Cotton Matters - 1st July 2022

Cotton Australia marks 50th anniversary with engagement events

Cotton Australia commemorated its 50th anniversary by presenting at events in Queensland and New South Wales recently.

Last Thursday, Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay presented to about 150 people, including former Governor General Her Excellency Dame Quintin Bryce, at the Queensland Rural Press Club in Brisbane about the industry and the advances made by growers.

Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner hosted an engagement event that evening at Queensland’s Parliament House for ministers, politicians, and staffers of all sides of politics to find out more about the industry by engaging with the great cross-section of industry personnel in attendance.

On Friday, Cotton Australia was involved in the NSW Farm Writers lunch in Sydney. Growers Fleur Anderson and Tony Quigley, and cotton market analyst (and NT grower) Pete Johnson sat on a panel and answered attendees’ questions about the cotton industry.

Cotton Australia’s 50th anniversary will be celebrated with growers and all industry personnel at the 2022 Australian Cotton Conference in August.

Adam Kay meets Agriculture Minister in Canberra

Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay attended a Ministerial Roundtable at Parliament House last week, advocating for our industry.

The discussion included other commodity group representatives and focused on key industry issues across a number of agricultural sectors.

Agriculture Minister Murray Watt has identified the following as priorities as issues raised across agriculture:

1. Ongoing workforce challenges

2. Biosecurity threats

3. Input cost increases

Other key issues of focus were sustainability and how to drive products further up the value chain.

The meeting was another frank and open discussion with the Minister and reinforced what he heard from our Emerald cotton growers on his first farm visit recently.

Interactive timeline launched showcasing our history

To coincide with its 50th anniversary, Cotton Australia has launched an interactive timeline to showcase the history of the organisation, and the broader industry.

The timeline starts in 1972 when the Australian Cotton Foundation (ACF) was established by Namoi Cotton Cooperative, Auscott Limited and Queensland Cotton Marketing Board.

It then takes viewers on a journey through the decades of cotton production in Australia to the current day, showcasing Cotton Australia’s advocacy achievements and the significant developments that have taken place within the industry over the years.

Explore our history now

Your help is needed: EKKA 2022

Are you heading to EKKA, the Royal Brisbane Show, or looking for a great reason to go?

Cotton Australia is activating an educational stand at the event with staff manning the stand for the nine days of EKKA.

But we also need growers, agronomists, ginners or shippers to join us on the stand. At the recent Cotton Australia general meeting, Joe Briggs (a Riverina grower), spoke about the enjoyment of engaging with the public at the Easter Show, and the thrill many got from meeting a farmer.

Like Joe, many growers involved in the past have found the experience uplifting, rewarding and meaningful. The opportunity for families in the city to connect with a farmer on the stand is invaluable and helps restore trust and appreciation for our industry.

Please consider volunteering for one or two days to help educate about our industry.

To register your interest, or for more information, contact Jenny Hughes: [email protected]

Australian cotton industry on show at Better Cotton Conference

Australia’s cotton industry was highlighted on the global stage last week, with a number of cotton industry representatives speaking at the Better Cotton Conference in Sweden. Better Cotton is anticipated to generate around an additional $7 million in premiums for Australian growers this season.

The conference brought together brands and industry experts to explore topics across the value chain including climate action, soil health and regenerative agriculture.

Cotton Australia Chair Nigel Burnett sat on two climate change farmer panels, Cotton to Market Lead Brooke Summers covered ecosystems services payments and how the industry is working with brands to help fund biodiversity, and UNE soil scientist Dr Oliver Knox spoke about the Goondiwindi Circular Cotton Project.

The event was a valuable opportunity for Cotton Australia to demonstrate the innovation and advances of our industry to an international audience including leading brands and retailers.

Have you booked your place at the Australian Cotton Conference?

The Australian Cotton Conference is fast approaching, with a program expected to engage, challenge, and unite our important agricultural industry at time of great opportunity and change.

To be held in person on Queensland’s Gold Coast from 16th – 18th August 2022, the program will centre around the theme “Here for Good”, and will explore cutting edge cotton science, contributions to the economy and regional communities and resilience in the face of many recent challenges.

Full Cotton Australia levy paying growers can access a discount when they register for the conference. During the registration process, you will be asked to supply a Grower Number – this is any number assigned to the grower by their ginner or merchant.

Book your Conference tickets

Read more about the Conference

QLD growers: consider your electricity tariffs

With all the talk of electricity shortages and soaring spot energy prices, the Queensland Government has finalised the Regulated Electricity prices that will apply outside south-east Queensland from July 1st 2022.

For businesses such as farms, price rises of between 10% and 20% have been determined. This follows several years of static and/or declining prices (depending on the tariff).

Cotton Australia encourages all Queensland electricity users to review their tariff selections to ensure they are on the best tariff for their circumstances. This is particularly true if your Local Government Area has been removed from the drought declared list, and you are no longer eligible for the rebate of the fixed charges component of the bill.

Cotton Australia also strongly encourages that growers look at general business tariffs, rather than those nominally titled Farming Tariffs, as it is unlikely they will be the best ones.

Tariff details can be found here and Cotton Australia would suggest growers make use of the Ergon Tariff Comparison tool available here.

Microgrids project team meets in Queensland

Cotton Australia and the Queensland Farmers’ Federation were in Mackay last week with other members of the Microgrids in Agriculture project team, visiting one of the four locations used for the feasibility study.

Located within the Pioneer Valley Water irrigation system, the study has been investigating whether the energy usage of the seven cane growers can be pooled and shared between their farms using a microgrid.

The other three agricultural locations in Queensland and New South Wales have been looking into the feasibility of using the energy on-farm or complementing the local grid’s demand with the potential to earn an energy income.

A session outlining the microgrids project’s findings will be held at the 2022 Australian Cotton Conference.

Read more about the microgrids project

Farm Business Resilience funding update

Cotton Australia is partnering with the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) to deliver the recently announced joint federal-state funded Farm Business Resilience Program.

In summary, Australian governments are seeking to move away from transactional drought assistance programmes (such as subsidies for transport of fodder) to a model that assists farmers to increase their business’s resilience to all the variables that markets, climate and other factors throw ate them.

Key to this is farmers thinking carefully about their businesses, the risks they face, and mitigation factors they can implement, and documenting it is a Farm Business Resilience Plan.

In Queensland, farmers who successfully complete a Farm Business Resilience Plan can apply for a grant of up to $50,000 to assist in implementing actions that were identified in the plan.

Cotton Australia can provide practical assistance in helping to better understand the planning process, and the actual production of a plan.

The Commonwealth and Queensland Governments can help fund the cost of professional advice used to develop the plan, and the implementation of the plans.

The exact nature of the Cotton Australia project is being finalised, but if you would like to register your interest in this exciting program, please email Michael Murray on [email protected] or phone 0427 707 868.

These links provide more information regarding the government assistance:

Be on alert: rural crime

Growers are being reminded to be on alert for acts of vandalism or other rural-focussed crimes.

The message comes after NSW Police were called in to investigate the vandalism of more than 370 cotton modules in central west NSW, where the plastic wrap was cut, exposing the lint to the elements.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

All growers are reminded to implement appropriate security measures on their farm to mitigate the risk of rural crime impacting them.