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WAPPA announces new president

Wannamal producer Steve Martin has been elected President of the Western Austrailia Pork Producers' Association (WAPPA) by the Association's Executive Committee, after Cuballing producer Graeme Dent's fixed three year term expired.

Martin, who was elected to WAPPA Executive in 2006, replacing Stuart Coole of Boyup Brook, has been involved in the WA pork industry since 1997, initially with Westpork, before starting his own operation in 2001, along with wife Sharon.

Martin noted that WAPPA would continue to work closely with key fresh pork exporters to maintain and explore further export opportunities in Asia, enabling WA to exploit its capacity to supply increased tonnages of fresh pork into the region.

Supporting retiring President Graeme Dent's recent comments on GMOs, Martin said the genetically modified food debate was something the industry needed to have to determine the benefits to pork production and the broader agricultural industry.

“With grain based feed typically accounting for 70 per cent of our costs, access to such advanced biotechnologies could allow farmers to grow drought tolerant, higher yielding crops, requiring less chemicals and fertilisers.

“This has the potential to lower our input costs, while increasing production and enhancing environmentally friendly farming,” Martin said.
Discussing other pressing issues faced by WA pork producers, Martin said the shortage of available skilled and unskilled labour was one of the biggest challenges.

“WA pork producers, via their representative body, WAPPA, will continue to rigorously put positions and policies on critical issues such as water resource management and a 'whole of farm' approach to the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.

“We particularly emphasise the impact input costs will have on production, given that primary production won't, at this stage, be included in emissions trading until 2015.

“Australian Farm Institute modelling indicates increases in farm input costs as a result of the Emission Trading Scheme could reduce average farm cash margins in 2016 by between three and nine per cent, compared with a business as usual scenario,” he said.

WAPPA also continues to push Country of Origin Labelling (CoOL) compliance, in accordance with Food Standards Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) regulations.

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