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Northern Rivers & Rural News

NRLX dollar turnover ‘through the roof’

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NRLX dollar turnover ‘through the roof’

NRLX dollar turnover ‘through the roof’

AFTER a booming 2020-2021 financial year, the Northern Rivers Livestock Exchange (NRLX) dollar turnover has demolished the all-time record of $113,616,791, coming in at $143,216,075.

Applauding the results, Richmond Valley Council’s General Manager Vaughan Macdonald said the agriculture and food production sectors accounted for almost 30 percent of employment for the local area, and around 45 percent of the area’s total economic output in traditional years.

Mr Macdonald said with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a business operating environment no one could have predicted, this result was a significant contribution to the financial stability and recovery of the region.

He said the benefits of the NRLX extended well beyond the selling gate.

“We know that on selling days our CBD businesses become a hive of activity, with people grabbing supplies or stopping for a bite to eat,” Mr Macdonald said.

“In small regional communities like ours, this business activity is paramount, supporting local traders and maintaining local jobs.

“The flow on effects from such a successful year for producers will continue to ripple through the local economy for some time.

“Many of the local producers who sell their stock through the NRLX were hand feeding their herds at the peak of the drought in mid-2019; then many were hit by the fires.

“For vendors it is an exceptional result to bounce back so strongly, with such high quality stock, after the shock of 2019.

“They’ve invested a lot to get their stock back to this point and they’ve produced an exceptional result.”

NRLX Operations Manager Brad Willis said the results also showed the commitment NRLX-based livestock agents had for their clients.

“The positive relationships being built between all stakeholders who use our facility are an important factor in this successful year,” he said.

As the current boom in cattle prices showed no signs of abating, Mr Willis said the NRLX was well positioned as a modern, industry-leading facility which vendors and buyers could rely on.

“Our technological infrastructure, safety, animal welfare and environmental standards here are world-class,” he said.

“We are regularly making adjustments to improve the experience for our buyers and vendors at the sales.”

Mr Willis said the results vindicated the $14 million investment in upgrading the NRLX by Richmond Valley Council, with the support of the Federal and State governments.

“Operating from a state-of-the-art facility has proven to be a bonanza for the local cattle industry, with sales revenue at the NRLX jumping $30 million to reach a high of just over $143 million for the 2020-2021 financial year,” he said.

Mr Macdonald said Council’s hard work to improve the services, relationships and stakeholder engagement also contributed to the ongoing success story of NRLX.

“I am very proud of the NRLX team, led by Operations Manager Brad Willis, and the way in which the NRLX has continued to operate and set an excellent example of saleyard operation under challenging circumstances during COVID,” he said.

“There is no doubt the NRLX is the premier facility for the livestock trading market for northern NSW.”

Mr Willis said a total of 91 sales were held over the past financial year with 103,436 head of cattle sold, grossing more than $143 million in total sales. Average price per head also significantly increased to $1384.59 from the previous record of $951.06.

He said people knew when they bought livestock from the NRLX they were securing some of the strongest bloodlines in the region and that they could fulfil orders for stock in the one place.

He said the yards were attracting buyers from as far afield as Victoria in the south, right across western NSW and as far north to the Tropic of Capricorn, in Queensland.

“The fact we have buyers coming from Victoria, combined with regular visitors from south western Queensland, southern NSW, and significant volumes from western NSW, shows the NRLX and our agents are successfully bringing new business to the region,” Mr Willis said.

“Selling numbers have been strong, with prices remaining at record highs, which provides further confidence for growth for this industry well into the future.

“We have seen an increase in the area our vendors are sending stock from with regular clients now coming from Kempsey, Glen Innes and Stanthorpe.

“Our yards are nationally recognised for premier quality stock and competitive prices, and the addition of StockLive streaming of sales allowing vendors, buyers and spectators to observe the sale remotely proved a popular option during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown.

“The NRLX is a truly modern, best-practice facility for animal welfare outcomes, workplace health and safety, as well as an efficient and comfortable cattle sale destination.”

Mr Macdonald said in undertaking a review in 2018, the NRLX was clearly identified as a key asset for users and one of the main sales outlets for local cattle in the region.

He said financial sustainability had been a key focus of the facility in recent years with
increasing pressure to remain viable due to escalating compliance costs, higher expectations from buyers and sellers, animal welfare standard and other selling mechanisms.

He said the Council unanimously voted to do everything in its power to ensure the long-term viability of the facility.

“Two years ago Council took the initiative to freeze agent and seller sale fees at the NRLX as a gesture of support for the cattle industry as it recovered from severe drought,” Mr Macdonald said.

“On the back of this decision an entirely new structure was introduced in August 2020 which built in flexibility for market conditions and the benefits of this are evident.

“Council has a rich history and association with the Casino saleyards and will ensure it remains a competitive, sustainable and safe facility focused on supporting the local agricultural and related sectors.

“The NRLX is an asset which will continue to be supported and improved to bring greater competition to our cattle auctions and play pivotal role in the local industry and economy.”

Northern Rivers & Rural News

Trailblazing women join together to discuss breaking bias on International Women’s Day 2022

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Trailblazing women join together to discuss breaking bias on International Women’s Day 2022

Trailblazing women join together to discuss breaking bias on International Women’s Day 2022

Landcare Australia and the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment are bringing together a formidable group of women for a conversation about their challenges and triumphs.

In an online panel event on International Women’s Day, Tuesday 8 March, Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator Kerstie Lee will lead the discussion, focussing on this year’s theme – #BreakTheBias.

The panel includes Natalie Sommerville, a farmer, grazier and proud Torres Strait Islander woman from the clan Wagadagam of the Goemulgal people of Mabuyag Island. Currently living and working on Ngadjuri Country in South Australia’s Mid North, when Nat is not farming she is mentoring Aboriginal students.

Joining her is Sally Downie, who was selected as an ABC Heywire Trailblazer in 2019 for her work advocating for improved mental health services and support in drought-affected communities in Central West NSW. She is also a farmer, student and part-time drought policy officer.

Fiona Hill-Stein will add insights from her career advising on agricultural policy, drought and rural assistance, and natural resource management at the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

Rounding out the panel is Tess Grieves, Regional Landcare Coordinator at North Central Catchment Management Authority in Victoria. A driven environmental achiever in her community, she is nominated for the Steadfast Young Landcare Leadership Award at the 2022 National Landcare Awards.

“We are thrilled to present an engaging, thought-provoking discussion with Kerstie, Natalie, Sally, Fiona and Tess about their experiences and accomplishments in landcare,” said Dr Shane Norrish, CEO Landcare Australia.

“Launched over 35 years ago by two women – Joan Kirner and Heather Mitchell – landcare has led the way with women in leadership roles across Australia. This event celebrates the thousands of women in landcare and their contribution to local communities and natural resource management,” said Dr Norrish.

International Women’s Day 2022 aims to inspire everyone to celebrate women’s achievement, raise awareness against bias, and take action for equality.

Don’t miss Landcare Women Break the Bias, Tuesday 8 March, 2pm – 3.30pm AEDT.

Register to attend at landcareaustralia.org.au/webinars/iwd2022.

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Northern Rivers & Rural News

Farmers get their say on land use

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NSW Northern Rivers Breaking News

Farmers get their say on land use

The fight between farmers and developers could be a thing of the past thanks to a new mapping project that will shape future regional planning decisions.

With agriculture, urban development, renewable energy infrastructure and other land use interests competing for space in our increasingly busy regional areas, NSW Farmers is urging landholders to have their say on State Significant Agricultural Land mapping.

NSW Farmers Vice President Xavier Martin said it was an important process that would help protect farmers from conflicting land uses into the future.

“Farmers are being given a direct opportunity to have their say on the important issue of land use planning, and this could set the course for years to come as land use interests in regional areas grow,” Mr Martin said.

“Unfortunately, agricultural land can be viewed as a default zone when it comes to matters such as urban expansion, energy infrastructure and mining.

“There’s a finite amount of land suitable for agriculture and at the moment, we are losing it in a very fragmented way, but the state government’s mapping exercise is an opportunity to resolve that poor outcome.”

Mr Martin said the NSW Government’s understanding of the regional and state significance of agricultural areas would go a long way to minimising future conflict.

“The understanding of high value agricultural land must be multi-faceted, taking into consideration soil quality, yield, adaptability, proximity to export hubs and regional importance,” Mr Martin said.

“If the government is to identify and protect agricultural land on a tiered basis, then they need to understand what makes land strategically important – and farmers will be the repository of that knowledge.

“The goal of NSW Farmers advocacy in the land use space is to ensure agriculture is being considered in land use decisions. We need to start somewhere, and this mapping is the starting point.”

While the first iteration of the government’s mapping is not perfect, Mr Martin said consultation and refinement would help produce a planning tool that benefits landholders.

Consultation on the first State Significant Agricultural Land mapping is open until late January 2022 and the NSW Department of Primary Industries is welcoming input from farmers.

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Northern Rivers & Rural News

Northern NSW farmers to have their say on climate, regional opportunities

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The Northern Rivers own newspaper

Northern NSW farmers to have their say on climate, regional opportunities

Friday, 10 December 2021. From Taree to Lismore, Northern NSW farmers can have their say on what Australia’s climate policy should look like at one of Farmers for Climate Action’s end-of-year catch-ups next week.

The seven networking events, created by farmers for farmers passionate about a better climate future, are an opportunity to be updated on Australia’s climate policy, share local insights and learnings from the year, and ensure we’re feeding the right climate solutions back to industry and decision-makers.

The 1.5-hour sessions will run from Monday 13 December to Wednesday 15 December in the following locations:

Taree: Monday 13 December from 6.30pm at the Caravilla Motor Inn Bistro
Port Macquarie: Tuesday 14 December from 9am at Hibbard Sports Club
Dorrigo: Tuesday 14 December from 1.30pm at the Food Angel Cafe
Bellingen: Tuesday 14 December from 630pm at Bellingen Riverside Cottages
Grafton: Wednesday 15 Dec from 9.30am at Vines at 139
Kyogle: Wednesday 15 December from 2pm at Sugarbowl Cafe
Lismore: Wednesday 15 December from 6.30pm at the Lismore Workers Club mezzanine

Peter Holding, third-generation Harden farmer and FCA community outreach officer said:

“Here’s your opportunity to meet like-minded farmers and compare notes on the year we’ve had. We can have a frank discussion about where Australia’s climate policy is at and, more importantly, what this means for our region and livelihoods.

“Farmers are on the front lines of climate change, with many of us in this region living through droughts, floods, bushfires and more.

“Strong climate policy creates a raft of opportunities for regional Australia and we want Northern NSW farmers to be central to the conversation to ensure we get the best opportunities for the region.”

The events will be free of charge. RSVPs are essential and refreshments will be provided. To register visit www.farmersforclimateaction.org.au/events.

Farmers for Climate Action is a movement of almost 7000 farmers and agricultural leaders working to ensure that farmers, who are on the frontlines of climate change, are part of its solution.

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