Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, continues to work on improving agriculture in Indi. Her vision is for a prosperous and vibrant agriculture and food sector, encompassing production, processing, distribution and consumption.
Ms McGowan said the major agricultural industries in Indi—beef, dairy, lamb, wine and horticulture—have room for growth and development.
“Working to create a more integrated system was at the core of my election commitment in 2013,” Ms McGowan said. “Indi has excellent water supply, we have rich fertile and productive land. Growing agriculture and value-adding to this sector is crucial for sustainable job creation. We need effective and efficient production chains, from farm gate through processing to export. We have good processing ability and improving our saleyards will increase our ability to grow production.”
Ms McGowan has invited members of the Ovens Valley VFF branch to visit Canberra this week. She has organised meetings with senior advisors to Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce; Member for Calare and former NFF president Mr John Cobb; Senator Bill Heffernan; and Member for Hunter, Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Joel Fitzgibbon for tomorrow, June 16.
“Taking the Indi voice, and in particular the voice of farmers to Canberra, is a key part of my commitment,” she said. “This is an opportunity for Indi beef producers to outline to Government what is required to improve efficiencies in the production system, and to input to the Senate Enquiry on the red meat processing sector that is currently taking place.”
As well as a strong food production system, a strong agricultural education system is needed.
On June 29, Ms McGowan will be the keynote speaker at the Agrifoods Opportunities Forum hosted by CSU at the GOTAFE campus in Wangaratta. Ms McGowan will highlight the essential role education providers play in ensuring the future of food production is viable.
“Post-school education will play a vital role for the success of agriculture in Indi. We need to ensure relevant courses are available locally,” Ms McGowan said.
Part of the forum will be identifying links between industry and education providers. Ms McGowan has lobbied Government to increase investment in research and development. This will lead to innovation that drives adaptation and flexibility to deliver profitable production systems.
Details of the CSU Agrifoods Opportunities Forum, being held in partnership with AgriFood Skills Australia, can be found here.