A century of rice production celebrated at the RGA Annual Conference

13 Aug 2014 3:15 PM -
(L-R) Mr Hiroyuki Yamaguchi, Embassy of Japan; RGA President, Les Gordon; Jo Takasuka’s grandchildren, Henry Watters, Murray Watters and Nona Ratcliffe; and Bill Maher, Chair of the Nyah District Action Group.

The Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia Inc. (RGA) has enjoyed another very successful Annual Conference this year, celebrating 100 years since the first commercial rice crop was planted just outside Swan Hill, Victoria.

Over 180 growers, government officials and industry experts attended the conference which was held over two days last week at the Swan Hill Town Hall.

RGA President, Les Gordon, said the event was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the success of the rice industry over the last hundred years and is excited about the future.

"Our two day Conference commenced with the unveiling of a new monument at the site where Jo Takasuka planted the first rice crops at Vinifera, around 20 kilometres north of Swan Hill. The local Nyah District Action Group approached Swan Hill Council to have the road where the rice monument stands renamed Takasuka Road, and this new sign was also presented to three of Jo Takasuka’s grandchildren in recognition of their family’s contribution to the rice industry and the area."

"Following this event, it was fitting our first speaker at the Town Hall was Dr Gary Lewis, author and historian, who presented a captivating account of the struggles of Jo Takasuka and his family in those early years, and the sheer perseverance that was needed to eventually achieve a successful rice crop," Mr Gordon said.

Other guest speakers were dairy farmer and Dairy Australia Chairman, Geoff Akers, and Senator Simon Birmingham, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment.

Read the full media release here.