26th Commonwealth Agricultural Conference

The Royal Agricultural Society of the Commonwealth has announced that its 26th Commonwealth Agricultural Conference (CAC) will be held at the Royal International Convention Centre (RICC) Brisbane Showgrounds, Australia from lunchtime 21st – lunchtime 24th October 2014.

faviconThe conference was officially launched by the RASC Board Chairman, The Rt. Hon Lord Vestey KCVO at the Royal Easter Show in Sydney, hosted by the Royal Agricultural Society of New South Wales (RASNSW).

This biennial conference is now the RASC’s key event and this is a return to its roots as its very first conference was also in Australia in 1963.  The full conference program will focus on best practice in agriculture and agricultural show management including the ongoing sustainability of royal agricultural shows with the third day of the Conference devoted entirely to the work and development of each of its 51 Member Societies based across 24 countries

Founded in 1957, by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT the RASC is the only organisation representing agriculture within the Commonwealth Secretariat and across the Commonwealth.   Today with HRH The Princess Royal as its President It promotes from its office in Edinburgh the development of Agricultural Societies as a means of improving agricultural production and farm incomes in these countries.

Representing the RASC at the launch were Hon. Secretary Michael Lambert, Hon. Treasurer Andrew Gilmour and Chairman Lord Vestey who commented, ““How pleased the Society was to be coming back to Australia yet again particularly because of the Conference in Darwin in 1998 and Albury in 2004. In addition, after the success of the Conference in Zambia in 2012 our President the Princess Royal is very much looking forward to joining us in Brisbane in 2014. One of the great successes of recent Conferences has been the growth of the next generation and I hope that as many NG’s as possible can be sponsored by Societies to be able to make the trip to Brisbane.”

Representing the RNA at the launch were President David Thomas, Senior VP Dan O’Connor and CEO Brendan Christou. Mr. Thomas said Brisbane and the RNA were honoured to have been selected as hosts and explained the significance of this important international event: “Australian agriculture contributes 12 per cent or $155 billion a year to the nation’s GDP with one in six Australians working in the agriculture, food or fibre industries. The 2014 Conference will explore strategies to highlight the valuable role that the agricultural sector plays and the realisation that everybody needs a farmer. Rapid urbanisation has reinforced the vital role that agricultural societies can play in bringing country and city together. Regional agricultural shows are an important way of keeping farming and primary industries front and centre; but to remain relevant and profitable, they must evolve and adapt to changing trends, otherwise they will become obsolete.”

Experts speakers will discuss a mix of primary production issues facing the diverse farming and agriculture industries of South-East Queensland and the challenges and opportunities for agricultural shows. Topics will include:

  • Australian primary production, innovation and practice
  • The importance of the sector to the overall economy particularly in relation to increasing urbanisation
  • Remaining relevant to a changing audience for example through using social media
  • The interaction between primary producers and the mining industry
  • Queensland’s objective to double food production by 2040
  • Rural health
  • Animal health

The stunning Brisbane Showgrounds couldn’t be a more suitable backdrop to the event as it is also the home of Queensland’s largest annual agricultural event the Royal Queensland Show. The main sessions will take place in the stunning conference centre which was updated as part of a recent $2.9 billion regeneration project of the Showgrounds. The building incorporates the former industrial pavilion dating from the 1930s and retains many of its original facades and features. The regeneration project was vital to preserving the site and its annual show and delegates will no doubt enjoy this lively cultural hub. In addition to the conference centre, the site includes a 20,000 seat Main Arena, large scale festival and amusement areas, stables and accommodation for large animals.

Following the formal meetings, an equally important part of the conference includes visits to farms, processors and research organisations to allow delegates to see at first hand not only the strengths of agriculture in the area but issues it has to face. The conference itinerary will provide delegates with an opportunity to visit Queensland’s rural and coastal agricultural industries visiting the cheese, nut, chocolate, coffee and wine regions of the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay Marine Park and unique agricultural environment of Far North Queensland.  Proposed stops on the tour include Gatton Agricultural College, the Stanbroke Pastoral Company and meatworks in Grantham, Grassdale Feedlot in Dalby,  the Kongaroy Peaneut Company, Kenilwoth Cheese Factory and Clovely Estate Winery.

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