Opportunities for agriculture in the St George and south west Queensland region will be put under the spotlight at the Focus on Food and Fibre Conference on Friday, August 2 at the St George Cultural Centre.
Conference spokesperson Gina Mace said the aim of the event is to positively promote agriculture relative to the region, including: grass and grain fed beef, sheep and wool production, dry-land cereal grain production and irrigated crops.
"Over the course of the event we'll be showcasing the agricultural opportunities available through technology, diversification, marketing, innovation and management," she said.
Mrs Mace said to help convey these messages to conference guests, industry leading speakers will take to the stage to discuss a plethora of topics in relation to agricultural technology, diversification, marketing, innovation and management.
The conference will open with with mental health occupational therapist Alex Donahue presenting on the human ingredient in business.
A panel discussion focussing on supply chain resilience will also take place during the day featuring Carpendale Commodities trading manager Andrew Jurgs, Camm Agricultural Group CEO and ALFA president Bryce Camm, Thomas Foods International livestock manager Paul Leonard, and a marketing representative from Queensland Cotton.
Technical industry updates will form the meat of the schedule with discussions to key in on various aspects of irrigation, dryland farming and livestock. Speakers will be presenting on these three topics simultaneously throughout the day with guests being able to choose which session they sit in on.
"Agricultural business owners within our targeted region have been enormously affected financially and mentally from prolonged drought, changes to vegetation management laws, loss of confidence in governing bodies and national accusations of destroying the Murray Darling River system.
"Many areas within the region have received only 40mm to 70mm this year. That is on top of six previous years of poor rainfall and an annual rainfall of just seven to 11 inches in 2018. Unfortunately we can't make it rain, which would solve many of the problems.
"The morale of people involved in the industry in this area is low and those seeking careers in agriculture may be considering alternative paths.
"The conference schedule of events is designed to motivate, empower, and simply provide a positive boost to the people involved in agriculture in this region."
Mrs Mace said the conference will provide a platform for capacity building as producers from the region will have the opportunity to connect with the guest speakers over the day, and it will also act as a social day out for guests in attendance, away from the stresses of the farm and drought.
"The conference is aimed at red meat producers, wool producers, dry land farmers, irrigators and young people studying or preparing for careers in agriculture."
She said a major highlight of the conference will be the presence of celebrity guest speaker and Brisbane Broncos great Shane Webcke, who is also a farmer and family man.
"At the peak of his rugby league career Shane was renowned as one of the best Rugby League front rowers in the world.
"Be inspired as Shane talks about how he went from a bush kid to a rugby league star. How he has taken his work ethic from the footy field to his farm, which he has managed through a drought while remaining grounded through it all.
She said it didn't take a lot of convincing to have him be a part of the conference.
"Shane has shown genuine support for the conference and the farmers in the St George and south west Queensland region.
"We hope the conference speakers, including Shane, will motivate and empower people involved in or considering a career in agriculture."
The conference will run from 8:30am to 5pm and all meals will be provided. A social function will be held at the St George Cultural Centre following session close.