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THE WEEKLY ADVERTISER | Initiative spreads global support for Ukraine farmers

A Wimmera farming leader has encouraged grain growers to appreciate their innate connection with global farming and back an initiative supporting Ukraine.

Andrew Weidemann of Grain Producers Australia referred to the national representative organisation’s fundraiser, Grain4Ukraine.

The initiative asks grain farmers to donate proceeds from their winter harvest to Ukrainian farmers managing with business and humanitarian impacts of the Russian invasion.

Mr Weidemann, GPA southern director and research and development spokesman, said Australian and Ukranian farmers had shared interests.

“Farmers, from anywhere in the world, are farmers. Our interests are all the same and that is what struck me most having been involved with global farming networks,” he said. “The initiative came to GPA through our membership base. A lot of calls were made to the director and chief executive about what might be possible to support Ukraine. Of course, globally, Ukraine’s farmers are our competitors; but no-one wants anything like what we are seeing over there to happen to anyone.”

The Grain4Ukraine fundraiser will donate contributions through a Grower Delivery Card within the National Grower Register system.

GPA chief executive Colin Bettles said donations would go to external programs, as determined by a Grain4Ukraine sub-committee, with a focus on long-term and future recovery of Ukrainian farmers and communities.

“We are encouraging Australian grain farmers to fly the flag for Ukraine to show our support for Ukraine farmers, and to provide ideas and suggestions – from anyone in the grains industry and across Australian agriculture – on where and how to target the best possible support,” he said.

Mr Weidemann, of Rupanyup, said while news reports were disseminating conflict-impact media from Ukraine, it remained difficult for people to fully understand the depths of the war’s destruction on Ukrainian farming communities.

“No-one can comprehend what is fully going on there – even if we get news snippets that might tell a small tale,” he said.

Mr Weidemann, also one of eight Australians involved with global farmers round-table organisation, Global Farmers Network, said through its alumni of international farmers he remained in contact with Ukrainian farmers dealing with the conflict.

He said a grower-delivery card was a way farmers could show support.

“We established the fundraiser so every cent raised could be given to Ukrainian farmers in some way or another,” he said. “Our Western Australian sub-committee members, in particular and with a substantial amount of Ukrainian-linked people in their communities, know readily how hard the war has hit Ukrainian farmers.”

The GPA initiative has encouraged farmers to fly a Ukrainian flag from farm machinery during sowing and to share pictures of the flags and machinery on social media with the hashtag #AussieGrain4Ukraine

The appeal’s National Grower Register card number is 1500 4442 and registered to Grain Producers Australia Limited.

After program submissions were made and money allocated, a project report would be available for member transparency.


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