In this eNews, register now for the Supply Chain Forum and grain complex tour this Thursday; consider bee keeping and buying from local honey producers; join the Fit Farmers Challenge; and in the lead up to next year’s election, CHAA undertakes a delegation with Ministers in Canberra to advocate for agriculture and agribusiness in the Central Highlands region.

Last Opportunity to Register for the Agribusiness Supply Chain Forum

Get in quick and register for the From Paddock to Port: Supply Chain Forum being held this Thursday at 8.30am in Emerald. You’ll hear from representatives from Austrade, NQBP Mackay Port, Gladstone Port, Mariana shipping lines and GrainCorp. You’ll also get to chat to producers who visited each of the Ports earlier this year.

After the forum, we’re heading north to “Wandina”, Clermont to check out the Misfud family’s 5000 tonne grain storage complex, which is part of a planned 15,000 tonne development. Thanks to ANZ and CQ AgServices for supporting the field trip with a bus and refreshments.

If you have been driving past the Central Queensland Inland Port site at Yamala, you will have seen construction is underway. Particularly for the grains industry, freight and logistics are rapidly changing in the Central Highlands – register here to find out the latest.

Now is the time… to start a beehive

As part of the Meet the Food Innovator tours last month, I visited Top End Pollination with a group of enthusiastic apiarists (bee keepers) and honey enthusiasts.  There are about 1500 commercial beekeepers around Australia who make a living from honey production, as well as the 22,000+ who keep bees for pleasure.

We learnt about the different types of bees, hive and bee health, and the important role that bees play in pollination. As honey bees forage for nectar and pollen, they pollinate plants, which increases seed or fruit set, improves the storage qualities and shape of some fruits and melons, and promotes more even maturation of some crops. Plant species on which honey bees forage differ in their responsiveness to pollination by honey bees. Crops such as almonds are 100 per cent reliant on honey bees for pollination. It has been estimated that pollination services from honey bees contribute $4-6 billion annually to the Australian economy.

The flowers visited by bees give the honey its flavour and colour. We sampled some beautiful light-coloured, sweet honey made by bees who had provided pollination services for the local macadamia plantation. As our local horticultural industry continues to grow, so will our need for pollination services. So why not consider beekeeping? A group of local beekeepers meet monthly and support each other, and there are some great online resources available:

  • Bee Aware is an excellent website which includes an online training course developed to make it easy for beekeepers to find out how to care for honey bees.
  • Australian Honey Bee Industry Association has some great educational resources about honey and beekeeping suitable for kids.
  • The Queensland Beekeepers’ Association (QBA) is made up of professional apiarists and amateur beekeepers in Queensland, Australia.
  • Check out the Australian-designed Flow Hive – the website also includes tips and videos for beginner beekeepers.

Recently reported in the news, there have been isolated cases of alleged honey adulteration in which the real product is blended with syrup substitutes and sold in supermarkets. What a great reason to support your local honey producers! Central Highlands honey producers such as Bellmay Honey, Knobel Honey and Top End Pollination can be found on Facebook, and at Emerald IGA, Fair Dinkum Meats and the Emerald Visitor Information Centre.

CHAA goes to Canberra: Canberra comes to the Central Highlands…

Anyone checking my twitter feed would have noticed that recently Central Highlands Accelerate Agribusiness (CHAA) Strategic Advisory Group members Mayor Kerry Hayes, Paul Murphy, Fleur Anderson and I hit Canberra in the last week of October to advocate about agriculture and agribusiness in our region.

In two days we had meetings with:

  • Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Mark Coulton MP
  • Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport Scott Buchholz MP
  • Shadow Agriculture Minister Joel Fitzgibbon MP
  • Minister for Regional Development and Territories Sussan Ley MP
  • portfolio for Resources and Northern Australia Senior Advisors Anne Stunzer and Melinda Hashimoto
  • Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Richard Colbeck
  • Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack MP
  • Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud MP.

In addition to sharing the good news story that is our local industry, key items that we covered were:

  • Central Highlands regional outlook
  • Critical agribusiness and Industry Supply Road networks
  • ‘Last mile’ solutions to support the Gladstone Port Corporation
  • Emerald Regional Airport Master Plan and Air Hub
  • Support to grow Central Highlands and regional Queensland agribusiness and agtech companies internationally

We continue to correspond with the invaluable connections made in Canberra. Thanks to Lane Buffington for her assistance in coordinating many of these visits and ensuring we didn’t get lost.

We’ve since had Minister Fitzgibbon return to the region with Labor’s candidate for Flynn Zac Beers and staff, visiting SwarmFarm, Argoon and Fruit Master this week and catching up with local producers for dinner. The group report that they all “truly gained a perspective of the region that was both inspiring and encouraging for the future of agriculture in Australia”.

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack is also visiting at the end of the week to officially launch the CQ Inland Port development.

We are working hard to ensure that we are effectively communicating the strengths and needs for our region in the lead up to next year’s Federal election.

CHCG&IA Fit Farmers Challenge

The Central Highlands Cotton Growers & Irrigators Association is again running its Fit Farmers 5 Week Challenge until 15 December with local business New Beginnings. I am one of the estimated 60 farmers and agribusinesses in the region participating, with a tough first day coinciding with our CHDC staff Christmas Party. Wish me luck – if my results are good I’ll share them – if not, I’ll share everyone else’s! Congratulations to the CHCG&IA for its great work supporting the fitness and mental wellbeing of our agribusiness sector.

Contact Liz Alexander for more information E: or M: 0429 471 511.

 Caption: Top End Pollination’s Alan McIndoe provided an insight into local honey production, as part of last month’s Meet the Food Innovators.






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