Do­ing in­dus­try proud

Central and North Rural Weekly - - NEWS - KEVIN BORG CANEGROWERS

CANEGROWERS Mackay is proud of their two in­no­va­tive cane grower mem­bers who re­ceived ac­co­lades at the 2018 Reef Al­liance Awards.

Their cre­den­tials are an in­di­ca­tion of the achieve­ments that our lo­cal cane-grow­ing in­dus­try has at­tained as guardians of the Great Bar­rier Reef.

Con­grat­u­la­tions must be ex­tended to these cane grow­ers for their fore­sight and for hav­ing the courage to put them­selves for­ward as role mod­els, par­tic­u­larly at such a busy time in their farm­ing op­er­a­tions with the 2018 har­vest be­ing fi­nalised.

Gerry Deguara took out the mar­quee award and he was pre­sented with the pres­ti­gious Prince of Wales En­vi­ron­men­tal Lead­er­ship Reef Sus­tain­abil­ity Award for his in­no­va­tive and sus­tain­able farm­ing prac­tices. Philip Deguara picked up the Reef Pes­ti­cide Cham­pion Award.

Our lo­cal in­dus­try can stand proud to have the in­clu­sion of these grow­ers, as well as many other in­dus­try rep­re­sen­ta­tives, in the fi­nal­ists.

These re­sults high­light the im­por­tance that our sug­ar­cane grow­ers place on im­prov­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal out­comes for the Great Bar­rier Reef.

Re­cent times has seen the agri­cul­tural sec­tor, par­tic­u­larly the sugar in­dus­try, come un­der in­creased pres­sure for its per­ceived lack of en­vi­ron­ment sus­tain­abil­ity, and has drawn some crit­i­cism of its farm­ing prac­tices. How­ever, these awards go a long way to con­vinc­ing gov­ern­ments and the gen­eral pub­lic that cane grow­ers are very proac­tive in the ar­eas of en­vi­ron­men­tal sus­tain­abil­ity and stew­ard­ship.

While these two lo­cal Award win­ners are an in­spi­ra­tion to their fel­low grow­ers, it must be pointed out that they are not alone in the quest by the in­dus­try to im­prove wa­ter qual­ity and en­vi­ron­men­tal out­comes for the Great Bar­rier Reef.

Many cane grow­ers are work­ing hard to boost their pro­duc­tiv­ity and prof­itabil­ity by striv­ing on a day-to-day ba­sis to con­tin­u­ally im­prove on-farm prac­tices.

It is now a known fact that while min­imis­ing their en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print, adop­tion of these new and im­proved prac­tices adds to pro­duc­tiv­ity and prof­itabil­ity.

Cur­rently al­most half of all Queens­land’s cane-grow­ing busi­nesses, ac­count­ing for al­most 75 per cent cane-pro­duc­ing land, are bench­marked in the in­dus­try’s best man­age­ment prac­tice pro­gram, Smart­cane BMP, and work­ing to­wards full ac­cred­i­ta­tion. The Mackay re­gion is do­ing its part in build­ing these num­bers. Over many years now, the in­dus­try has worked closely with our gov­ern­ments and a mul­ti­tude of other or­gan­i­sa­tions on en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. How­ever, we, as an in­dus­try, recog­nise that there is still plenty to do, with cane grow­ers be­ing cog­nisant of their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties to keep them­selves at the cut­ting edge of in­no­va­tion and adop­tion in their farm­ing prac­tices.


WELL DONE: Kevin Borg said con­grat­u­la­tions are in or­der for cane farm­ers Gerry and Phil Deguara, who took out wins at the Reef Cham­pion Awards and serve as role mod­els in pro­tect­ing the reef in the sugar in­dus­try.

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