In 1956, a handful of farmers in North Star in north-western NSW, thought they could improve the returns they were getting for the high protein wheat their region was able to produce. They set up a committee to campaign to have the quality recognised with price premiums.
Two years later, on 18 August 1958 they incorporated their committee as the Premium Wheatgrowers Association (PWA).
GrainGrowers Chairman, John Eastburn reflects on the organisation’s evolution since its earliest days into the strong and independent national representative organisation it is today.
“Thanks to PWA, northern NSW farmers began to receive a premium if their wheat registered over 13 per cent protein.
"This was one of the largest changes that ever happened in the wheat industry and it transformed not only my life as a grower but all growers in northern NSW and beyond.”
This small organisation was to evolve into Grain Growers Limited (GGL), trading as GrainGrowers.
“Today, we are Australia’s largest grain industry representative organisation with more than 17,000 grain farmer members across Australia. We are firmly established on a stable financial and governance footing enabling us to remain independent of the supply chain and government to act on behalf of grain farmers nationally. We are in a good position to help guide the future of the industry for the benefit of growers."
“We look to the future with confidence, led by growers and continuing to work for the benefit of growers.”
Mr Eastburn said that GrainGrowers’ 60th Anniversary would be celebrated throughout the year with a range of activities designed to reflect GrainGrowers’ pride in its history and in the histories of grain farmers on the land.
Some of the activities include:
- Spirit of Grains children’s competition – engendering the next generation’s pride in their grain farming heritage
- New GrainGrowers website which celebrates the faces and facets of a modern grain farming industry
- Photo competition – seeking to celebrate the people who grow grain – now and in the past.
- ‘Fields of Gold’ Dinner – celebrating our origins in North Star and those farmers who fought to have quality attract a price premium
- 60th Anniversary Formal Dinner and AGM – reflecting on our history and the pathways ahead
- Commemorative booklet launch - Sixty years on, going strong!
- Wheat Variety Launch - a variety of Prime Hard wheat will be named in recognition of GrainGrowers' history
“Grain growing has been transformed in my lifetime from 9G Chamberlain tractors with no power steering and 16 disc ploughs that took days to complete a single paddock to headers with auto steering and Global Positioning Systems that can complete many hectares an hour.
“Against that background of dramatic positive change, it is great to think that our organisation, GrainGrowers, founded all those years ago in Narrabri to work to achieve a relevant grower need for a premium for superior wheat, is today still guided and led by growers, working on the relevant issues which affect their farm businesses.
“Over the past 10 years, we have grown in strength as the peak national body for the Australian grains industry, delivering policy and advocacy in strategic areas such as working on access to important overseas markets, building capacity and skills of our young leaders, and cutting-edge digital farming products. We are in a strong and independent position to guide the future of the industry.
“As GrainGrowers reflects on and celebrates 60 years of service to the Australian grains industry we also have the opportunity to look to a bright future for the grain growing industry as a whole.”