Project Cane Changer Launches in Mossman

This Article was Originally Published in the Port Douglas and Mossman Gazette on October 9, 2017

A CANEGROWERS initiative, funded by the Queensland Government Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, is inviting sugarcane growers across Mossman to help ‘set the record straight’ about the sugarcane industry.

Project Cane Changer will officially launch in Mossman on the 31st of October and all growers are invited to attend the event.

Drew Watson, Mossman CANEGROWERS Chairman, says “we are excited to have the Cane Changer project in the district, we believe it is important to share our story and demonstrate the industry’s response to the challenges that it is currently facing.”

One of the most notable challenges the industry is currently faced with is its association with the Great Barrier Reef. Particularly the assessment that run-off from cane farms is adversely affecting the water quality running out into the Great Barrier Reef Lagoon. As a result, there is increasing pressure on the industry to document and demonstrate its response to this challenge.

Project Cane Changer is a grower led initiative in response to this challenge that seeks to work with growers to ‘set the record straight’ by demonstrating the industry’s positive response to farming practice change.

The logic behind the tagline of the project, ‘set the record straight’, is simple. Firstly, it is designed to build better public awareness of the positive steps the industry is routinely doing with respect to farming practices. Secondly, to demonstrate this positive response the project is calling on growers to enhance their written record keeping and participate in programs such as Smartcane BMP.

On the night, the project will partner with the Wet Tropics Sugar Industry Partnership (WTSIP), a collaboration of industry bodies, productivity boards, mills, sugar research, natural resource management and government agencies. Their Extension Officers are working with growers to develop nutrient management plans and will run a workshop benchmarking grower practices.

Daryl Parker, WTSIP’s Regional Extension Officer based in Mossman Agricultural Services, said, “This will give growers the opportunity to update records of their farming practices, helping with working towards BMP accreditation, as well as setting the record straight for reporting on their impacts on water quality. 

Project leader John Pickering says he is looking forward to the opportunity to work with growers and other partner organisations in Mossman.

“There is a strong history of collaboration and innovation in Mossman” he said, “we are excited by the opportunity to work with growers to tell their story and demonstrate the changes they are making on their land.”

Project Cane Changer has been live in the Wet Tropics for the last eight months with over 155 growers signed up to the project across Mossman, Innisfail, Tully and Cairns.

With your help, the story can be stronger.

Project Cane Changer will be officially launching on the 31st October. If you are a grower, this is your opportunity to find out more about the project, share your story and get involved. We want to hear from you about your experience of farming in Mossman.

For more details or to register head to or speak to your local CANEGROWERS office.