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Grower leaders from the nation’s major grain producing regions gathered in Melbourne for Grain Producers Australia’s national Policy Council meeting this week, to address key issues and solutions.

Presidents, representatives and professional staff from the State Grains Committees discussed their members’ policy priorities for the year ahead, and ways to continue boosting grower profitability and sustainability.

GPA’s meeting coincided with ABARES releasing figures forecasting record winter crop production in season 2022-23 at 67.3 million tonnes, surpassing last year's previous record of 63.3 million tonnes.

Estimates placed the value of this most recent national crop at more than $28 billion, with wheat returning 39.2 million tonnes, canola 8.3 million tonnes and barley 14.1 million tonnes.

GPA Chair, Barry Large said, after three large harvests it was an ideal time to pursue valuable opportunities to invest in the Australian grains industry’s continued success and future capacity to deliver shared social and economic benefits, for rural communities and the national economy.

Mr Large said GPA’s work on important policy matters, and key representative responsibilities, helped drive these shared returns, while providing a strong and influential voice for growers.

“Our members held important talks this week about the issues that matter for growers, to continue the work we’ve been doing over time and set out our agenda and priorities for the year,” he said.

Mr Large said record high input costs – as identified by in GPA’s 2023 policy survey – were front of mind for growers, as they started fine-tuning decisions about this year’s production programs.

“Fertiliser costs in particular are causing concerns, along with fuel and pesticides and that’s why we need to continue looking at ways of improving local production, to help mitigate risks,” he said.

“Supply chain efficiencies also continue to present challenges for our industry, but also opportunities to look at ways we can find solutions and capture more value, not just for growers.”

Former Inspector-General of Biosecurity, Rob Delane, presented to the meeting and responded to important questions about the risks of khapra beetle getting into Australia.

Grains Research and Development Corporation Chair, John Woods, and GRDC General Manager Strategy and Business Development, Ron Osmond, provided a high-level overview of current grains RD&E projects priorities, such as Grains Australia, to inform members and answer questions.

Australian Farm Institute Executive Director, Richard Heath, also spoke about the Australian Agriculture Sustainability Framework, and strategic alignment with other sustainability projects.

Farm labour, stronger biosecurity protections and preventions, levy-spending priorities, spray drift management, pesticide application and stewardship, grain quality and enhanced market access, and right to repair, were also discussed and informed by various presentations.

GPA Chief Executive, Colin Bettles, said the national grower group will now develop and implement various actions to take forward for members, to deliver policy outcomes with strong advocacy.

“We will also be collaborating and engaging with other groups where needed, to develop strong partnerships on projects that can help achieve better results for growers,” he said.



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