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Grain, gadgets and sheep dogs at the BCG Expo 2012

A technology hub, livestock discussion sessions and sheep dog demonstrations were among the highlights from last week’s BCG Grains Research Expo.
The annual event, now in its 17th year, attracted over 500 farmers keen for the chance to discuss the latest issues affecting their industry and to peruse more than 80 agriculture related exhibits.

Among those in attendance was Minister for Agriculture, Peter Walsh and Member for Northern Victoria Candy Broad.

Mr Walsh opened the Expo, delivering a positive message about the importance of primary producers to both Australia and the world.

Gundagai farmer Jock Graham showcased F Track, a farm management app, at the Expo.

He said with population of the middle class in large countries like China on the rise, the demand for quality food and fibre would increase along with it.

Mr Walsh praised the region’s farmers for the high quality products they already produce and paid tribute to BCG for delivering research and staging events would help Victorian primary producers to meet future demands.

The 2012 Expo program was jam-packed, with discussion sessions and demonstrations running from 8.30am, through to 4pm.

Ten discussion sessions which covered everything from carbon farming initiatives to succession planning and livestock management, attracted excellent crowds as did the ‘On the Couch’ discussions about upgrading machinery and buying versus leasing land.

The technology hub, which was a new addition to the Expo program, proved exceptionally popular with capacity crowds filling information sessions about smartphone and tablet apps and computer programs designed to help farmers.

Attentive crowds attended a timely discussion about new carbon pricing legislation and initiatives that will allow primary producers to trade carbon credits.
Farmer, climate champion and Nuffield scholar Jennie Hawkins, together with Australian Farm Industry project officer Renelle Jeffrey, discussed how the new legislation would impact farmers and also how the government’s carbon trading schemes will work.

A session on the role out of the National Broadband Network also attracted interest, with people keen to understand how the NBN would benefit them and if regional and rural internet and telecommunication services will improve.

BCG events manager Margaret O’Keefe said all the discussion sessions were very well attended and she was extremely pleased with the day.

The working dog demonstrations, conducted by Paul MacPhail from Beloka Kelpies, attracted large crowds.

“We had lots of positive feedback from farmers,” she said. “All the livestock sessions were well attended, the technical hub was full to overflowing and sessions on topics such as securing and satisfying staff, traits of future varieties, grain marketing and succession planning certainly gave farmers something to go home and think about.

“The demonstrations were also very popular this year.

“We had cooking demonstrations by Christina Yeow (Poh Ling Yeow’s mum) and working dog demonstrations by Paul MacPhail from Beloka Kelpies at Welshpool.”

Sea Lake farmer and regular Expo attendee Nic Harrison said he always found something relevant at the event which he said just gets “better and better each year.”

“The best thing about it is just the wealth of information and exhibits all at one place in in our part of the country,” he said.

More photos from the 2012 BCG Grains Research Expo can be found here.

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