A word from Rob Massina, President of RGA

This has been one of the best autumn breaks for the Murrumbidgee and Murray Valleys. I hope you are all enjoying watching crops and fodder establish, whilst sowing the remainder into perfect moisture. For those harvesting rice, fingers crossed you get a run at it over the next couple of weeks.

Although we are seeing steady rises in our storage's and the catchments are wet, we still have a long way to go to ensure a meaningful allocation for our communities. Over the past month we have been busy ensuring that government (state and federal), peak farming bodies and the Australian public understand the compounding effect of drought, poor water management and COVID-19 is having on the supply of domestic rice. Having no Australian rice of the shelves by the end of the year is a short term issue that needs addressing, but cannot cloud the long term effects non-adaptive water policy settings will have on our industry. We are making this very clear.

Millions of dollars and volunteer hours have gone into many inquiries and reviews around water reform and its impacts. The recommendations from all these reviews need to be looked at collectively for commonality, and recommended collectively to make needed change. For too long, the bottom draw for these inquiries is the easy option. The collective gives strength to the findings.

You may have seen over the past month an increase our activity on social media, promoting Australian rice production and creating broader awareness around what we do as producers. This has coincided well with the SunRice sustainability promotion launched in the last few days, recognising our rice growers and delivering a story of production and the environment working together. I would encourage you to check it out on RGA’s facebook and twitter profiles.

For those not aware, Drew Braithwaite has stepped down as Chair of the Rice R&D panel for a period of time due to family reasons. I am pleased to let you know that Antony Vagg has been appointed as the Acting Chair for a period of 3 months. Drew will continue to assist Antony when required. Antony is the RGA Deniliquin Branch President and a strong contributor around the Central Executive table. We looking forward to working with Antony in his new role.

Robert Massina,

Ricegrowers' Association of Australia