Wagga attracts agriculture's brightest minds

FOR three days a collection of the brightest minds in agriculture met for a conference in Wagga.

The initiative of GrainGrowers known as Innovation Generation focused on the issues affecting the rural sector.

INFORMATION SHARING: GrainGrowers chief executive officer Michael Southan is pictured at the Innovation Generation 2018 conference in Wagga. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

INFORMATION SHARING: GrainGrowers chief executive officer Michael Southan is pictured at the Innovation Generation 2018 conference in Wagga. Picture: Nikki Reynolds

There was a big focus on highlighting the wants and needs of the younger generation and attracting the best people to the industry.

On day three of the event GrainGrowers chief executive officer Michael Southan told The Rural the conference had been a success.

These farmers are keen to learn what is happening in other industries and how they can bring that onto their farm.

Michael Southan

He said more than 150 delegates from as far away as New Zealand attended. 

Dr Southan said the aim was to proved plenty of diversity and there were opportunities to learn from other sectors.

“These farmers are keen to learn what is happening in other industries and how they can bring that onto their farm,” he said. 

“Grain farming is not something that should work in isolation,” Dr Southan said.

“We very much see that we can learn and take on technologies and systems that other enterprises use.” 

On Tuesday there was a break in the program to complete industry visits.

The delegates attended the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) sites in Wagga, the Ladysmith Feedlot, Junee Licorice and Chocolate Factory and Riverina Oil and Bio Energy plant. 

Dr Southan said the future of farming was to encourage the young people to become part of the industry. 

“The days where family farming was tightly held by the patriarchs is changing … maybe slowly,” he said. 

“Succession planning in farming is no different to any other business succession plan,” he said.

GrainGrowers has a 60-year history and initially started in North Star in 1958.

The genesis of the organisation at the time was to help farmers differentiate in quality of their product.

This allowed them to be paid accordingly. 

Today the group plays a key role in making policy decisions that affect the industry as well as running conferences like the one in Wagga. 

“The key now really is profitability and sustainability,” Dr Southan said. 

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