PASTORALISTS are concerned about the implications of the increasing area of conservation pockets in South Australia cutting into land available for food and fibre production, changing the social fabric of bush communities and complicating pest control management.
In the past 10 years, the number of pastoral leases held for conservation purposes has increased by 74 per cent, or 11 properties.
Northern pastoralist Kevin Dawes shares the concerns of many across the State as large tracks of prime agricultural land are lost, not only to conservation groups, but to mining companies, foreign investors and Native Title.
He is worried about the long-term implications of where food will be produced.
Mr Dawes owns Farina Station and leases Myrtle Springs, near Lyndhurst, totalling 900 square kilometres of land for sheep and cattle grazing.
Farina borders Witchelina, which was bought this year by Nature Foundation SA with funds from Australian taxpayers and private donors.
With an area of 4200 sq km, Witchelina is the largest property acquired for the National Reserve System through the Federal Government's Caring for Our Country initiative.
"Groups are buying up such big properties and areas of pastoral land. This means food production is finished in these areas," Mr Dawes said.
"There are enough national parks in the country without buying up good farming country. In the long term, we should be worried about where the food is going to come from. We will end up having to import produce."
He said that although feral animal control programs were usually good on the conservation properties, the growing dingo population was a major concern for pastoralists in the region.
While dingoes have been baited on conservation properties, people were not on the properties all year round to monitor tracks, check waters and keep an eye on populations.
Many pastoralists are worried that dingo numbers will continue to rise unchecked on reserves and then make their way onto neighbouring properties.
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