Redman on flying grower visit

Countryman

The role of the Department of Agriculture and Food (DAFWA), the season and crop progress, grain prices, risk management and the way forward for agriculture in WA were some of the topics growers discussed with WA Agriculture Minister Terry Redman last week.

Mr Redman made a flying visit to Dalwallinu last Thursday where he met local producers Jane and Harry Hyde, then called into the Liebe Group Spring Field Day which had a turnout of about 230 growers and industry representatives, before heading to Lake Grace to meet farmers.

Mr Hyde said it was a good opportunity to hear some of Mr Redman's ideas for the industry and to put his own forward.

He told Mr Redman that he would like politicians to free up the barriers in the agricultural industry so people could "have a go".

"At the moment we are seeing too much intervention in agriculture," he said.

"I don't think handouts help. They don't work. It is basically about creating a climate so people can have a go."

Mr Hyde said he felt DAFWA had lost its way and was not sure of what role it played but he did see a role for it as an administrator of regulations.

On the Hydes' property, 178mm of rain fell to the end of August, with 71mm of that falling before April.

"We had a bit of rain on Monday (8mm)," Mr Hyde said. "It's not a perfect season but 40km west of here we are having a nice season."

At Lake Grace the future of the local DAFWA office was a hot topic of debate with growers concerned that the office, which has three staff, would close. But Mr Redman said the department's Lake Grace office was not on the list of 'lazy assets' destined for sale.

The local research station is on the list of lazy assets and Mr Redman encouraged the growers, who use the land for community cropping projects, to put in a proposal to acquire the land.

Locusts, hospital services, DAFWA's decision to move out of wheat breeding and equity levels of growers were also discussed.

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