FROM THE DESK OF CHDC’S AGRIBUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR

Exceptional yields showcased at the Central Highlands Cotton Growers & Irrigators (CHCG&IA) Awards Dinner; highlights from Alison Alexander’s Beyond the City Lights tour; results from the QRIDA 2017 Debt Survey and a reminder of the Farm Business Debt Mediation services; and an important $10 million funding opportunity opens…

Record yields showcased at CHCG&IA Dinner
Congratulations to the volunteers who put on another fantastic annual event on Friday, 31 August. 250 growers, irrigators, sponsors and industry representatives came to the Emerald Town Hall to reflect and celebrate the many achievements in our region. President Aaron Kiely reflected on the 2017/18 season in numbers with this fantastic President’s Review.

Awards were presented to:

  • Grower Service to Industry Award sponsored by Cotton Australia and CHCGIA: Cameron Geddes
  • Iain Mackay Non-Grower Service to Industry Award sponsored by CGS: Susan Maas, CRDC
  • Quality Awards
    – 1st (sponsored by LDC) – Geddes Enterprises – Andrew and Julie Geddes
    – 2nd (sponsored by GT HOSES) – CT Farming – Cameron and Tracey Geddes
  • Rain-grown Yield Awards
    – 1st (sponsored by CSD) – 4b/ha QATC – Emerald Agricultural College
    – 2nd (sponsored by CHCGIA) – 3.01b/ha Mosley Farming – Daryl and Gayle Mosley and Lynora Downs – Cotton JV
  • Irrigated Yield Awards
    – 1st (sponsored by CGS) – 13.5b/ha CT Farming – Cameron and Tracey Geddes
    – 2nd (sponsored by Qld Cotton) – 12.8b/ha Jenderrie Farms – Trevor, Ivy and Derek Elsden
    – 3rd (sponsored by Ag n Vet Rural) – 12.6b/ha Barkool – Ross Burnett

These record yields are outstanding considering they are calculated on a whole-of-farm average. Congratulations to all the growers and industry members. You can see all the results and media from this year’s awards dinner at the CHCG&IA website.

Queensland Food Fellow Alison Alexander brings the city to the bush
CHDC was delighted to host Alison Alexander in the Central Highlands for the last three days of her recent “Beyond the City Lights” tour with Aussie Outback Tours. Alison regularly leads food tours within Queensland and interstate to raise awareness of regional produce but this was her first tour in our region.

On the first day, her 23 guests met with Paul Murphy, CEO of Radicle Seeds, and visited Aaron Kiely and Drew Staier to view kabulis, wheat, garlic, among other irrigated broadacre crops. They then visited Cowal Agriculture, where Greg Kauter and Chris Brummell showcased their best practice cotton operations and shared a video of native wildlife. After a tour of the 2PH facilities with Bindi Pressler, the group finished the day with dinner provided by Roses and Beans at sunset at Fairbairn Dam.

Day 2 saw the group head to Gindie to visit Andrew and Jocie Bate and see SwarmFarm Robots in action. Lunch with Robyn and Neek Morawitz and a tour of their beautiful homestead and farm was followed by seeing both the real Leichhardt’s Dig Tree at Comet and its actual site at the junction of the Nogoa, Mackenzie and Comet Rivers. The Cunzolo family enjoyed some additional potato pickers in the fields before an amazing dinner by Lindy and Roger Lewis, featuring Nogoa Dorper Lamb. Leigh Dyer made the most exquisite cakes, slices and biscuits on both days. Before flying out they also spent the morning with Peter and Eileen Brown at Rubyvale Gem Gallery.

The group were all from Brisbane and incredibly impressed with the producers, noting their good humour, generosity, innovation and youth! Thank you so much to everyone who provided their time and made the trip so wonderful. You have been great ambassadors for the region.

You can listen here (skip to 2:17:00) to Alison speaking on ABC Radio last Saturday about our region’s chickpeas.

You too can catch Alison when she returns to Emerald as a guest speaker at the Meet the Food Innovators Forum on Thursday 25 October: Register here.

2017 QRIDA Rural Debt Survey and Farm Business Debt Mediation Support
Recently released, the Queensland Rural Debt Survey measures the extent, nature and size of total rural indebtedness in Queensland as at 31 December 2017. It plays an important role in shaping government and industry policy relating to primary production enterprises in Queensland. This is the first analysis of movement in rural debt since a previous 2011 survey. The Rural Debt Survey Overview and Full Report is available here.

As of 1 July 2017, the Farm Business Debt Mediation Act 2017 (QLD) legally requires mediation to take place before mortgagees can take possession of a property or other enforcement action under a farm mortgage. If you need assistance in dealing with financial distress, through QRIDA’s Farm Business Debt Mediation, the regional team may be able to assist by linking you to independent, qualified mediators who can provide an efficient and equitable way to attempt to resolve matters relating to debts. More information is available here or contact Bradley Whittington, QRIDA Regional Area Manager (Central Highlands and West) on (07) 4987 5807, 0417 775 345 or bradley.whittington@qrida.qld.gov.au.

$10 million in Rural Economic Development Grants available
Rural Economic Development Grants are available now to fund rural economic development projects that contribute to primary production-related economic development and job creation in rural areas. The Queensland Government program offers emerging projects up to $250,000 in co-contributions to build industry and grow employment opportunities across the agricultural sector.

To be eligible for a grant, applicants must:
• propose a rural economic development project in a rural area in Queensland;
• demonstrate an ability to provide a sufficient cash contribution to fund their portion of the project;
• propose a project that has not already received approval or acceptance under another government scheme.

Eligible projects may include those which:
• implement new technologies and innovations that enhance productivity
• add value to agricultural products, including developing new markets for value-added products
• assist with business development and expansion
• work to achieve economies of scale
• enable businesses to become investment and export ready
• improve energy use efficiencies, including transition to renewable energy sources.

Expressions of interest close 26 October 2018. More information is available here and you can also give either myself or Alicia Dunbar, QDAF, a call or email.

Contact Liz Alexander for more information E: agribusiness@chdc.com.au or M: 0429 471 511.

Image caption: Food consultant and radio presenter Alison Alexander recently brought her “Beyond the City Lights” tour to the Central Highlands.

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