MEDIA RELEASE: Sweet result as Next Gen adapts conference to suit farmers

MEDIA RELEASE: Sweet result as Next Gen adapts conference to suit farmers

25 February 2013

The Next Gen Program (Next Gen), which fosters the next generation of Australia’s young cane farmers, says it has listened to feedback from grass-roots farmers and adapted the Case IH Step UP! Conference to suit farmers’ needs.

The Case IH Step UP! Conference will be held at Sea World resort from March 26-28, 2013.

Next Gen Officer and Board Member, Gerard Puglisi, has travelled across most of Australia’s cane producing regions over the past three months talking with farmers and industry professionals about the conference.

“I’ve been on the road talking to lots of people, and as a result, the Next Gen team has decided to change the format of the conference based on this grass-roots feedback.

“The message I was getting was that people wanted to hear more from farmers, more about research, more about prices and the industry’s future.

“People also all said they wanted to participate more in discussions, rather than simply listen to people speak.

“So we’ve removed the break-out sessions and we’re having experts address the entire conference.

Puglisi says each presentation has time allocated for Q&As and there will be a facilitated session at the end day two focussing on developing a 10-point industry action plan which will be used to inform Government.

“This session will be a chance for our Next Gen regional reps to shine.

“We are currently inviting applications from young cane professionals in each key region so that they can be the local Next Gen Rep.

“Winners will receive up to $1,000 towards their conference costs.

“The Next Gen Reps will eventually form the Next Gen Committee and successful applicants will continue to champion the industry’s future farmers,” Puglisi said.

The ACFA aims to have about 35 sponsorship packages to give away to young up and coming farmers, valued at $35,000.

“Other changes to the program include topical panel discussions with industry leaders from around the globe.

“One panel discussion is about innovative farming practices and we have experts from Brazil to London to the Northern Coast of NSW.

“The other panel is headed by a group of farmers is about research and the role it has played in increasing profitability and sustainability for cane farmers.

“Considering the theme of the conference is innovation, profitability and sustainability, these panel discussions fit perfectly.

The Case IH Step UP conference is open to all involved in the sugar industry, not just growers, but mill employees as well.

According to Next Gen Chairman, Don Murday, the program has more than 250 participants already.

“The most important role of the group is the communication which takes place between participants.

“I think we’ve achieved a lot in the past eight months, opening up communication between our membership base.

“This is why so many big name sponsors and attendees have chosen to participate and attend.

“We have the support of some amazing brands including Case IH, Suncorp, SRDC, QSL, Advanced Nutrients and GreatLand.

“Celebrity speakers like John Eales and Sam Kekovich will entertain and educate the 300 strong delegation.

“We also have local farmers, researchers, a leading machinery expert from Brazil, the CEO of Bonsucro from London and four Fijian farmers who are coming thanks to WWF.

“Minister John McVeigh will be attending on the 26 March to officially open the event.

For more information about the Next Gen Program or the Case IH Step UP! Conference, please contact Jane Hammond on 0400 993 090 or visit www.nextgenfarmer.com

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