LEADERS in the grains, dairy, sugar and egg sectors are all set to benefit from the Coalition government’s $5 million Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund.
Assistant Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Anne Ruston has announced further winners of grants under the new Fund, after the first round was revealed in late October going to the Cattle Council of Australia and Sheepmeat Council of Australia.
Senator Ruston said Grain Producers Australia (GPA) would receive $270,000 in the latest release of the Fund to boost leadership capacity and support the development of future industry leaders.
“The Coalition government believes in and supports agriculture as one of the powerhouses driving the Australian economy and is investing in the next generation of leaders in the grains industry to help drive the industry forward,” she said.
“Through the Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund, Grain Producers Australia will receive support to develop a leadership development strategy and deliver a targeted training program for up to 32 emerging leaders.
“This is an important investment in future leaders and will ensure ongoing support for farmers that produced over $18 billion worth of grain crops in 2016-17 - including cereals, pulses and oilseeds - and over $14.5 billion worth of exports.
“This funding will have a lasting impact on the grains industry supporting the current and next generation of leaders to champion their industry's priorities and provide robust oversight of research and development initiatives to growers and industry.”
Senator Ruston said the Australian Cane Farmers Association Limited and CANEGROWERS would each receive $50,000 from the Fund to send representatives on leadership courses run by the Australian Institute of Company Directors and/or the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation.
“This is an important investment in the industry’s future and will ensure ongoing support for the 4600 cane growers across Australia who produced an estimated $1.8 billion worth of sugarcane in 2016-17,” she said.
“This funding will have a lasting impact on the industry supporting the current and next generation of leaders to champion their industry's priorities on policy matters.”
Another $52,000 was provided to Egg Farmers of Australia which Senator Ruston said was the newly formed national body representing egg farmers in a robust industry valued at $783 million.
The funding will support two scholarships for up-and-coming egg industry leaders to participate in the Australian Rural Leaders Foundation’s Training Rural Australians in Leadership course and two scholarships for directors to participate in an Australian Institute of Company Directors course.
Senator Ruston said the Australian dairy industry had also received a “major boost” with a $335,000 grant under the Fund.
“By identifying and investing in the leaders of the future we are ensuring Australia’s dairy farmers will have the advocacy skills and know-how to champion their industry's priorities,” she said.
“This is an important investment the Turnbull government is only too happy to make for the future of the industry and the rural communities which rely on dairy.
“Given the Australian dairy industry’s long history of championing and leading policy debates, such as pursuing fairer international trade, we anticipate the impact of our investment will reach beyond dairy and benefit Australian agriculture as a whole.”
Senator Ruston also announce last week that Webber Quantitative Consulting had won the tender to commence building an Australian dairy industry milk pricing commodity index – announced last year in response to the farm gate pricing crisis - to better understand and interpret price signals.
“The Coalition government committed to establish a Commodity Milk Price Index at the last election and we are delivering,” she said.
“The index will deliver greater price transparency and improve market signals to dairy farmers.
“The index will help to avoid a situation such as the retrospective price cuts imposed on dairy farmers by Murray Goulburn, Fonterra and National Dairy Products late in the 2016 season.
“The analysis and information resources will assist dairy farmers to incorporate available price information, including the index, into their business decisions and planning.
“The index and associated resources will become available in early 2018 and will be updated monthly.”