Article by: Hari Yellina (Orchard Tech)
This year has been another huge one for Australian grain producers presenting multiple challenges to navigate, but all spurred by the ultimate goal of a bumper grains harvest with record returns. The nation has dealt with worker shortages, ongoing COVID-19 disruptions, mouse plagues, frost damage, storms and flooding causing a stop-start harvest, down-graded grain quality, supply chain disruptions hitting input costs and supply, and record-high fertiliser prices, just to name a few of the bruises and headaches. However, with a record $22.3 billion national crop forecast is part of a 58.4 million tonne harvest, also a record, the big picture outlook remains positively optimistic, as we near the finishing line.
This mixed dynamic was also reflected in Grain Producers Australia’s 2021 agenda, where our core role of representing growers’ interests to governments and industry was balanced against needing to respond and find ways of fixing different problems which surfaced throughout the year. As always, GPA worked with our state members – Agforce Grains, Grain Producers SA, NSW Farmers Association, Victorian Farmers’ Federation Grains Group, Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, WAFarmers Grains Council and the WA Grains Group – to deliver on these priorities.
Especially in doing our main job representing about 23,000 levy-paying grain producers, to meet various requirements under different areas of Federal Legislation. These legislative responsibilities include; biosecurity, through Plant Health Australia with roles protecting growers’ interest under the Emergency Plant Pest Response Deedm (EPRD) (responding to incidences such as Khapra Beetle); strategic oversight of the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s investment of grower and government funds into RD&E projects and activities; and managing market access and chemical use and application, through the National Residue Survey.
As the nation looks ahead to 2022 and reflect on the challenges of 2021, it does so with great optimism knowing the important changes made this year, as well as the lessons learned, in producing an even bigger crop, will help deliver better outcomes for GPA members and all growers.