Facilitators Share Good and Not so Sweet Ideas
This article was originally published in the Innisfail Advocate on 5 December 2017.
INNISFAIL Smartcane Best Management Practice (BMP) facilitator Debra Telford recently attended a two-day forum in Brisbane to share ideas and experiences for improving the delivery and value of Smartcane BMP across Queensland.
Ms Telford said she believed the forum was an important opportunity to connect with other facilitators from around the state.
"Each district is unique but sharing your experiences gives you the chance to see what has worked, what hasn't and what you can take back and implement in your district," she said.
"Our role as facilitators is to support growers through the accreditation process so that they can get the most out of their farming operation as well as demonstrate they are looking after the environment."
With more than 20 years experience in the sugarcane industry, Ms Telford has a wealth of experience in many facets of the industry. She started at the Bureau of Sugar Experiment Stations and worked as an extension officer until 2002.
She then went on to become director of the Innifail Babinda Cane Productivity Services until she started working with CANEGROWERS Innisfail in 2008.
In each cane growing district, a dedicated Smartcane BMP facilitator works with growers from the beginning of the process until the end when they achieve accreditation in the program.
In her role as local facilitator, Ms Telford has helped more than 40 per cent of the Innisfail sugarcane farming area achieve Smartcane BMP Accreditation.
"Most growers are already doing the right things and by assisting growers through the BMP process, we can help them demonstrate this to the wider community," she said.
Program manager Mick Quirk said he believed the Brisbane forum would lead to better outcomes for growers and for the sugarcane industry.
"Smartcane BMP is integral to the future of the industry to show that growers are using recommended practices, to reduce the risk of increasing regulations and to meet the growing need from markets for sustainable sugar," he said.
"Sharing ideas and experiences inspires and motivates the facilitators to make Smartcane BMP even more practical and useful for growers."