OPINION: THIS YEAR has been a very constructive one.
The evolution of grower representation in SA has been very smooth, given the extent of the changes made.
The formation of three new grower organisations in Pork SA, Livestock SA, and the Horticulture Coalition of SA, to join Grain Producers SA, SA Dairyfarmers Association and the Wine Grape Growers Council of SA, has been a huge step in cementing a new structure to modernise representation.
And I have been meeting with the chicken meat, egg and turkey industries on the formation of Poultry SA, which will ensure that industry has a strong voice.
I am very grateful for the goodwill of the representatives of the six commodity organisations around the PPSA Council table.
They have cooperated with each other on many issues, and leave government and Opposition in no doubt that primary producers have a strong voice representing the industry.
We are the most important industry in the state and need to make sure that we are respected as being that.
We are grateful that PIRSA and other government departments have constantly consulted with the new organisation, and we have been able to constructively discuss the needs, wants of and risks for our producers.
It has been very constructive to be face-to-face rather than through the media.
Early in the new year we will be going live with our new initiative Rural Connect.
This will allow us to well-inform, consult with, and offer a wide range of information and services to rural SA.
PIRSA has been incredibly supportive and we hope to ensure our producers are able to access all their information and resources through this digital platform.
I encourage all producers to register for Rural Connect through www.ppsa.org.au.
We hope to make it a one-stop shop for primary producers, and a tool which makes consultation far more effective than before.
The new year will no doubt bring on many issues.
Mining, gas, planning, transport, native vegetation, industry development, and many other issues will need to be addressed.
Also, the commodity organisations will all have industry-specific issues to deal with.
I encourage all producers to support their respective commodity organisation and become a member.
I can honestly say that I am really impressed by the quality of your representation and know they are making a difference. Get behind them.
We remain this state's major industry - by a mile. We are many, we are busy, and we are spread over a very wide area.
We need to stick together, support each other and ensure we are able to do what we do best - carry this state's economy.
Please register for Rural Connect - technology eliminates some of the remoteness and in this age we need to use technology to address our major impediments.
A merry Christmas to you all.
Let us all make sure 2014 is a year where we are valued for the sector's contribution and where we achieve change which helps us to operate and compete better.
* Full report in Stock Journal, December 19 issue, 2013.