Farm management association conference comes to Launceston

MANAGING AGRICULTURAL GROWTH: Multplie crop farming at Forth, in the state's North-West. Picture: Neil Richardson
MANAGING AGRICULTURAL GROWTH: Multplie crop farming at Forth, in the state's North-West. Picture: Neil Richardson

The Tasmanian government’s aim of increasing the farm gate value of agriculture 10 fold to $10 billion per year by 2050 is a very worthy objective.

In 2009 Professor Jonathan West said “it appears feasible to add an additional $5 billion over today’s value added to Tasmania’s combined agriculture and food industry” and noted that “this additional value would make Tasmania the richest state, per capita, in Australia”.

We would all like to see this sort of growth in Tasmanian agriculture; the key question is, how can we make this happen?

In March 2019, we have the opportunity to explore this question in detail when farm managers, consultants and researchers from around the world converge on Launceston for the 22nd Congress of the International Farm Management Association.

Invited speakers will present on a range of topics including global issues around food and agriculture, new technologies, and innovation in farm management.

These insights into farming practices and trends from around the world will provide important context for the aspirational challenge that has been set here in Tasmania.

Local speakers will describe how their industries have developed and grown in horticulture and broadacre grazing and cropping.

The growth in the berry fruit industry in the past five years has been amazing; the farm gate value now exceeds potatoes and is growing so quickly that it could soon exceed the entire vegetable industry.

Speakers will describe what has enabled the berry and stone fruit industries to grow so quickly.

Atlantic salmon is another industry that has made spectacular growth.

Other industries have been slower to grow, but are now significant contributors, including poppies and pyrethrum.

Questions for congress participants

What are the lessons from these industries to help agriculture continue to grow?

What can government agencies, farmers, consultants, and other businesses and organisations do to help achieve the objective?

The aim of the congress is to explore issues around the theme of growing agricultural output in a place like Tasmania, where substantial growth will depend on exports.

The products we export will generally have to be differentiated because our smaller scale means we are less competitive in commodities, except for dairy produce.

The congress is an opportunity for delegates to mix with agricultural managers, consultants and academics with an interest in farm management from around the world, particularly Europe, North America and New Zealand.

Delegates from places like Ireland, Canada, Europe and New Zealand will have experience with farming businesses like ours, and be able to provide valuable advice.

The program will also feature contributed papers detailing the latest research on farm management, workshops to discuss strategies for growing agriculture, and visits to progressive farmers in the north of the state.

To attract agricultural managers early in their careers, we have special arrangements for Next Gens, including an extra day ahead of the main congress and a discounted registration fee.

It is a rare opportunity to hear from experts in farm and agricultural management around the world, and mix with farmers, consultants and academics keenly interested in farm management.

For more information visit www.itma22.org, or follow us on social media: @IFMAOnline on Twitter and Facebook using #IFMA22.

The congress is supported by the Tasmanian government and the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture.