NETWORKING was the name of the game when the Grower Group Alliance (GGA) and the Local Farmer Group Network (LFGN) came together as one for the first time at a Perth meeting last week.
The two-day forum marked the first formal gathering of the new group since the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) approved funding in July for the first three years of the merger.
The group¹s creation marked the culmination of a detailed merger discussion starting in October last year with a final decision made in January.
UWA Institute of Agriculture director professor Kadambot Siddique, who chaired the committee which guided the merger, said uniting the two grower groups was a sign of the times, with farmer numbers on the decline in WA.
He said the new partnership would strengthen the farming¹s position by bringing agricultural research and industry partners closer.
At the forum, the group meet with key industry delegates to workshop its future research priorities and keep the predecessor group¹s title.
Formed in 2002, the original GGA was used to enhance the value of agricultural research, development and extension through stronger links between grower groups, researchers and industry.
The GGA¹s previous membership was of 15 larger farming groups such as the progressive South East Premium Wheat Growers Association and the politically active WA No Tillage Farmers Association.
The 24 farming groups supported by the former LFGN were smaller, voluntary bodies such as the Ningham Farm Focus Group, which meet each month and operated a range of locally-based activities, and the Duli Farm Improvement Group, which meet on a needs-only basis at the Cadoux Hall.
Last week¹s meeting identified 12 research priorities including the adoption of farming systems to cope with climate change.
Also discussed at the meeting was risk management in context with soil capability and rainfall, sponsorship opportunities, how to improve communication, soil health, legume profitability, crop rotations and managing herbicide resistance.