Cotton Matters - 20th May 2022

Cotton Australia launches debut podcast

A new podcast has been launched to share the Australian cotton industry’s story with city dwellers.

The From The Field podcast has been produced by Cotton Australia and was launched this week. It helps share the industry’s story through five raw and honest conversations, each covering a different topic relating to the industry.

The series features cotton growers Aaron Kiely, Joe Briggs, Amanda Thomas, Alexandria Galea, and Nigel Burnett talking about the industry and sharing their journeys in farming.

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Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

Brands and supply chain partners receive hands-on cotton experience

Fashion brands and retailers have seen first-hand how cotton is grown and ginned as part of Cotton Australia’s Camp Cotton initiative.

About 30 brands and retailers attended the two-day trip in Gunnedah, NSW, after the pandemic halted planned trips in recent years.

Delegates participated in a forum on the first day, where they heard from industry and researchers, along with brands who were already using Australian cotton in their business.

Unfortunately, wet weather impacted a full day of farm tours, but guests heard from Boggabri farmer Andrew Watson about his work to encourage beneficial insects on-farm and the Country Road Biodiversity Project.

Attendees were able to get off the bus and feel the cotton in the paddock at Scott Morgan’s property near Gunnedah, as well as look at a picker.

Finally, delegates were given an insight into how cotton is ginned, when they saw Scott’s cotton being processed at Carroll Cotton Gin, with Scott and Trudy Davies providing tours of the facility.

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Cotton Australia attends NFF Members Council, voicing views of industry

Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay was in Canberra this week, advocating for growers at the National Farmers’ Federation’s (NFF) Members Council meeting.

The Council discussed key issues affecting farmers across the nation, with a focus on workforce, input costs, and supply chains.

Rice grower Les Gordon was acknowledged for his long service to NFF, including 14 years Chairing the Water Committee. Adam Kay congratulated Les on behalf of our industry for his selfless service advocating on water issues.

Tony Mahar NFF CEO and Fiona Simson NFF President.

NFF President Fiona Simson and CEO Tony Mahar will be attending the Cotton Australia General Meeting in Sydney next week, which will provide growers the opportunity to discuss key issues with the NFF leaders.

Cotton’s future leaders meet in Griffith

Participants in the Australian cotton industry’s Future Cotton Leaders program met in Griffith last week.

The group spent time connecting with each other, developing an understanding of their own personalities, learning from established business leaders, and enhancing their public speaking skills.

The 15 leadership program participants also visited farms and toured the Southern Cotton gin.

The group will meet face-to-face again in the coming months as part of the program.

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Cotton Australia hosts industry tour for agribusiness students

A group of agribusiness students from the University of Queensland have learned more about cotton, thanks to a tour hosted by Cotton Australia.

The group of students met with Toowoomba-based Cotton Australia staff to discover more about the cotton industry and agribusiness.

As part of the tour, the group visited the Louis Dreyfus Company gin at Dalby, where they heard presentations from grower David Walton and Cotton Grower Services.

The students also visited machinery retailers RDO Equipment and Great Western Corporation as part of the tour.

Applications open: education scholarships for 2022 Australian Cotton Conference

Cotton Australia has opened applications for its scholarship program to the 2022 Australian Cotton Conference.

The conference will be held on the Gold Coast from 16th - 18th August 2022.

Scholarships are on offer in the following categories:

  • Undergraduate scholarship
  • Teacher/Educator scholarship
  • Secondary student program and scholarship

Applications will close at 5pm (AEST) Friday 8th July 2022.

More information and application forms

Visit the Conference website

Important information about changes to water licensing approvals for large water users and controlled activities

The NSW Government has announced service delivery for the state’s largest water users has been simplified.

The responsibility for the management and approval of water licences and approvals has moved from the Natural Resources Access Regulator (NRAR) to the Department of Planning and Environment.

The department will also manage all integrated development referrals for works on waterfront land and applications for controlled activity approvals.

The administrative change will affect state significant developments, mining operations, irrigation corporations, government entities and all applicants undertaking works on waterfront land.

WaterNSW will continue managing water licences and approvals for all other water users in NSW, including private entities such as rural landholders, rural industries and developments. These make up approximately 96% of the state’s water access licences.

NRAR continues to oversee all water users’ compliance with NSW water rules.

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Changes to drought declarations affecting electricity bills

The drought declarations for Queensland Local Government Areas (LGAs) have been reviewed over the past couple of months.

From April 1st, Toowoomba Regional Council, South Burnett Regional Council and Southern Downs Regional Council were no longer drought declared. On May 12th, the drought declaration status for Western Downs Regional Council and Balonne Council were also revoked. The map of declared shires can be viewed here.

Growers in LGAs no longer drought declared are advised the rebate of fixed charge components of your electricity account no longer applies, and it is important that you actively review which tariff you are on and ensure it is the most appropriate tariff for you.

While Cotton Australia can only give general advice, if you are on Tariff 66A (an attractive tariff during drought), it is highly likely that it will be on a more expansive tariff now. While Tariff 62A, 65A and 66A are described by Ergon as ‘Farming tariffs’, they are not necessarily the best option.

Cotton Australia recommends growers review their electricity account to ensure they are on the most appropriate tariff for their energy usage. Assistance with calculators can be found on the Ergon Energy website. In particular, if you register, this tool will automatically calculate your best tariff based on your actual usage data.

To discuss further, please contact either Ergon directly, or give Cotton Australia’s General Manager Michael Murray a call on 0427 707 868 or email [email protected].

QLD growers: farm safety training on offer

Cotton Australia was pleased to be one of only nine projects to receive a grant under the very competitive National Farm Safety Education Fund last year.

This funding will now be used to help growers in Queensland improve their farm safety.

Experienced consultant Rebecca Fing from House Paddock Training and Consulting has been engaged to develop and deliver a four-part program to 100 Queensland growers over the next 12 months.

The program is suitable for any Queensland producer who is interested in improving their farm safety – and will also give a boost to anyone wanting to stay on top of their myBMP – whether they are already certified or just starting out.

The program kicks off with face-to-face workshops in eight locations, followed by webinars, access to online material, and follow-up one-on-one coaching.

More information and register now

QLD growers: funding available for rotamarker installation

The Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) is offering support to growers in that state wanting to enhance electrical safety on their farm.

QFF, which Cotton Australia is a member of, has partnered with ErgonEnergy and Energex to offer farmers belonging to any of QFF’s industry members a 50% co-contribution (to a maximum of $500) to match the funds of installing up to 10 rotamarkers on their properties.

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Opportunity for an experienced irrigator

An opportunity exists for an experienced irrigator to train irrigators in a new development in Central Asia.

The three-week (starting soon) opportunity will have all costs covered and be well remunerated.

If you are interested, email [email protected]