Southern DIRT sets sights on growth

Kate MatthewsCountryman
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Grower group Southern DIRT is ready to launch into a growth phase in the next three years, thanks to a new strategic plan.

It's the second plan for the group, after becoming established in July 2010.

Southern DIRT executive officer Erin Gorter said the vision was to grow the productivity and profitability of mixed farming in the southern region of the State.

Using professional expertise from Ag Knowledge, the strategy was formulated and signed off in March.

"The plan is about us operating as an effective business and part of running an effective business is to have a long-term plan," Mrs Gorter said.

With three part-time staff, the group is busy with several projects. Southern DIRT will host sites for Katanning Landcare's saltbush cloning project, a pH variability trial across pasture paddocks, and their site for the Grain and Graze 2 pasture cropping project is up and running.

They will also host an event for Australian Wool Innovation on July 27.

Another project they are looking at is to investigate the mixed farming system, specifically cropping paddocks coming back into pasture.

"Mixed farming is unique in trying to get the synergies between livestock and cropping and incorporating natural resource management at the same time," Mrs Gorter said.

"It's something specific to our area that the majority of our members deal with day-to-day."

Creating a lot of excitement is news that Southern DIRT will host a meat profit day for Meat and Livestock Australia at the Albany Entertainment Centre on August 28.

The last meat profit day in WA was held in 2007 and before that in Carnarvon in 2002.

"The theme will be growing to 'meat' the future," Mrs Gorter said.

"It will be looking at the future of the meat industry, incorporating young people in the mix and ways of rebuilding our herds and flocks."

The seminar will also look at ways of adapting to change and soil, animal and human nutrition.

The Southern DIRT group has also had several changes to its board, including Kojonup farmer Lynley Anderson replacing Paul Omodei as chairman, Woodanilling farmer Graydn Wilcox voted as vice-chairman and Kojonup farmer Daniel Simpson has joined the board to replace Mr Omodei.

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