Agri-politics contributor receives coveted award
Digby Stretch was “just a young farmer” when he became actively involved with agri-politics in the early 1990s.
The Kojonup grazier said he was spurred into action after the Australian Wool Corporation’s Reserve Price Scheme crashed and wool prices plummeted.
Almost three decades on and Mr Stretch was last week awarded Pastoralists and Graziers Association of WA’s achievement award for 2017.
The award, sponsored by Wellard, recognised Mr Stretch for his contribution to the PGA and the State’s agricultural industry.
Mr Stretch said he felt honoured to serve the livestock industry as co-vice president of the PGA after first joining as a young buck.
“The sheep and wool industry was going through the pain of the wool market reserve price scheme dismantling,” he said. “I was only a young farmer but policy was hurting us big time.
“I realised it was probably good to get in and shape those policies that were going to affect us for the next 30 or so years.
“I thought I could either sit back and end up grizzling as an old bloke, or I could get up as a young bloke and do something about it.”
Mr Stretch serves as the PGA’s co-vice president, with Locky McTaggett, and was chairman of the PGA’s livestock committee for more than 10 years.
He farms 50km west of Kojonup with his wife Nicky and 25-year-old daughter Emily.
The family has cropped 800ha of canola, wheat, and oats this year, and manage about 11,000 sheep.
Mr Stretch’s family has been a member of the PGA since the early 70s. As the fire chief of his local community, Mr Stretch said his volunteer role at the PGA drew comparisons to his role as a volunteer firefighter.
“The PGA spends a lot of time putting in firebreaks and making sure the environment is good to work in, but then when something does go wrong, we go in hard very quickly,” he said.
“We work hard at maintaining the contacts with State and Federal governments on both sides of politics, because no matter who is in power you need to work with them.”
Digby Stretch with the PGA Achievement Award.