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Boutique dairy producers encouraged to benchmark products

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Boutique dairy producers encouraged to benchmark products

 

Dairy producers from across Australia are being called on to enter the 2024 Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Show, with entries now open for one of the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW’s (RAS) most prestigious competitions.

Since the 1870s, the RAS has been analysing dairy products with the aim of both celebrating producers who are delivering the highest quality and allowing producers to see how they stack up against their peers.

This year it is boutique dairy producers and artisans that are being encouraged to enter with 94 classes including milk, butter, cheese, gelato, yoghurt and more.

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Tiffany Beer, Chair of Judges for the Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Produce Show, says there is a significant benefit to producers who are willing to put their product forward for assessment by the best in the industry.

“Competitions like the Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Produce Show offer producers a unique opportunity to not only benchmark themselves against their competitors to see where they sit in the industry but also to access some of Australia’s top judges for individual feedback,” Beer said.

Boutique dairy producers creating benchmark products.

This year it is boutique dairy producers and artisans that are being encouraged to enter with 94 classes including milk, butter, cheese, gelato, yoghurt and more.

“It’s been a difficult few years for the dairy industry and we have continued to face countless challenges, however amongst that we continue to see many boutique dairy producers popping up within the industry and I call on them to enter.  Smaller up and coming producers can benefit enormously from putting their products to the test and receiving such specific industry advice.”

“Our judges come from all parts of the industry, so producers will receive feedback not only on the product quality but also how it fits into the wider industry.”

Entries for the competition are open for 4 weeks only, closing on 18 October 2023, so interested applicants are encouraged to apply early.

Judging for the 2024 competition will take place from 5th – 8th  February, with winners announced at the Sydney Royal Cheese & Dairy Awards on 15th February.

For more information or to enter the competition, please visit the website.

 

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Don’t Miss Out! Early Bird Tickets Now on Sale for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner & National Announcement

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Don’t Miss Out! Early Bird Tickets Now on Sale for the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award Gala Dinner & National Announcement

 

The National Winner and Runner Up of the 2024 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award will be announced at a Gala Dinner at the Great Hall, Parliament House in Canberra on Tuesday, 20 August 2024. The prestigious event celebrates female-led ingenuity in the regions. 

The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, with the support of platinum sponsor Westpac, showcases the critical role women play in rural, regional and remote businesses, industries and communities.

The annual Gala Dinner is an opportunity to celebrate the forward-thinking, courageous leaders who come from industries across some of the remote areas of Australia, including each of the State and Territory winners, Kate Lamason (QLD), Rebecca Keeley (NSW/ACT), Grace Larson (VIC), Belle Binder (TAS), Nikki Atkinson (SA), Mandy Walker (WA) and Tanya Egerton (NT).

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2023 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Winner Nikki Davey will be the event MC with the black-tie evening attended by award alumni, government officials, industry and private sector representatives and media.

The event is open to the public to purchase tickets here.

AgriFutures Managing Director John Harvey said the long-running Award is a salute to the wonderful contribution that Australian women are making in the regions.

“The Gala Dinner is an event that champions the remarkable contributions of the 2024 cohort and is an opportunity to honour these extraordinary women who are the pillars of our rural and regional industries, businesses, and communities,” Mr Harvey said.

Background Information

Now in its 24th year, the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award has gained a significant profile, growing in prestige and popularity, and is recognised as a program of influence among parliamentarians, industry, media and Award Alumni.

Each state and territory winner receives a $15,000 grant for their project, business or program, access to professional development opportunities and alumni networks.

The National Winner and Runner Up will receive an additional grant of $20,000 and $15,000, respectively, thanks to the awards platinum sponsor, Westpac.

AgriFutures Australia is committed to the future growth and advancement of the Award as a means of identifying, celebrating and empowering women. The Rural Women’s Award is one of many AgriFutures Australia initiatives ensuring our rural industries prosper now, and into the future.

For more information about the awards, head here.

 

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Better be-leaf it: celebrating International Day of Plant Health

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Better be-leaf it: celebrating International Day of Plant Health

 

In commemoration of the International Day of Plant Health on May 12, 2024, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry is spotlighting the significance of regional collaboration in safeguarding plant health.

Regional achievements in plant health will be lauded during the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative (PBRI) Symposium, a two-day event held at the Cairns Convention Centre on May 8 and 9. The symposium aims to foster better coordination among industry stakeholders, researchers, and governments to protect plant health.

Gabrielle Vivian-Smith, Australia’s Chief Plant Protection Officer, emphasises the critical role of plants in sustaining our region’s ecosystems. She underscores the staggering impact of plant pests and diseases, which annually result in the loss of 40% of food crops globally, with rural communities bearing the brunt. Vivian-Smith highlights the department’s commitment to research and innovation to combat these challenges and support farmers’ livelihoods.

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One notable initiative involves researching the efficacy of ethyl formate in controlling the khapra beetle at Australian borders, alongside collaborative efforts with the Queensland government to mitigate seasonal incursions of exotic fruit fly. Additionally, the department is enhancing biosecurity measures domestically and fostering partnerships with neighbouring countries to ensure regional plant health.

Recent endeavour’s include departmental visits to ‘high-biosecurity-risk’ sites in Honiara, where collaboration with Solomon Islands’ counterparts facilitated the detection of exotic plant pest threats. Furthermore, Papua New Guinea’s National Agriculture and Quarantine Inspection Authority will host biosecurity officers from Solomon Islands to exchange insights on target pests and surveillance techniques, aligning with the department’s Pacific Biosecurity Strategy.

The PBRI symposium will encompass diverse topics such as varroa mites in honeybees, the Indigenous Ranger Biosecurity Program, and biosecurity risks in the wine industry.

In addition to acknowledging regional achievements, it’s worth noting that the United Nations designated May 12 as the International Day of Plant Health in 2022, emphasising the vital role of plants in sustaining life on Earth. With plants contributing 80% of the food humans consume and generating 98% of the oxygen we breathe, safeguarding their health is paramount for global well-being.

 

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Budget 2024-25: Rural Health Equity Remains Unaddressed

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Budget 2024-25: Rural Health Equity Remains Unaddressed

 

Statement by the National Rural Health Alliance

The recent Federal Budget has missed a crucial opportunity to tackle the persistent healthcare disparities between rural and urban Australia, asserts the National Rural Health Alliance.

Nicole O’Reilly, Chairperson of the National Rural Health Alliance, expressed disappointment at the budget’s failure to meet expectations. She emphasised the government’s lack of responsiveness to rural voices and its failure to commit to comprehensive reforms that would deliver sustainable and long-term benefits for rural communities.

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The statistics paint a stark picture: Australians living farther from urban centres have lower life expectancies and are twice as likely to succumb to preventable illnesses. Rural men and women face significantly higher risks of dying from avoidable causes compared to their urban counterparts. Alarmingly, many rural residents lack access to primary healthcare services within a reasonable distance from their homes, leading to reduced utilisation of Medicare services and exacerbating the burden of disease in remote areas.

O’Reilly highlighted the evidence indicating a significant disparity in healthcare spending, with each person in rural and remote Australia missing out on nearly $850 per year in healthcare access, totalling an annual rural health underspend of $6.5 billion.

The National Rural Health Alliance welcomed certain budget measures, such as the support for rural training opportunities through initiatives like the Charles Darwin University Menzies Medical Program and additional funding for the Royal Flying Doctors Service. However, O’Reilly stressed that these efforts alone are insufficient to address the diverse healthcare needs across rural and remote Australia.

While acknowledging positive steps, O’Reilly emphasised the urgent need for more comprehensive and sustained commitments to ensure equitable healthcare outcomes for rural and remote Australians. She urged the government to prioritise rural health reform in future budget allocations to ensure that all communities receive the care and support they deserve.

 

For more health news, click here.

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