Seasons of pain and gain


A SERIES of bushfires ripped through the south-east of the state in the early part of the year, which wreaked havoc on farmland.

The state’s agricultural industry and wider community were quick to lend a hand in any way they could.

A team of volunteers were at the ready to deliver 267 round bales of feed that were donated by North-West farmers.

It was seeing the devastation first hand at Lake Repulse that saw a group of friends think up a unique way to raise money.

Their convoy of six tractors with a top speed of 40km/h made its way from Smithton to Hobart, part of The Great Tasmanian Tractor Drive.

The event raised more than $10,000 that was distributed by the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association to the fire- affected farmers.

Hope for future IN March, the opening of the new $80 million Tasmanian Dairy Products factory at Smithton was a light at the end of a long, dark tunnel for the region’s farmers, offering hope for the future with increased competition.

Good news

THE opening of the Agritas Trade College at Smithton in August was welcome news.

The construction of the facility, which will boost skills of the current workforce and the generations to come, started early in 2012 after a $4.25 million federal grant for the college.

Poppy plan

IN 2013, there were discussions for and against Tasmania remaining the only Australian state where poppies can be grown commercially to produce medicinal opiates, used to make legal pharmaceutical painkillers.

GMO talks

TASMANIA’S GMO-FREE status is due to expire and throughout 2013 there were strong arguments from industry representatives on both sides.

The Tasmanian Beekeepers Association was just one body to make a submission to the state government’s review of the genetically modified organism policy.

The association wants to see the retention of the GM moratorium.

Spokesman Lindsay Bourke said honey bees forage a large variety of crops up to five kilometres away and since poppy crops were sometimes next door to vegetable crops being pollinated by honey bees, it was certain that GM poppy pollen and nectar would be collected and contaminate the honey.

Honey with any GMO component is completely banned in the EU, including the long- standing honey markets of Britain and Germany.

Hemp inquiry

TASMANIAN farmers are now a step closer to adding hemp to their crop rotations. The House of Assembly Standing Committee on Environment, Resources and Development, chaired by Brenton Best, in October tabled a report in parliament on its inquiry into the Tasmanian hemp industry.

Industrial Hemp Association of Tasmania president and Bishopsbourne hemp grower Phil Reader said it was good to see the long-awaited report being tabled in parliament.

Mr Reader said the next step was to ensure the Tasmanian Government acted on the recommendations.

Progress made

THE Dial Blyth Irrigation Scheme has progressed to the detailed design stage.

In October, members of the scheme’s committee and local farmers met with Deputy Premier Bryan Green to pressure the Commonwealth to release funds for the $13 million scheme that they have been trying to get off the ground for three years. In November, the federal government committed to funding the scheme.

Irrigation committee chairman and South Riana dairy farmer Garry Carpenter said 31 farmers had committed $2.5 million to buy water from the scheme.

It was the first time farmers had committed money up front to show their commitment.


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Been a Beekeeper for 20 years
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