Media Release: Step UP! 2013 Conference will make a difference for young and established farmers

Media Release: Step UP! 2013 Conference will make a difference for young and established farmers

2 January 2013

Australia’s sugar cane farmers, from all generations, have the first major opportunity in the history of the industry to discuss the future of the industry at the Step UP! 2013 conference in March this year.

Don Murday, Chairman of the Next Gen program, which fosters the next generation of young farmers,  said Step UP! 2013 will focus on three key industry drivers – profitability, sustainability and innovation.

“There has never been a conference in Australia like this which encourages participation of all generations of sugar cane farmers,” Mr Murday said.

“Farmers will have the rare opportunity to ask questions of leading business, technology, industry,  research, accountancy, financial, legal and insurance experts and get honest answers from them.

“Over the three-day event the discussions will inform a 10-point action plan for the next 12-months which will be used to lobby State Government on key issues impacting the industry.

“The future of our industry is in the hands of young farmers and they need the support and knowledge of their more experienced counterparts to push the industry forward,” he added.

While the full speaker list has not yet been finalised, high-profile industry leaders and service providers will address the inaugural event.

Already former Australian Wallaby and inspirational businessman John Eales has been locked in as a main speaker along with the much-admired and humorous Sam Kekovic.

The ACFA is calling on young cane farmers across all key sugar regions to apply to be their local Next Gen representative.

The successful applications will receive a sponsored conference package (including accommodation and travel) and they will form the Next Gen board.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for enthusiastic farmers to make a meaningful contribution to their industry,” Mr Murday said.

“Young cane farmers in particular are crying out for industry knowledge and advice that will help them run profitable businesses in the future,” he said.

“There are also more experienced cane farmers who are attending the conference as they want to continue to play an active role in the industry they love and transfer knowledge to the next generation of farmers.”

A dedicated Next Gen officer visits farmers and cane professionals across all major sugar cane regions listening to their issues and providing young farmers wit useful industry advice via personalised seminars.

The Step UP! 2013 conference will consist of open addresses, networking opportunities and sessions focusing on industry issues will be held in small break-out rooms.

ACFA Chairman Don Murday encouraged farmers at every level to attend Step UP! if they wanted to help shape the future of their industry.

The conference is being held at Sea World Resort on the Gold Coast from Tuesday 26 March to Thursday 28 March 2012.

“The venue was chosen with families in mind so we hope the whole family, after a challenging year, take the time to relax and enjoy the Gold Coast,” he said.

For more information on the conference, sponsorship opportunities and registration, visit or phone Jane Hammond on 0400 993 090.

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