Change is in the Cane

This Article was Originally Published in the Cassowary Coast Independent on August 24, 2017

Harvest season is in full swing and it is the busiest time of year for many sugarcane growers around the district. However, that did not stop over 20 growers in Tully from attending a workshop to learn about the latest innovations in sugarcane varieties and take the time to commit to a project aimed at protecting their land and the Great Barrier Reef.

As part of the workshops growers were invited to sign up to Project Cane Changer. Cane Changer is a CANEGROWERS initiative that works with growers to recognise, value and accelerate their efforts to adopt farming practices that help protect the land, and subsequently, the Reef.

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The project asks growers to write down the new practices they have adopted on their farms, and commit to best management farming practices, such as Smartcane BMP, into the future.

Peter Jackson is a Tully sugarcane grower who hosted the workshops at his farm. As part of his involvement in the project he completed the Smartcane BMP benchmarking process last Thursday at the workshops.

 “We’ve got to get on-board with Smartcane BMP and make sure the right story is being told.” Peter said, “Growers have been making sustainable changes on farm for decades and BMP is the best way to demonstrate this and get the story straight.”

The Smartcane BMP accreditation program was developed by the sugar industry and endorsed by government to ensure sugarcane farming practices were sustainable, leading to better heath for the Great Barrier Reef, while maintaining productivity and profitability on the farm.

Project Cane Changer is working with growers to better understand what is happening on their farms and documenting the measures farmers are taking to improve their farming systems.

For many growers, it is about setting the record straight. It’s about better telling the growers’ story. It’s about showing how the cane industry responds to challenges.

The project team would like to invite all growers across the districts to be part of the project and set the record straight. If you would like to get involved please head to canechanger.com to find out more or contact your local CANEGROWERS office.