Community Development Meeting Summary

Farming Together supports ‘sheep shift’ plan

Dyed-in-the-wool merino farmers have found support for their plans to diversify production and boost prosperity. 

The Traprock Group, is hopeful that funding from the Farming Together program will see more young people returning to farms in the region. 

More than 40 people attended a community meeting on 9th December 2016 to hear how the region can benefit from diversification opportunities such as horticulture, vegetable growing, intensive livestock and aquaculture supporting its traditional production of superfine wool, meat sheep, beef cattle and other livestock. 

Financial support for the meeting came from the Farming Together program, an Australian Government initiative, designed to support farmer groups and lift farmgate returns. 

Meeting in the Terrica woolshed, attendees heard from Rod Glass, a consultant in supply chain and farming systems. He was joined by Tom Crothers, a specialist in project management and water planning. 

Access to water and water infrastructure have been identified as key enabling assets that will greatly assist the Traprock region to develop new opportunities. Diversification not only helps us spread risk, it also attracts the next generation of young people back into the area. 

The Traprock area has relied largely on the extensive grazing of quality wool producing merinos for 170 years, however it has become increasingly difficult to support more than one family on a wool-growing property. Change is necessary. We value having more young people in our community, particularly their energy and embrace of technology, but we need to evaluate the risks of any new enterprise. 

Farming Together brings consultants and farming groups together, to help them with strategic planning, feasibility studies, group negotiation, collaboration and governance. 

The meeting concluded with attendees engaged in meaningful discussion about the prospect of access to additional water entitlements and the benefits that would mean for their farming business.