Grain and livestock producers will have the opportunity to hear from an international biotechnology expert while also receiving an update on the latest in agripolitics and agtech at the third annual GROWING SA Conference in August.

The program will be headlined by Professor Kevin Folta from the University of Florida, thanks to CropLife Australia, and Bayer medical science outreach lead Dr Eliza Dunn, both from the United States.

Other big-ticket presenters on the program launched today are Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone, National Farmers’ Federation president Fiona Simson, Meat & Livestock Australia’s Sean Starling, Farmers 2 Founders’ Sarah Nolet, Rural Bank chief financial officer Will Rayner and Primary Producers SA chair Rob Kerin.

For the first time, the conference – hosted by Grain Producers SA and Livestock SA at the Adelaide Hills Convention Centre, Hahndorf – will be held across two days on Monday 26 and Tuesday 27 August.

GPSA and Livestock SA will hold their annual general meetings on the Monday afternoon, followed by pre-dinner drinks and the GROWING SA Conference gala dinner, showcasing SA’s fine produce and beverages which will lead into a full day of concurrent sessions on Tuesday.

GPSA chief executive Caroline Rhodes said the 2019 GROWING SA Conference promised to be the biggest in its three-year history.

“We are excited to have Prof Folta joining us from the US, particularly given the current debate both locally and abroad around genetically modified crops and the use of glyphosate in our farming systems,” she said.

“One of the greatest risks to agriculture is the potential for increased regulation around key tools which enable farmers to be productive and profitable.

“With changing consumer sentiment, legal action and erosion of trust in science-based regulation, Prof Folta will discuss what this means for new technology and how regulators are responding to consumer campaigns.

“In addition to this, Dr Dunn will give delegates a glimpse into what life is like from the inside in engaging an increasingly sceptical public who distrusts the science behind glyphosate.”

Livestock SA chief executive Andrew Curtis said GROWING SA would be addressing trespassing laws and animal activists — one of the most pertinent issues facing livestock producers in 2019.

“We have seen a number of very public protests and highly publicised illegal trespasses this year by animal activists in Australia,” he said.

“With the livestock industry being one of the key customers for grain growers, this a growing concern for both industries.

“Fiona Simson will be updating delegates on NFF’s latest policy efforts in this area, while Mellor Olsson lawyer Victoria Gilliland will outline where the legal framework needs tweaking to better protect producers against illegal property invasions.”

Tying these issues together and explaining how producers can engage with the wider community to build trust in agriculture will be 2019 AgriFutures SA Rural Women’s Award winner Deanna Lush.

Agtech will also be a key focus of GROWING SA 2019, with Sean Starling providing an update on operations at Carwoola Pastoral where MLA and service providers have installed a range of agtech tools to assist in day-to-day decision making by management and Sarah Nolet giving an overview of the technology on the horizon and how grain and livestock producers can get involved in new initiative Farmers 2 Founders.

Registrations are open for GROWING SA, which is a conference for all producers and industry stakeholders.

Primary Industries and Regions SA is the event partner, MLA and the Grains Research and Development Corporation are gold sponsors and Rural Bank is silver sponsor of GROWING SA.

Ramsey Bros is the conference dinner sponsor and Mellor Olsson Lawyers the pre-dinner drinks sponsor.

View the program and register on the Conference Program page.