Growcom had the pleasure of attending the Rural Press Club of Queensland’s lunch this month which focused on farming alongside the Great Barrier Reef.
Reef Alliance Chair and former CEO of Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) Ruth Wade spoke passionately about managing co-existence and what industry must do to ensure a healthy reef into the future.
Growcom shares Ruth’s vision of a reef that continues to improve; where viable farmers are able to produce clean, green and safe food in a way that safeguards one of Australia’s natural wonders for generations to come.
The Australian Government has been supporting the farming sector to reduce agricultural run-off into the Great Barrier Reef since 2008.
Recently the government announced it would contribute a further $960,000 to assist production horticulture growers to improve water quality on farms in the Burnett, Fitzroy, Bowen and Burdekin reef catchments over the next three years.
This new funding forms part of the $45 million phase three of the Federal Government’s Reef Trust and has been made available through the joint Reef Alliance, led by QFF.
Growcom has a proud history of delivering farm management practice change and innovation to production horticulture growers over many years, firstly as part of the Reef Rescue Program from 2008 – 2013 and most recently in conjunction with NQ Dry Tropics, Fitzroy Basin Association and Burnett Mary Regional Group to deliver Reef Water Quality Grants across Queensland.
These programs have enabled growers to afford to put in place changes to farming practices which they have identified as environmentally sustainable but also to bring real benefits to their farm businesses’ bottom lines through improvements to productivity and greater efficiencies in fertiliser, pesticide and irrigation water use.
Under phase three, Growcom will build on the last eight years of credible gains in both environmental outcomes and financial benefits to industry through the adoption of best management practice.
While most larger growers are well on the way to sustainability through engagement in the previous programs, smaller and emerging growers are the main target of this round of funding.
Under the program, one-on-one extension and training services, along with comprehensive support networks across all field production systems including administration and compliance, will be delivered through Growcom’s Hort360 program, the best management practice (BMP) program for production horticulture.
Through the Hort360 program, extension staff will assist growers to implement changes to nutrient, sediment and pesticide management practices to capture water run-off from farms and improve the health and resilience of the Great Barrier Reef.
We are pleased by the government’s recognition of the importance of industry BMP programs as mechanisms for delivering on-farm practice change and assisting growers to meet their environmental obligations.
Growers in reef catchments who would like to take part in this program should contact Growcom Land & Water Field Officers Luke Hargreaves (Bowen / Burdekin) on 0439 898 867 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Daryl Anastasi (Burnett / Fitzroy) on 0428 716 218 or email email@example.com. Banana growers should contact the Australian Banana Growers’ Council for more information on (07) 3278 4786.