Accolade for grower group

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Cally DupeThe West Australian
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Industry representatives at the GIWA 2017 Grower Group of the Year award.
Camera IconIndustry representatives at the GIWA 2017 Grower Group of the Year award. Credit: Grower Group Alliance

The West Midlands Group has taken out an accolade for its leadership and efforts in delivering research, development and extension, and adoption.

The Dandaragan-based team scooped the Grain Industry Association of WA Grower Group of the Year award at the recent Grower Group Alliance Growing Expectations summit in Perth.

Formed in 2003, the West Midlands Group employs 11 people and works with growers from Moora, Gingin, Dandaragan, and surrounds.

West Midlands executive officer Anne Wilkins said the group was honoured to receive the award.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank the staff and board of the West Midlands Group,” she said. “We are fortunate to have an experienced and motivated team who are innovative thinkers and want to push the boundaries in research, development and extension.

“We are also seeing a lot of changes and opportunities as the intensive horticulture industry expands in our region and as a group we are ensuring that our strategic direction reflects that.”

The group has four program areas: soil conservation, livestock/erosion, horticulture/water and the women’s committee. Current projects include non-wetting soils in the West Midlands area, adopting variable rate irrigation and fertilising perennial pastures, among others.

In presenting the award, GIWA treasurer Neil Hooper said the group had played an integral role for growers in the Central Midlands region.

“This includes partnering with industry to link pastoral beef to high-value markets through new backgrounding systems, adding significant value to pastoral cattle and providing new employment opportunities on-farm and in meat processing,” he said.

“West Midlands Group also partner strongly with research and development corporations and the wider industry, which is being demonstrated on the ground in increased productivity and profitability gains for the group, its members and the region.”

Grower Group Alliance executive officer Annabelle Bushell said the award acknowledged the important role grower groups played in their local communities.

“West Midlands Group play a leading role in their community — as well as continuing to deliver targeted research, development and extension in their local area, they are also exploring opportunities to increase the sustainability and productivity of the group and their region,” she said.

“Grower groups across WA and Australia play a pivotal role in regional communities and are a valuable collaborative partner for government, levy-funded entities and private companies in the extension and adoption of new technologies.

“This award recognises both the social importance of grower groups as well as the critical link they play in the agricultural landscape.”

The formation of West Midlands Group in 2003 brought together several smaller groups under the banner of West Midlands National Resource Group Incorporated.

In 2008, its name changed to West Midlands Group, to reflect a new direction and the group’s involvement in on-farm issues. The group will hold a Spring field day at Graham and Mel White’s Badgingarra farm on September 12.

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