KEY department, national and industry stakeholders were treated to a night of WA culinary delights early last week, served up by WA food ambassador Don Hancey and a team of five talented chefs.
Hosted by the National Farmers' Federation (NFF) and WAFarmers at The Kitchen in Osborne Park, WAFarmers president Rhys Turton said the dinner was about connecting the supply chains in WA's agricultural industry to create a united voice.
"We are trying to demonstrate to the community that we are responsible food producers and build back that community trust," Mr Turton said.
"We can better achieve this if all parts of the agricultural industry work together cohesively."
NFF chief executive officer Tony Mahar said over the years community trust in the agricultural industry had started to erode.
"One of the real challenges we're facing is building trust and connection back up with the community," Mr Mahar said.
"Whether it's animal production, chemical use, environmental management - there are so many issues that farmers are doing a really good job of, but there are also some things we need to work on and there are challenges in front of us that we're not going to shy away from."
Mr Mahar said there was strength and power in coming together as an industry.
"We are focused on having a national strategy with WA farmers and agribusiness, because if we don't, our trust bucket with the community will continue to erode and leak out, and we won't be able to draw on it when we have things that inevitably go wrong."
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development director general Ralph Addis agreed the State's agricultural industry could achieve better results by taking a "team WA approach" to tell its story better.
"We've got to get on the front foot and be telling a positive story and taking positive action to make sure we have high practice and regulatory standards to protect ourselves from those who challenge and threaten the ag sector," Mr Addis said.
"Society's expectations move pretty quickly - and that's challenging.
"Food integrity and assurance is going to be increasingly important in market access, which is particularly important for WA producers, given our overbearing trade orientation."
Mr Addis said agriculture was one of the best and most important economic prospects that the State government had to get behind.
"Agriculture is what drags wealth and value into the State economy and creates jobs," he said.
"It's something we can't afford to let slip."
Having recently returned from a trip to China to promote WA produce, Mr Hancey said the WA agricultural industry needed a unified voice to effectively showcase its products to the world.
"We need to all work together, right across the agricultural industry and the fishing industry, to get behind the unique products we have here in WA," Mr Hancey said.
"Chefs have an amazing influence on promoting a farmer's end product to the public, so what I would like to see is more connection between farmers and chefs.
"If chefs learn more about the WA agricultural industry, they will have better ways to promote our WA products to customers through their menus and front of house staff."