In a first for the agricultural sector, GrainGrowers is breaking new ground with the Grains Social Leadership Program (GSLP)
The GSLP offers the opportunity for growers who are influencers and leaders in their own networks and communities to enhance their skills around engaging in critical discussions.
As powerful voices in the industry, GSLP participants will be able to channel awareness and understanding from a grower’s perspective across multiple levels, as drivers of change.
Meet Ashley Wiese, Grains Social Leadership Program 2019
Ashley produces quinoa which is cleaned, washed and packed on his farm. Ashley’s quinoa is supplied to Coles supermarkets through his “Three Farmers” Brand and Coles own branded product. Ashley also provides product to the ingredient market throughout Australia.
Ashley is a passionate oat grower for both grain and hay.
Read why Ashley was interested in taking part in the GSLP:
One of the advantages that I have taken away from my experience of taking the quinoa we grow and putting it on a shelf, is that I have had a direct connection with the people who eat our grain. It has also meant that myself and my family are directly consuming the grain that we grow. I am now more aware of food safety with the tools we use to control insects, diseases and weeds so we can produce clean produce.
Consumers want to eat safe food. One thing I am passionate about is telling the story about how well we produce food in Australia. We have a reputation of producing clean and green produce, and it is a reputation that has been a long time in the making.
Australian food is subject to high levels of regulation around food safety. It is something that has always been tightly controlled and tested. It is the core of our great international reputation.
But added to this is our great environment. In the Wheatbelt areas of Western Australia we only grow crops over winter and spring. Our broad-acre crops are rain fed not irrigated. And winter is when it rains.
We then enter a dry period over summer where our crops ripen naturally from the lack of rain and high temperatures. Because of this we don’t need herbicides to ripen our crops like so many of our competitors in cooler climates who are growing their crops in summer and artificially ripening their crops before the snow fall.
We also have a break over summer where our grasses die off. This kills off fungal diseases which don’t survive the summer dry. It gives our crops a cleaner start next year and reduces our reliance on fungicides.
I think this is a story we need to tell.
With glyphosate residues in breakfast cereals being detected in the USA from oat crops ripened with glyphosate, why wouldn’t we be telling the story of how our oats is sun ripened.
Glyphosate is such a wonderful tool at the start of our growing season when we are trying to prepare the soil to plant a crop. Our soils are too fragile to cultivate and so it allows us to preserve the organic matter and reduce erosion of our soils.
But customers don’t want their food sprayed with glyphosate just prior to harvest.
I am proud of our Australian Oat industry for never allowing Glyphosate to be used for crop ripening, as it protects the reputation of the safe food we produce.
My circle of influence only includes my friends and social media followers of which 90% come from my industry. To have an influence on the people who are going to elect the policy makers I need to widen this circle. I’m hoping the GSLP will give me the skills I need to widen this circle of influence and to communicate effectively to people outside of the Ag industry.