THE agriculture industry is set to play a pivotal role in the upcoming Upper Hunter by-election, according to NSW Farmers president James Jackson.
On the road to the May 22 election, candidates will have the chance to win perspective votes at a meet the candidates event on May 12 hosted by the state's agricultural representative body.
So far, nine of the competing 14 candidates have put their hand up to attend the forum at the Scone RSL Club.
- $370m biosecurity boost but ag still calling for sustainable funding
- Time the national beef herd's facts were actually heard
- Namoi Cotton seeks $12.2m in fresh capital to help expansion plans
"The Upper Hunter region is a microcosm of many of the critical issues facing the agricultural sector across NSW, such as land use conflict and protecting farmland for local food and fibre production," Mr Jackson told The Land.
"We will not reach our target of a $30 billion industry by 2030 if we don't put agriculture front and centre in the minds of politicians.
"That's why we are hosting this event and giving these candidates the chance to outline their individual agricultural strategies to those people in the electorate."
Mr Jackson outlined the region's agricultural diversity as a key subject for the forum, as well as a number of other issues facing the industry.
"One of the reasons we are hosting this event is to ensure these candidates are very much aware of the agricultural issues that are on the agenda of the region," he said.
"It's a very diverse region, from the highly-productive cropping area of the Liverpool Plains, to growing grapes, the beef industry and racehorses.
"I think this will be a great opportunity for our people to meet these candidates, here about their plans when it comes to agriculture and compare their strategies.
"To me, that's what these kinds of events are all about."
So far, David Layzell (The Nationals), Jeff Drayton (Labor), Sue Gilroy (Shooters, Fishers and Farmers), Dale McNamara (One Nation,) Sue Abbott (The Greens), Eva Pears (Liberal Democrats), Tracy Norman (Independent), Kate Fisher (Independent) and Kirsty O'Connell (Independent) have nominated for the event.
Fellow independents Alan de Audney, Archie Lea and Bruce Mackenzie as well as Calum Blair (Sustainable Australia) will contest the by-election.
The Scone RSL Club will host the event from 6pm.To register call NSW Farmers on 1300 794 000 or online at bit.ly/3aCIhcY
Love agricultural news? Sign up for The Land's free daily newsletter.