Reflecting on year supporting members and wider industry

26 December 2023. By Georgie Somerset, AgForce General President.

Looking back on this past 12 months, it’s clear this has been quite a year both for our members and for AgForce.

We had floods in the first quarter – and as is so often the way with our highly variable climate – we’re finishing the year with both bushfires and floods, and our thoughts are with everyone impacted throughout the year, and especially those dealing with the current recovery.

In between responding to these, there have been many policy and industry conversations – biosecurity and free trade agreements, land management and land use, drought policy and transport, industrial relations and water. At every turn, the AgForce has responded on behalf of members and the wider industry.

As I reflect on the year that’s been, it’s clear to me what a massive job the AgForce staff do supporting us through these times. I want to acknowledge that as they can so easily be forgotten as we move onto the next issue, opportunity or challenge.

Our members – all of you – keep producing and adapting and getting on with it, sometimes in the most difficult of circumstances, and you’re the mainstay of what we do. Through all that, members have contacted AgForce over 17,000 times for assistance through this year and we responded to each and every one of you.

Even though agriculture is one of the most trusted industries in this country, we must keep ahead of consumer expectations and industry frameworks. We’ll constantly work to make sure that we’re ahead of the game as an organisation to support members.

It’s also important to acknowledge our achievements this year. After years of lobbying, the new lay pregnancy testing regime was passed through state parliament bringing a much more secure foundation for that industry after years of uncertainty.

One of my proudest moments for us as an organisation was how swiftly we responded when it became clear that our Federal Trade Minister Don Farrell was considering a rushed agreement on a critical free trade agreement with Europe.

Along with other ag organisations we were nimble in our response, ensuring he knew loud and clear that Australian agriculture was not going to settle for any old deal. Thankfully it wasn’t signed and negotiations continue so that Australian farmers are not disadvantaged.

Having our AGM at Longreach was a wonderful time to bring the organisation back to our backbone – in the outback. It was the first forum we’ve had in that big sky country and it certainly won’t be the last. The policy priority setting was held in Rockhampton which was also a great success.

This is on top of an extensive array of regional training days and forums, and we look forward to more regional events next year leading up to the state conference.

Thank you for your support throughout the year – we are ready for 2024 and all it holds to ensure Queensland’s broadacre agriculture is even more productive.

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