At Wide Open Agriculture we’re serious about
Western Australia’s Wheatbelt – it’s our community
We are headquartered in the Wheatbelt town of Williams, about 160km south of WA’s capital, Perth.
The Wheatbelt extends north from Perth to the Mid West region and east to the Goldfields-Esperance region and is bordered to the south by the South West and Great Southern regions, and to the west by the Indian Ocean, Perth and the Peel region. Altogether the Wheatbelt is more than 150,000 square kilometres in area, or twice the size of Tasmania.
Our first Pilot Plant protected cropping project – The Wedge Smart Shade House – is located in Arthur River in the Shire of Wagin.
Photo credit: Jesse Collins
Wheatbelt ecology is under stress
The Wheatbelt has a huge and diverse ecosystem which is under extreme stress.
Land clearing began in the 1890s with the removal of plant species such as eucalypt woodlands and mallee.
Up to 90% of the Wheatbelt is now cleared, resulting in this region now being home to one of the world’s highest fauna and flora extinction rates.
The Southern Wheatbelt region is a global biodiversity hot spot - this means it is part of only 1% of the earth that contains the highest diversity of fauna and flora species - but it is under threat after losing at least 70% original habitat.
People of the Wheatbelt
Wheatbelt people are hard-working, resilient and have a unique passion for their land and community, but the population is declining.
Depopulation is occurring at rates of up to 2% per annum resulting in closure of primary schools, health centres and retail outlets.
Consolidation of existing farms means there are fewer opportunities for new and existing farmers to enter diversified or regenerative farming systems. High debt leveraging prevents current farmers from transitioning towards diversified and regenerative farming systems.
Our goal is to create opportunities to revitalise the Wheatbelt, to help restore the ecosystem, to ensure long-term productivity, to encourage people back to the region and to inspire diverse, vibrant communities.