Push for broadacre to be included in APC

WAFARMERS is hoping recent discussions with State Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan and Agricultural Produce Commission (APC) chairman William Ryan will allow for the term 'broadacre' to be included in the review of APC legislation.

The APC legislation is expected to be before parliament soon and WAFarmers has asked for broadacre to be included in the laws - a move which Grains Council president Duncan Young said Ms MacTiernan and Dr Ryan supported.

The APC, which is a State Government body, was established in 1988 to help farmers with funding arrangements, although broadacre was excluded from the legislation.

In the past the APC has been utilised by a wide variety of production sectors, including tomatoes, bananas, pork and avocados to raise a Fee For Service for identified projects, such as marketing support (potatoes), pest eradication (pome fruit), cyclone damage (bananas) and wine (industry advocacy and development).

Mr Young said with broadacre included it "doesn't mean that we are going to have a functioning committee, it just means that there is an opportunity to do that in the future if there is a majority of support for it".

WAFarmers president Rhys Turton said it would level the playing field for crop and livestock producers "with the removal of the broadacre exclusion in the APC Act so long as an opt out clause is included".

"The commission offers a group of specialty growers the ability to fund a joint marketing program for their lupins or goats, or for grain growers to come together to investigate access for their own mobile network," Mr Turton said.

"WAFarmers at this stage has no plans to utilise it as a funding source.

"With the opt-out clause it's a free market solution to help address market failure.

"One project industry might use the fee for service for it to fund a comprehensive economic review of all grain, livestock and wool levies to address the value for money question, it could be the best half a million dollars ever spent."

Mr Young said WAFarmers Grain and Livestock councils supported the change although no new APC project had been identified to progress with.

"Any new APC Wheatbelt project would need to show strong grower support and would be under intensive annual review and it would retain the opt out option for growers who didn't want to participate or support it," Mr Young said.

"The APC is an option that should be available for all farmers, be they growers of wheat, sheep, bananas or wine grapes."

WAFarmers will be holding its first industry briefings in Geraldton on June 13 at the Master Builders Association Building to brief farmers on the APC and gauge the industry's views on a new model for agri-political representation.