WA Producers’ Co-operative forums to offer learning for producers across the region this week

Shannon SmithGreat Southern Herald
Christine Kershaw and Woogenellup farmer Ken Drummond.
Camera IconChristine Kershaw and Woogenellup farmer Ken Drummond. Credit: Cally Dupe/Countryman, Cally Dupe

Livestock producers across the Great Southern are invited to learn from the newly formed WA Producers’ Co-operative at four sessions across the region this week.

Since opening 12 months ago, the group has been working with members to trial the sale of prime lambs and farm support programs.

The group was launched by Stirlings to Coast Farmers after a two-year feasibility study funded through the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, creating a farmer-owned lamb, beef and niche grain commodity supply group aiming at securing the highest value for its members’ products.

WAPC chief executive Christine Kershaw said they had been getting feedback from co-op members about what was needed and where.

“Why would you just sell a commodity at the farm gate if there is an opportunity to add value somehow?” she said.

“If not, it is others that benefit most from the hard work on farm so we have put our feet into the market place and seen strong demand for value-added meat products and are having a crack at getting ourselves organised to meet that demand.

“But we need infrastructure, traceability, and marketing programs to support the hard work of our farmer members so that we can be a reliable supplier in high value markets.”

With water shortages across the region, she said improving water infrastructure was a key focus before increasing WA flock numbers.

“We need new water security measures on farm and production models that are more adaptable to increasingly variable weather patterns,” she said.

“We are actively working with members to look at solutions, such as installing localised weather stations and adopting new technology to help our members to adapt their production systems in real time. We are also looking at developing feed options for members from out-of-specification grain.”

The WAPC is inviting livestock producers to attend the forums and see what the group offers. A forum will be held at the Katanning Research Facility today, at the Borden Pavilion on July 28, and Jerramungup Motor Hotel on July 30.

Contact samatha.jeffries@waproducers.com.au or 0429 236 729.

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