Successful farmers lead the way for development in Northern Australia

Successful farmers lead the way for development in Northern Australia

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The Northern Australia Food Futures 2020 conference, this April, is hosted by NT Farmers Association in partnership with OrdCo and is Australia's leading conference on agricultural development in the north.

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This is sponsored content for Northern Territory Farmers Association.

Cotton industry development, mung beans for export, aromatic rice to replace Australia's 150,000T of imports, irrigated fodder, sustainable forestry, addressing national shortages of peanuts, investment opportunities with land releases, as well as better management of the development processes will be amongst the workshops and presentations featured at the Northern Australia Food Futures Conference in Darwin, April 27 to 30, 2020.

With over 43 per cent of Australia's land mass and 60 per cent of Australia's available irrigation water, NT Farmers CEO Paul Burke said that the development opportunities that exist in Northern Australia remain largely untouched.

"Sensible private sector investment is the way forward, based on good economics and good markets, and working effectively with government and the relevant stakeholders, such as Traditional Owners, environmental bodies and those key players in the supply chain. "Successful farmers across the north demonstrate that success is possible with the right approach.

"The economics of new crops to Northern Australia, such as cotton, look attractive for northern development and the market for Australian cotton is strong.

"Northern cotton, rice, grains and fodder may help relieve the commercial pressures on producing more irrigated crops in the Murray Darling, and although its early days, the prospects look promising," Mr Burke said.

Mr Burke said that good research has to underpin any commercial development.

"The Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Grains Research and Development Corporation, Agrifutures Australia, Hort Innovation and the CRCNA have all committed funding to good R&D.

"Departments of Agriculture in NT, WA and QLD as well as CSIRO and research findings from northern farmers will also feature strongly in the program, sharing their insights at the conference," Mr Burke said.

Balancing agricultural development and environment is the theme for the fourth Northern Australia Food Futures Conference, which will bring over 50 speakers including successful northern farmers, ministers and senior departmental staff, Indigenous leaders, environment speakers, and private sector interests.

Mr Burke explains that many farmers struggle with 'green tape' for clearing and water.

"Food Futures wants to help farmers lodge better development applications, influence government agencies to have better processes, and work with the environment movement to better understand how agricultural development can be managed sustainably."

The conference will include well known industry leaders including Jim Engelke of Kimberley Agricultural Investments, Chris Mitchell from Project Sea Dragon and Dan Richards from Humpty Doo Barra, who have all successfully negotiated large scale development and environmental approvals.

Speakers will also include businesses like Ray Hall's ECOZ who deals with development applications as well as Barry Traill of Pew Trust, who is interested in supporting environmentally sound development projects, and Paul Vogel, Chair of the EPA in NT and former head of the EPA in WA.

"New ideas are emerging on how government can better handle development applications and this will be a hot topic at the conference," Mr Burke said.

Indigenous leaders including Peter Yu from Broome and David Ross of Central Land Council will also be there, and both are keen to see more sustainable agricultural development in the north.

The NT Farmers Association has been working closely with the NT Land Corporation, to assess suitability, accessibility and the commercialisation potential of current agricultural land releases across the NT, such as the Douglas Daly opportunity, and future agricultural land releases planned at Larrimah.

NT Farmers CEO Paul Burke said that the release of this portion of land presents an exciting opportunity for someone looking to start, or expand, their agricultural interests in the NT.

"One of the biggest challenges we have to agricultural development in the NT is access to land that is suitable for broadacre cropping activities," Mr Burke said.

"The Douglas Daly region has an established reputation for farming enterprises and there is suitable access to water and some onsite infrastructure already available.

"It presents an exciting opportunity for someone to come in and be set up and ready to go by the 2020 dry season.

"We're looking forward to seeing everyone at the 2020 Conference. The event includes plenary sessions, breakouts and crop workshops, as well as farm visits, a social program and an awards night recognising excellence in industry in Northern Australia.

"Plus, barra fishing should be peak run off time so we encourage delegates to bring their families up and stay a few extra days in paradise," Mr Burke said.

Northern Australia Food Futures 2020 conference is hosted by NT Farmers Association in partnership with OrdCo and is Australia's leading conference on agricultural development in the north.

For more information Food futures NT Farmers.

This is sponsored content for Northern Territory Farmers Association.

The story Successful farmers lead the way for development in Northern Australia first appeared on Queensland Country Life.

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