US biotechnology expert to headline Growing SA conference

GROWING SA conference to cover GM-crops, animal activism, agtech

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The program for the third annual GROWINGSA conference has been launched, including international speakers.

The program for the third annual GROWINGSA conference has been launched, including international speakers.

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THE state's grain and livestock producers will have the opportunity to hear from an international biotechnology expert while also receiving an update on the latest in agripolitics and agtech at the third annual GROWING SA Conference next month.

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THE state's grain and livestock producers will have the opportunity to hear from an international biotechnology expert as well as receive an update on the latest in agripolitics and ag-tech at the third annual GROWING SA Conference next month.

University of Florida's Professor Kevin Folta will headline the two-day conference along with Bayer medical science outreach lead Dr Eliza Dunn, also from the United States.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone, National Farmers' Federation president Fiona Simson, Meat & Livestock Australia's Sean Starling, Farmers 2 Founders' Sarah Nolet, Rural Bank chief financial officer Will Rayner and Primary Producers SA chair Rob Kerin are also on the program.

For the first time, the conference - hosted by Grain Producers SA and Livestock SA at the Adelaide Hills Convention Centre, Hahndorf - will be held across two days on Monday, August 26 and Tuesday, August 27.

GPSA and Livestock SA will hold their annual general meetings on the first afternoon, followed by pre-dinner drinks and the GROWING SA Conference gala dinner, showcasing SA's fine produce and beverages.

A full day of concurrent sessions will be held on the Tuesday.

GPSA chief executive Caroline Rhodes said the 2019 GROWING SA Conference promised to be the biggest in its three-year history.

One of the greatest risks to agriculture is the potential for increased regulation around key tools which enable farmers to be productive and profitable. - Growing SA CEO Caroline Rhodes

"We are excited to have Prof Folta joining us from the US, particularly given the current debate both locally and abroad around genetically modified crops and the use of glyphosate in our farming systems," she said.

"One of the greatest risks to agriculture is the potential for increased regulation around key tools which enable farmers to be productive and profitable.

"With changing consumer sentiment, legal action and erosion of trust in science-based regulation, Prof Folta will discuss what this means for new technology and how regulators are responding to consumer campaigns.

"In addition to this, Dr Dunn will give delegates a glimpse into what life is like from the inside in engaging an increasingly sceptical public who distrusts the science behind glyphosate.

"Livestock SA chief executive Andrew Curtis said GROWING SA would be addressing trespassing laws and animal activists - one of the most pertinent issues facing livestock producers in 2019.

"We have seen a number of very public protests and highly publicised illegal trespasses this year by animal activists in Australia," he said.

"With the livestock industry being one of the key customers for grain growers, this a growing concern for both industries.

"Fiona Simson will be updating delegates on NFF's latest policy efforts in this area, while Mellor Olsson lawyer Victoria Gilliland will outline where the legal framework needs tweaking to better protect producers against illegal property invasions."

Tying these issues together and explaining how producers can engage with the wider community to build trust in agriculture will be 2019 AgriFutures SA Rural Women's Award winner Deanna Lush.

.Agtech will also be a key focus of GROWING SA 2019, with Sean Starling providing an update on operations at Carwoola Pastoral, near Canberra, ACT where MLA and service providers have installed a range of agtech tools to assist in day-to-day decision making by management.

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