Packed GROWING SA event shines a light on ag’s importance
ABOUT 300 people attended the inaugural GROWING SA conference in Hahndorf last Friday to hear the latest in farm business advice, research and development and policy updates.
The conference – a partnership between Grain Producers SA and Livestock SA – featured a host of agripolitical and farm business speakers including Assistant Minister for Agriculture Anne Ruston, Australian Farm Institute’s Mick Keogh and agricultural investment leader Ed Peter.
Producers were able to put their policy questions directly to a political panel featuring State Minister for Agriculture Leon Bignell, Opposition agricultural spokesperson David Ridgway, and Federal Member for Mayo, and NXT agricultural spokesperson Rebekha Sharkie.
In addition, it featured two event partners – Grains Research and Development Corporation and Meat & Livestock Australia, gold sponsor in Spanlift Australia and nine exhibitors in the trade display.
GPSA Chairman Wade Dabinett says the feedback has been outstanding and both organisations will consider whether the conference becomes an annual fixture on the agricultural events calendar.
“For the inaugural conference, it’s been fantastic, there was a great line-up of speakers which has been reflected in the numbers we’ve had turn out to the event,” he said. “We’ve been humbled by the support we’ve received and thank everyone who attended for getting behind our two organisations.”
Part of the event was to showcase the importance of agriculture to the state, which was a key theme of the day and was carried through to both organisations’ social media accounts. Profiled facts included that ‘agribusiness employs one in five South Australians’ and ‘the food and wine industries generate $18.6 billion’, from the 2015-16 PIRSA Food and Wine Scorecard.
Outgoing Livestock SA President Geoff Power said the news of the day had been both organisations supporting Primary Producers SA to join the National Farmers Federation. SA has not been directly represented to the NFF since 2008, when the former SA Farmers Federation withdrew.
“With GPSA, our organisations have matured and the next step for us was to become part of the national scene again,” Mr Power said.
“It’s just the step forward we need, there’s national issues that we can’t influence if we’re not around the table. Some of those issues are trade and taxation because the backpacker tax is a huge thing for us in South Australia. We want to be around that table to debate and discuss those sorts of important issues to our members.”
PPSA Executive Chairman Rob Kerin said NFF membership would provide South Australian farmers with enhanced input into important national policy discussions.
“After 10 years of SA farmers not having a direct link with the NFF, we are looking forward to bringing SA’s perspective on important issues, such as market access, freight efficiency and biosecurity, to the national table,” Mr Kerin said.
“PPSA’s aim has always been to be the united voice of SA’s primary production industries, and we believe representation on the national stage, through NFF, will help us to get a better deal for SA farmers.”
Other news from the event included the launch of the new Brands App by Livestock SA and the State Government. The collaboration will see SA producers as the first in Australia to access a simple-to-use and effective stock management tool. The SA Brands app can be downloaded from iTunes and Google Play.
In addition, both the Labor Party and the Liberal Party announced they will waive the stamp duty on multi-peril crop insurance, a priority for which GPSA has been calling for in recent months.
Livestock SA also announced details of a new partnership with the Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation to help raise funds for the TeamKids Beach House Project by asking farmers to ‘Donate a Beast’ to TeamKids. All cattle donated will be sent to the Iranda Feedlot at Tintinara and all funds raised from the sale will go towards the charity.
Meat & Livestock Australia, in conjunction with the SA Sheep Advisory Group, announced a $3 million investment over the next three years to help to reduce the incidence and costs of endemic health conditions affecting South Australia’s sheep flock, targeting key conditions such grass seeds, pneumonia, sheep measles, rib fractures and arthritis.