THE NSW Farmers annual conference is over for another year, and the highlights for the region’s people and branches have been plenty.
Guyra grazier James Jackson was particularly in the spotlight, with his election of as the new president of the association for the next four-year term.
The branch also took the award for most innovative event or activity, after running and subsidising a series of clinics, with Guyra Medical Centre, that allowed people to be tested for Q fever.
Moree farmer Rebecca Reardon was elected as the state body’s treasurer, and the local branch spearheaded efforts to see changes to native vegetation legislation.
Mr Jackson runs sheep and cattle and is also a vet.
Branch chairman and fellow Guyra resident Callan Schaefer said it didn’t “matter where he’s from, as long as he’s going to do the job, and I think James is the man for the job”.
“It’s very handy for the organisation, having a vet as the head of NSW Farmers [who] can approach the animal welfare case from a best-practice perspective; it gives us that little bit more authority in proving we are doing the right thing by our animals …
“We like people to get the right information.”
Mrs Reardon, a prime lamb producer and crop grower, secured the role of treasurer over another two candidates.
With more than 20 years in grain industry corporate management, she has said some aims were to ensure the association’s advocacy “continues to be well-financed and -funded” and that its members felt connected.
One of the hottest topics from early in the conference was native vegetation legislation, for which Moree and Tenterfield branches put up several successful motions.
They were on issues including fairer prosecutions, penalties and mapping.
NSW Farmers’ native vegetation working group chairman Mitchell Clapham said a five-part motion from Moree had sought several amendments to new laws.
“The changes mostly relate to extending the commonly accepted principles of natural justice to the compliance process set out in the legislation. For example, the burden of proof should rest with the prosecutor as it does in criminal law.”
Moree delegates also wanted penalties to better reflect the size of the entity involved, difference between corporate and family farms, and environmental impact.
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