Cattle grazing near Rockhampton, Queensland © WWF-Aus / Virtual Connexion

Cattle grazing near Rockhampton, Queensland © WWF-Aus / Virtual Connexion

Project Pioneer

  • beef
  • farming
  • food production
  • queensland

WWF-Australia works with innovative beef producers to develop, trial and validate improved livestock and pasture management that can deliver significant economic, social and environmental gains. Our major objectives are to reduce sediment in stormwater run-off from farms and improve water quality in the catchments feeding into the Great Barrier Reef lagoon, while also conserving habitat for wildlife on farmland.


To implement Project Pioneer, we teamed up with Resource Consulting Services (RCS), a leader in engaging and educating graziers in sustainable practices. After developing a set of case studies of best practice, we began trialling new techniques in 2015 with funding from the John T Reid Charitable Trusts. In 2016, a grant from the Federal Government's Reef Trust Program provided additional funding for the project over three years. In 2019, RCS secured a two year extension to Project Pioneer from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.







There’s over 870,000 hectares and 50 businesses that are in the project. That’s a massive impact that we will have over the next few years.

Dr Terry McCosker

RCS co-founder and Director


Why Project Pioneer?

Cattle farming is the largest agricultural sector in Australia. In turn, Australia is one of the largest exporters of beef products in the world. It is an industry made up of over 79,000 families and businesses and a major contributor to the social fabric of rural Australia. The catchments that feed into the Great Barrier Reef are home to 18% of Australia’s beef herd.

Despite recent improvements in land use practices, beef production remains one of the main threats to the health of the Great Barrier Reef, due to high levels of sediment and other pollutants in run-off from grazing land.

Through Project Pioneer, WWF-Australia works with farmers and other partners to reduce the environmental impacts of beef production on wildlife and the Great Barrier Reef.



Meet the farmers

We support pioneering Queensland beef producers who are implementing innovative solutions to ensure sustainable agriculture. These far-sighted producers are setting a new standard for sustainable and profitable beef production. Read more about the farmers:


Timeline of action

  • July 2014: We began recruiting graziers and developing case studies of sustainable grazing operations.
  • July 2015: With support from the John T Reid Charitable Trusts, and with partners at Resource Consulting Services (RCS) and the University of Sydney, Project Pioneer began trialling and validating innovative practices on-farm.
  • July 2016: Project Pioneer was awarded a Federal Government Reef Trust Program grant of $2.95 million over three years, to encourage the adoption of sustainable practices among beef producers in Great Barrier Reef catchments.
  • March 2019: Project Pioneer was awarded a further $2.89 million grant for 2019-21 to expand the network of farmers in catchments along the Great Barrier Reef who adopt sustainable grazing principles and practices.

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