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In June 2007, at the height of a long standing drought, Yarramine was engaged by South West NRM to design an incentives program that would encourage landholders in the south west Queensland region to improve the resilience of their native pastures with a view to speeding up an eventual "bounce back" in condition following wishful drought breaking rains.
Thus the Pasture Recovery Initiative was born.
The Pasture Recovery Initiative was designed based on the premise that landholders would receive a stewardship payment to partially or totally de-stocking their properties together with undertaking the control of goats, pigs and kangaroos. This resultant reduction in grazing pressure would in turn lead to more resilient pastures.
The key to the program was the mechanism by which such payments for these services would occur.
A lease and agistment model was adopted whereby the landholder would grant to South West NRM a sub-lease for all or part of their property over a period of a minimum one year up to a maximum of five years and in doing so grant South West NRM exclusive rights to graze stock.
These rights however were not exercised.
Using an Expression of Interest and Tender Bid arrangement a pilot round of the program was undertaken in late 2007 with a budget of $200,000.
A total of 37 eligible bids from 30 landholders, for 35 properties were received for the pilot round, with bids totalling in excess of $2.6 million to spell in excess of 328,000 hectares.
Given the budget for the pilot exercise South West NRM was only able to fund 5 of the 37 eligible bids which resulted in a total area of 61,224 hectares being spelled across the region for an average period of just over 2 years.