Inaugural forum earns high praise
THE region's producers and industry leaders rolled up in droves for Stanthorpe's inaugural Ag Forum and Trade Show.
More than 50 producers joined representatives from a swathe of different groups, companies and departments for the event held on Friday.
Hosted and organised by Southern Downs Regional Council, Mayor Tracy Dobie said she was "thrilled with the response”.
"It was pleasing to see so many local producers and farmers attend which enabled them to connect with 25 industry service providers and agencies,” CrDobie said.
"Some of the trade show stallholders said they welcomed the opportunity to be able to network with others and find out what they're doing in their fields, and to be able to discuss opportunities to work together or provide services to support one another.
"Council has received really positive feedback from the producers, agency and industry speakers and stallholders, so the plan is to make it an annual event.”
Cr Dobie said the forum was initially aimed at providing information and help for the region's producers who were looking to hire backpackers, but it grew to encompass topics of interest to the broader agricultural and horticultural industries.
With quite a few speakers during the event, discussions were varied.
One of the those speakers was Growcom project manager Kathleen Heuvel.
Ms Heuvel was quick to praise the initiative.
"It was really heartening to see the range of services available to support agricultural producers in the Southern Downs,” she said.
"The event was well attended, (and) delivered valuable information and solid networking opportunities.”
Olivia Rizzato from I & L Rizzato and Sons echoed Ms Heuvel's sentiments and said she would "absolutely” support an event being held next year.
"We like to keep up to date with what's happening with backpackers, Fair Work, workplace health and safety and things like that, so we find this very beneficial,” Ms Rizzato said
"Also energy efficiency audits, government funding, back to work programs - all those sort of things tie into our business.”