the industry commenced in 1991 to improve its sustainability standards, and the Brownlies were among the first farms to undertake myBMP.
The voluntary program aims to lift standards of cotton production – including chemical, land and water use – by ensuring accurate measurements of on-farm activities. In 2010, an online myBMP interface was launched, providing self-assessment mechanisms and auditing tools for growers to compare their production with national standards. They can also access the latest scientific data, information and resources, have queries answered, and quickly and easily evaluate their production against optimal efficiency. The program has had great success, including a 95% reduction in pesticides industry-wide and a 42% increase in water use efficiency.
By integrating best practice standards and expectations into everyday operations and its culture, “Culverthorpe” remains myBMP certified today. More than 500 protocols cover everything from picking to spraying and worker safety, and Clive finds the requirements easy to manage and justifiable considering the reassurance and certainty they provide. His key to success is a willingness to adapt, operating the farm in a manner that can continue successfully into the future.