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Katherine Food Futures Roadshow 12 July 2017

Around 45 attendees participated in the Katherine Food Futures roadshow to hear 15 presentations and discussions including: 

• Successful Katherine farmers.
• New farming projects in the region.
• Federal government agencies – ONA, AusIndustry, FIAL
• NT Government agencies – DPIR, DENR
• CSIRO on fracking.
• Katherine community leaders.
• Environment research.

Presentations available for downloading:

DPIR, Katherine Research Program 
DENR Water Resources Division 
Flying Fox Presentation Katherine 
Manbulloo Mangoes Katherine Farmers 
UWA - Sustainability & Northern Development

Simon Smith, President of NT Farmers introduced the ideas behind Food Futures and the role of NT Farmers in the northern agricultural development.

Katherine farmers, Maree Piccone owner of Manbulloo Mangoes and Chris Howie of Douglas Daly, opened the session with a practical discussion of how their business became successful along with advice for those seeking to farm in the north. 2 key factors here where managing risk by growing the business with diversification and dealing with isolation.
Tim Hill of AusIndustry represented the Federal Government, especially Food Futures sponsor, the Federal Office of North Australia, and their activities in developing northern Australia. Mario Martini from the Business section of the Federal Dept. of Industry Innovation and Science and Angus Crosson of Food Innovation Australia Ltd, also briefed participants on Federal Government assistance programs. 
Diversification of pastoral leases into cropping (surface water and furrow irrigation) were discussed in presentations by Mark Sullivan of Flying Fox Station, Kylie Gracey of NT Cattlemen’s Assoc. and Callen Thomson of Dept. Primary Industry. The proposed CRC project on Flying Fox was discussed. Water regulation was identified as a key issue in this discussion.

Gabby Yates, Water Planner with NT Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources spoke on water regulation, especially in the Katherine district and the need for better policy in surface water regulation as industry develops.

Prof Michael Douglas of Univ. WA spoke eloquently on “The Sensible Center”, the convergence of ideas between agricultural development, environmental protection, and indigenous economic development. Michael highlighted the benefits of farmers, environmentalists and indigenous groups talking to each other to identify common middle ground, rather than allowing extreme views on either the development or environment sides to dominate discussion.

Katherine community leaders, Fay Miller, Mayor of Katherine Council, and Sandra Nelson, MLA for Katherine, were both very positive about the role of developing agriculture in the Katherine region. The development of a transport hub in Katherine is a key priority for both. Funding from NT Government for a Katherine Industry Development Officer was recognized as a significant step forward.

Dr Ian Biggs of DPIR outlined the department’s R&D program and extension activities. Dr Damian Barrett of CSIRO hosted a long discussion about fracking in the Katherine region, with plenty of questions from participants.

 Alice Springs Food Futures Road Show 16 March 2017

Jo Townsend, A/CEO of the Department Environment and Natural Resources speaking on water regulation

A panel discussing farming on indigenous lands includinfg the successful Ale Kerang melon farm.
L-R: Vin Lange CEO Centrefarm, Tony Renehan Central Land Coucil and Ale Kerang Traditional Owners Peter Corbett and Graeme Beasley. 

Over 50 people attended the Alice Springs Food Futures Roadshow in March 2017, an audience of farmers, investors, pastoralists, indigenous landowners and government department staff and the wider community.

This was the first of a series of regional events to be held in Katherine, Douglas Daly, Kununurra and Georgetown leading up to the Northern Australia Food Futures Conference in Darwin 2-4 July 2018

The Alice Springs roadshow focused on local farmers and local issues including fracking, water management, new investment, farming on pastoral leases, government R&D and farming with indigenous landowners. 

Successful Central Australian farmers including Ritchi Hayes of Rocky Hill growing grapes, Paul McLaughlin of Ale Kerang growing melons, and Wally Cline of Orange Ck Station growing lucerne and other crops spoke about their success and offered advice to future investors. 

Peter Wood of Fortune Investors spoke of their plans for new cropping investment on Singleton Station.

Jo Townsend A/CEO of Department of Environment and Natural Resources spoke on the contentious issues of water regulation and Jason Hill on soil investigations.

Peter Corbett and Graeme Beasley, traditional owners from Ale Kerang and Tony Renehan of Central Land Council spoke of their positive experiences working with Paul McLaughlin growing melons at Ale Kerang.

Dr Damian Barrett of CSIRO spoke on the process of fracking and outlined the possible risks of fracking in Central Australia, refuting many of the claims of the problems of fracking in the general media.

Simon Smith, President NT Farmers Association wrapped up the session with a commitment from NT Farmers to form a Central Australian branch of NT Famers. 

Kununurra Food Futures Roadshow -28th March

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Wrapping up discussions (L-R) Rob Boshammer, Ord Farmer, Mat Grey, Ord Farmer, David Cross, CEO ORDCO with Greg Owens, CEO NT Farmers.

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(L-R) Gareth Jones, QLD Department of Agriculture - Townsville, Lorraine Corowa, NT Department of Primary Industries - Darwin, Phil Hausler, NT Department of Primary Industries - Darwin, Ian Biggs, NT Department of Primary Industries - Katherine.

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(L-R) Brett Gill, Douglas Daly - NT Farmers, Graeme Owen, Ag consultant.

The Kununurra Food Futures roadshow attracted over 70 participants including over 30 from outside of the Ord.

Food Futures roadshows are run in regional centers across the north by NT Farmers with assistance from Federal Office Northern Australia.

Participants at Kununurra included some of the leaders in Australian agriculture including 
• Chairman GRDC John Woods
• Chairman Cotton Australia Simon Corrish and a number of CA board members
• Cotton RDC R&D Manager Ian Taylor
• Agrifutures Australia R&D Manager Duncan Farquhar.
• NT Dept. Primary Industry Directors Lorraine Corowa and Phil Hausler
• Qld Dept. Agriculture Gareth Jones and Paul Grundy
• Ron Greentree 
• Mayor Etheridge Shire (Georgetown) Warren Devlin
• CRC Northern Australia CEO Jed Matz and NT Manager Sally Leigo
• North Australia Infrastructure Fund WA Manager – Peter Ross

Local Ord speakers participating included: 
• David Menzel as MC – Ord farmer and Shire Chairman
• John Foss - Chair of Northern Australia Crops Research Alliance
• Jim Engelke - General Manager Kimberley Agricultural Investments
• David Cross – CEO of OrdCo
• Rob Boshammer – Ord farmer
• Matt Grey - Ceres Farms
• Mark Warmington – WA DPIRD scientist
• Rob Cossart – WA DPRID Director North region business operations and development

This event included: 
• Farm tour of the Ord, including cotton planted and cotton research trials
• Evening BBQ Frank Wise Research Station WA DPIRD
• Workshop at Frank Wise Research Station WA DPIRD

For local Ord farmers it was an opportunity to interact with some of the leaders of Australian agriculture and an opportunity to find out what is happening in NT and Queensland. 

For those outside of the Ord it was an opportunity to see recent developments especially Ord Stage 2 and cotton production.

The Kununurra Food Futures Roadshow built linkages across the north, and linkages north - south with key agricultural organisations. Strong farmer to farmer linkages were invaluable.

All Presentations are available below for download.

AgriFutures Kununurra 28032018 presentation.pdf
Cotton Meeting KNX 2018 CSIRO Pres.pdf
CRCNA - Presentation 1 December kununurra mar 18.pdf
KAI 2018 Food Futures pres Kununurra.pdf
NACRA - Food Futures kununurra March 18.pdf
What's happening in Queensland - QLD Government