JUST like his surname, Barry Large has always had a big presence in representing Western Australian growers, both at State and Federal levels.
Having grown up surrounded by agriculture in the Wheatbelt and the proud owner of Moorara Farms at Miling, Mr Large says working in and supporting grower advocacy groups such as the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA (PGA) over the years has really just been an investment in his own business.
Playing an integral role in the inception of Grain Producers Australia (GPA) in 2010 after the Grains Council of Australia folded in 2008, Mr Large has been on the GPA board since it was founded and held the role of deputy chairman from 2013 until he was elected chairman of the group in September last year.
In his chat with Farm Weekly journalist BREE SWIFT, he encouraged all WA growers to get behind those groups that represent them so their commercial interests and the industry as a whole can continue to be protected.
Q: What are some of GPA’s most significant policy priorities for the grains industry heading into next month’s Federal election?
A: Every issue that our members raise for GPA to advocate is a priority, to deliver better profitability and sustainability.
We’ve gone through a grass roots process engaging with our members to develop our policy requests, and advocate outcomes at this year’s Federal election.
Our document has 12 priority headings – and they’re all priorities for growers.
But some of them, such as increasing the supply of skilled labour on grain farms at seeding and harvest times, are being felt more than others.
Reducing input costs is also critically important for all growers right now.
That’s why we are asking for commitments to policy initiatives to help bolster local manufacturing of chemicals, fertilisers and fuel, to mitigate supply risks and cut costs.
Digital connectivity is also a big one along with strengthening biosecurity protections and cutting freight costs.
While we’re asking politicians to get behind these requests and make clear commitments, the reasoning behind them is beyond politics.
These priorities are commercially and scientifically focused, to deliver the best outcomes for growers – especially to improve our sustainability and help manage seasonal fluctuations and production risks.