Grains industry leaders have met to debate and dissect issues of national importance, to develop policy and strategies to be advocated by Australia’s peak grain producer representative group.
Grain Producers Australia (GPA) Policy Council Chair, Andrew Weidemann, said the meeting last week was held virtually due to COVID travel restrictions, bringing together State grains group representatives from throughout Australia.
Mr Weidemann said with a near record crop verging on 55 million tonnes set to be harvested this year, and a looming Federal Election, it was critical to hear leaders’ views about their industry’s immediate and future needs, to strengthen grower profitability and sustainability.
He said a number of expert presentations also helped drive and inform the Council’s important policy discussions; including from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
“GPA plays an important legislative role representing levy-paying growers with strategic oversight and input on GRDC’s research and development investment priorities and direction,” he said.
“This is an ongoing conversation which benefits our members in being able to directly discuss the issues impacting our industry, and ask questions, directly with GRDC representatives.”
Mr Weidemann said GPA’s Policy Council also heard a presentation by v2foods about the potential commercial opportunities for Australian grain producers from an emerging domestic plant-based protein market that’s forecast to reach $6.6 billion by 2030.
“Rather than importing soy protein concentrate that’s made from soybeans originated in other countries such as the US, it makes dollars and sense – especially for our farmers and rural communities – to manufacture it here using Australian grown soybeans and local manufacturing.
“We want to see less stick and more carrots from government to attract investment in alternative protein products, in ways that can capture genuine commercial opportunities for our growers through locally produced grains and manufacturing.
“Grain producers are often also livestock producers so we understand concerns about truth in labelling and threats of misinformation in labelling – but we also know the underlying importance and reality of incentivising grain producers, to grow this market sustainably and share profitability.”
Mr Weidemann said Council addressed other important issues for growers including; mouse plague management; harvest workforce shortages; biosecurity; concerns about ISCC canola certification system; export market access and supply chain competition; chemical use; industry sustainability; plant breeding and general research and development matters; right to repair; and Grains Australia.