AFTER decades of "feeling like they were missing out" a new grower group appears to be in the making in the Southern Rangelands with pastoralists and stakeholders from the Gascoyne, Murchsion and Goldfields expected to gather at Mt Magnet for an industry forum.
The forum will be held at Mt Magnet on May 28-29 with WA Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan confirmed to attend.
Forum organisers, the Rangelands Fibre and Produce Association (RFPA), will convene the forum to develop a shared vision for a productive pastoral industry and hope to unite the pastoral properties and associated stakeholders in the region to form the new grower group.
Mt Magnet Shire president Jorgen Jensen, Yoweragabbie station, said the RFPA was a grower group based around Mt Magnet and had been operating since 1999.
Mr Jensen said the RFPA, which has 11 members, was founded to support projects on sustainable pastoralism and rangelands regeneration but through need it had also assisted in some biosecurity measures in the area as well, particularly with the wild dog fencing works underway.
"The issues are fairly well the same across the southern rangelands and pastoralists feel that the region has been neglected by government for decades," Mr Jensen said.
"The region is doing a lot on tourism and it's seen a huge increase in the past five years.
"There's also been an increase in mining.
"We want to see that happen for agriculture."
At the forum they will discuss important issues such as long-term drought resilience, carbon projects, rangelands rehabilitation and the Rangelands Cell Fencing Projects.
There are 286 pastoral properties in the Southern Rangelands of WA, with no representative grower group.
"This forum is aiming to build a shared vision for the next 20 years," the RFPA said.
"Out of it we will form a Southern Rangelands Primary Production group to help the region move collectively towards 2040.
"We want to see the pastoral industry prosper and we welcome input from interested pastoralists and stakeholders."
The RFPA's previous projects have included facilitating Ecosystem Management Understanding workshops in the region, seeding native vegetation in degraded areas, eradicating invasive cactus, rangelands rehydration projects, self herding and wild dog control projects.
The RFPA is the proponent of the Murchison Hub Cell Fence, a $450,000 State government supported Rangelands Cell Fence Project.
More information: call Jorgen Jensen, yoweragabbie.stn@ gmail.com or Debbie Dowden at debandash@ bigpond.com