2017 Ricegrowers' Association of Australia conference ready to go in Leeton

THE MIA economy is gearing up for a significant boost and it’s all thanks to rice. 

The Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) will be holding its annual conference in Leeton next week and, thanks to the many visitors expected, the shire and wider MIA can expect a cash injection. 

There will also likely be long-term benefits for the region, when growers from all the country share and generate new ideas to better the rice industry’s future.

The meeting was last held in Leeton in 2010, and the conference rotates its venue each year, with a difference branch given the hosting duties. 

In 2017 that has fallen to the Yanco branch of the RGA, who chose to hold the function in Leeton. 

“You can actually choose wherever you like to hold the conference,” RGA eecutive director Graeme Kruger said. 

“The Coleambally branch held theirs in Melbourne as SunRice has offices there and the ports are there where products are exported from. 

“We’re very excited to have it come back to Leeton. 

“It’s great for the economy. People will be spending their money in town while here for the conference. It’s good for everyone.”

With an interesting line up of guest speakers for the conference, growers can also be expected to be informed and inspired over the two days. 

They will include Foodbank Australia chief executive officer Brianna Casey and Fisheries Research and Development Centre national carp control plan co-ordinator, Matt Barwick.

Murray-Darling Basin Authority chief executive officer Phillip Glyde will also speak and, no doubt, will be sought after by many in attendance for a chat about the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.

There will also be a panel session about water trade. 

“To quote Buzz Lightyear ‘to infinity and beyond’ … that’s the direction we will be focusing on at the conference thanks to our theme ‘Building Value – Rice and Beyond’,” Mr Kruger said. 

“We want growers to be inspired and informed throughout the conference. It won’t just be about rice, but all sorts of topics.”

The event is heavily subsidised for RGA members, with registrations closing on Friday. It will also include the annual conference dinner, the annual general meeting and a post-conference tour of Tim and Annette Commins’ property. 

We’re very excited to have it come back to Leeton.

RGA executive director Graeme Kruger