Aim­ing for best prac­tice

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - Column - DAVID THOM­SON Grow­com CEO

GROW­COM has teamed up with the De­part­ment of En­vi­ron­ment and Science to im­prove best man­age­ment prac­tices of hor­ti­cul­ture grow­ers in reef catch­ments over the next four years.

The Queens­land Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted

$1.95 mil­lion to­wards the

Hort360 Great Bar­rier Reef Best Man­age­ment Prac­tice Pro­gram (Hort360 GBR), which aims to boost the pro­duc­tiv­ity and prof­itabil­ity of land man­agers and as­sist them with nat­u­ral re­source man­age­ment.

The new pro­gram, run­ning un­til 2022, will sup­port the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try to ad­dress en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts and agri­cul­tural run-off from farm­land en­ter­ing the Great Bar­rier Reef la­goon.

Grow­com is pleased to wel­come two new field staff based in Townsville and Bund­aberg to fa­cil­i­tate the de­liv­ery of this pro­gram.

Lind­say Allen will work with grow­ers in north and far north Queens­land, while Michelle Haase will fo­cus on the cen­tral Queens­land and Bur­nett re­gions. Us­ing our Hort360 soft­ware, Lind­say and Michelle will help grow­ers iden­tify risks and op­por­tu­ni­ties for their busi­nesses by giv­ing them a 360-de­gree view of their farm op­er­a­tions

The step-by-step risk as­sess­ment tool has been based on many years of ex­ten­sion work with grow­ers through­out Queens­land through our in­volve­ment in the Ru­ral Wa­ter Use Ef­fi­ciency Ini­tia­tive, Reef Trust pro­grams and SEQ Wa­ter Qual­ity project.

With the help of Hort360 soft­ware, grow­ers can de­velop ac­tion plans sup­ported by in­for­ma­tion, tech­ni­cal sup­port and ex­ten­sion ac­tiv­i­ties that ad­dress agri­cul­tural run-off.

De­vel­op­ing nat­u­ral re­source man­age­ment strate­gies such as these is an im­por­tant step for­ward for Queens­land’s fruit, veg­etable and nut in­dus­tries, whose pro­duc­tion is close to sen­si­tive en­vi­ron­ments such as the Great Bar­rier Reef.

Grow­com is thank­ful that the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment is tak­ing a holis­tic ap­proach to the BMP con­cept and looks for­ward to a con­tin­ued suc­cess­ful work­ing re­la­tion­ship.

We also an­tic­i­pate fur­ther col­lab­o­ra­tion with in­dus­try to de­velop a reef cer­ti­fi­ca­tion path­way en­abling grow­ers to be recog­nised as Hort360 GBR cus­to­di­ans.

PHOTO: FILE

REEF HEALTH: A new pro­gram will sup­port the hor­ti­cul­ture in­dus­try to ad­dress en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts of run-off en­ter­ing the Great Bar­rier Reef la­goon.

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