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New Ag Minister to hit the ground running

30 Mar, 2013 01:00 AM
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New Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston is keen to head to the eastern Wheatbelt to talk with farmers.
New Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston is keen to head to the eastern Wheatbelt to talk with farmers.

THE new Agriculture and Food Minister has the issues in the eastern Wheatbelt at the top of his list once he gets settled in his new position.

Former Carnarvon pastoralist Ken Baston said while it did come as a bit of a surprise to him to receive the portfolio he was keen to hit the ground running.

And he will need to, with the amount of issues going on throughout regional WA at the moment.

Mr Baston, a former sheep pastoralist, said he had suffered droughts and floods, all which go with agriculture, and was keen to see what he could do.

"The live cattle ban to Indonesia was a disaster in the north and of course then we have the issues in the eastern Wheatbelt," Mr Baston said.

"I haven't been out there yet but I intend to and I intend to get out there as soon as my feet hit the ground."

When Farm Weekly spoke to the Minister he was still in the process of setting up his office, but he has already made a couple of brief agricultural appearances - last week at the WAFarmers conference and the Stud Merino Breeders Association of WA annual general meeting.

It will no doubt be an intriguing four-year term for agriculture as Premier Colin Barnett has already signalled he would take a direct interest in the portfolio, while Mr Baston is the first Liberal Minister to hold the position since 1982.

"I have an excellent relationship with the Premier and I think it is fantastic that he is taking such a keen interest in agriculture," Mr Baston said.

"I am very confident that he is behind me and I think that is something agriculture has been missing for a long time."

FarmWeekly

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Issues in the workplace have always been dealt with by the person in charge.In the shearing
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Rick Wilson, PGA and supporters, where are you? Here is your chance to prove how relaxed you are
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Leon the WQA passed a change to the guidelines that allowed even worse quality to enter WA APW.