Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting, 2021

21 January, 2021

Word Count: 467

Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting, 2021

Riverine Plains will host the annual Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting on Thursday 4 February, 2021. This long-standing community event continues the tradition started by the late John Sykes and is an opportunity for grain and mixed farmers to discuss the 2020 season as well as the key issues likely to arise in 2021.

Riverine Plains CEO, Catherine Marriott said the group was especially excited to be able to host this event given the impacts of COVID over the past 12 months.

“Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting has a reputation for being a great way to start the season, with the debrief, planning sessions and presentations all helping to focus us on the season ahead” she said.

“It will also provide one of the first opportunities for grain farmers on both sides of the border to come together as a group to discuss production issues, and catch up with each other, since COVID restrictions began” added Catherine.

Timely rains and good growing conditions during 2020 helped most Riverine Plains region farmers achieve their target yields and Chris Minehan (Rural Management Strategies) will unpick the season with a facilitated harvest debrief, followed by a planning session to help identify potential issues for 2021.

Unlocking yield potential in seasons such as 2020 (or any year), requires an understanding of the constraints and agronomic practices needed in the system. To help address this, Nick Poole (FAR Australia) will speak on wheat results from the Hyper Yielding Crops project, with Rohan Brill (BrillAg) also speaking on how to capitalise on canola in good seasons, using lessons from the 2020 Hyper Yielding Crops research project.

Dr Cassandra Schefe (AgriSci) will also speak on stubbles, soils and farming systems, while Ed Nixon (IK Caldwell) and Beau Longmire will provide a local update and a farmer’s perspective on delving. The program will conclude with an agronomic panel discussion with Rob Harrod (Elders), Mark Harris (Rural Management Strategies) and Rosie Dye (IK Caldwell).

Sykesy’s Buraja Meeting will be held on Thursday 4 February, 2021 at the Buraja Recreational Ground Hall, from 8:30am – 12:50pm, followed by a complimentary BBQ lunch. Due to COVID regulations, capacity is limited and RSVP’s are compulsory, with places allocated on a first-in basis. Please email Fiona at info@riverineplains.org.au to RSVP.

For more information please visit the Riverine Plains Inc website at riverineplains.org.au or contact Riverine Plains, on (03) 5744 1713.

“Following on from a really positive 2020 season, Riverine Plains is very much looking forward to the local farming community joining us for Sykesy’s Buraja Day and to sharing the learnings from 2020” concluded Catherine.

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

 

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More Information or Interview:

Catherine Marriott, Chief Executive Officer, Riverine Plains (03 5744 1713)

NEW FIRE ALERT SYSTEM TO REDUCE RISK OF HARVESTING FIRES

9 November, 2020

Word Count: 464

NEW FIRE ALERT SYSTEM TO REDUCE RISK OF HARVESTING FIRES

In a first for the region’s grain growers, farming systems group Riverine Plains has launched a new text messaging service for members, alerting them to when conditions become dangerous for harvesting.

Riverine Plains Chair and Howlong farmer, Ian Trevethan, said the text service has been designed to update farmers on local weather conditions in real time, with an SMS alert sent to farmers when weather conditions become dangerous for harvesting.

“As farmers, we can get so focussed in the day-to-day running of harvest that we can easily become disconnected to the changing weather outside our air-conditioned cabins – getting a text message alert to changing weather conditions in real-time may help reduce the risk of a harvester-fire starting in dangerous conditions” he said.

The alert system was developed by Riverine Plains, in conjunction with IK Caldwell, and is based on the Grass Fire Index (GFI) system used by fire authorities and utilises the Riverine Plains Inc network of weather stations located across south eastern NSW and north east Victoria.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Corteva AgriScience, Riverine Plains members are able to access the new SMS service for free in time for the 2020 harvest.

Dan Dixon, Corteva Agriscience’s Marketing Director for Australia and New Zealand, said that Corteva Agriscience was proud to support the alert service, which would help minimise the risk of a fire starting through on-farm activities.

“Many of our farmer customers are active members of their volunteer local fire brigades and we are pleased to be involved in this project which will help protect the lives and properties of growers, their families and the wider community this summer” said Dan.

Riverine Plains weather stations linked to the new SMS Harvest Fire Index Alert include; Barooga, Berrigan, Culcairn, Henty, Howlong, Lockhart, Pleasant Hills and Rand in NSW, as well as Bungeet, Miepoll, Rutherglen, Telford and Yabba South in Victoria. The Riverine Plains network of weather stations and soil moisture probes can be accessed at www.riverineplains.org.au.

“Harvesting conditions can deteriorate quite quickly and the text service is designed to help farmers be more aware of the conditions which would quickly see a fire get out of control, should one start, even with protective measures in place” said Ian.

“That said, pulling up harvest is always the right course of action if you feel it is potentially dangerous to keep harvesting, with or without, an alert” he added.

For further information, please visit the Riverine Plains website www.riverineplains.org.au or contact the Riverine Plains Office on 03 5744 1713.

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

….ends……………… More Information or Interview: Fiona Hart, Executive Officer, Riverine Plains Inc on 03 5744 1713.

Catherine Marriott appointed as inaugural Riverine Plains CEO

Date: 2 November, 2020

Word Count: 417

Riverine Plains appoints inaugural Chief Executive Officer

Catherine Marriott has been appointed as the inaugural Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of farming systems group, Riverine Plains.

Riverine Plains Chair, Ian Trevethan, said that in the 21 years since Riverine Plains was first formed, the organisation had become a leader in farmer-driven research and extension and that the decision to appoint a CEO was the next logical step in the group’s growth.

“We are very pleased to appoint Catherine to this new role as she brings a wealth of experience, leadership and engagement skills that will provide a dynamic fresh perspective to the organisation” he said.

“Importantly, Catherine’s values align with the culture of Riverine Plains and her enthusiasm and passion for agriculture is contagious. We are very much looking forward to her leading the organisation, and our existing team, into the future and delivering practical, innovative solutions to help farmers build profitable businesses” he added.

Over the last 15 years, Catherine has worked in management, strategic and leadership roles in the agricultural, research and regional development sectors, both in Australia and overseas. She is also UNE’s 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program and was the 2012 WA Rural Women of the Year.

Catherine also brings extensive networks and experience in building and maintaining relationships across the public and private sectors. Her appointment will help grow the organisation and bolster the group’s ability to attract practical and relevant research for farmers in the Riverine Plains region.

On accepting the role, Catherine said that there has never been a brighter time to be in agriculture.

“To have an opportunity to work with a member based, applied research organisation across two states is something I’m going to grab with both hands” she said.

“I’m also thrilled to be continuing the great work that Riverine Plains has done in bringing relevant research to the region and I look forward to developing the long-standing partnerships between Riverine Plains and its members and sponsors, as well as industry bodies and research organisations to ensure the region continues to lead in grains and mixed farming research and innovation” she added.

Catherine will commence as Riverine Plains CEO on 30 November, 2020 and can be contacted at the Riverine Plains office on 03 5744 1713.

Riverine Plains is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

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More Information or Interview: Ian Trevethan, Riverine Plains on 03 5744 1713.

Cover & Intercropping Virtual Field Day, 8 September

1 September, 2020

Word Count: 419

Cover Cropping/Intercropping field day goes virtual

Riverine Plains is hosting a virtual field day for grain growers looking to learn more about increasing crop diversity in their farming systems on Tuesday 8 September, 2020.

Riverine Plains Project Officer, Jane McInnes, explained that increasing the diversity of crop rotations can have positive benefits on soil health compared to monocultures, or where break crops are used minimally.

“In this region, we tend to rely fairly heavily on the canola – cereal rotation, with legumes often used sparingly, or not at all” said Jane.

“Summer cover cropping, green or brown manuring, intercropping and companion cropping can all provide opportunities to increase species diversity by introducing legumes or other crop species at different points in the rotation” she said.

To look at this in more detail, a long-term trial site has been established by Riverine Plains Inc at Burramine in Victoria to examine how more diverse rotations can impact soil function and winter crop yields, as well as profitability. The trial is supported by the Cooperative Research Centre for High Performance Soils (Soil CRC) and led by Southern Cross University, with support from the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority’s ‘From the Ground Up’ program, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

An in-person field day was originally planned to show growers and advisors the work being done at the site, but COVID has meant that this has been moved online, with the virtual field day to be held via Zoom on Tuesday 8 September, 2020 (9:00-9:30am).

The virtual field day aims to introduce growers to the benefits of increasing diversity in their systems and will also feature a virtual tour of the site. Speakers include Nathan Lawless (trial host), Terry Rose (Southern Cross University) Dr Cassandra Schefe (AgriSci) and Jane McInnes (Riverine Plains). Brendan Christy (Agriculture Victoria) will also speak on the GRDC and Agriculture Victoria  Intercropping to exploit rainfall for profit trial also sown at the site.

“With good rainfall to date, the trial site is currently looking fantastic and there’s lots to see, so we’d love for growers to grab a coffee and join us for this session” concluded Jane.

For more information, or to register, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au or contact Riverine Plains Inc Project Officer Jane McInnes on 03 5744 1713 or email jane@riverineplains.org.au.

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

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More Information or Interview:

Jane McInnes, Riverine Plains Inc (03 5744 1713)

GRDC Hyper Yielding Crop focus-farm trials for the Riverine Plains

24 August, 2020

Word Count: 477

 GRDC Hyper Yielding Crop focus-farm trials for the Riverine Plains

A new, four-year project is set to examine the yield potential of different varieties grown under various agronomic packages as part of a Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) investment into hyper-yielding cereal crops.

Following on from the success of Hyper Yielding Cereals (HYC) project in Tasmania, the Hyper Yielding Crops project has recently commenced on a national scale, with GRDC Centre of Excellence trial sites established in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, NSW, and Western Australia.

Riverine Plains Inc Project Officer, Kate Coffey, explained that a Centre of Excellence has been established at Wallendbeen (near Cootamundra), NSW, with the research site chosen because it had a water-limited yield potential of 10 t/ha for cereals and 5 t/ha for canola.

“Riverine Plains Inc has also worked alongside lead organization, FAR Australia, to establish three focus farm sites in southern NSW in support of the Wallendbeen Centre, with a canola site established at Gerogery and wheat sites established at Culcairn and Howlong” she said.

Grower involvement is a major focus of the project, and Riverine Plains Innovation Groups are being established to link local growers with the focus farm paddock trials at Gerogery, Culcairn and Howlong.

The 2020 focus-farm paddock trials will look at nitrogen and fungicides, while future focus-farm paddock trials will be based on ideas arising from the local Innovation Groups, as well as from growers visiting the Centre of Excellence.

“We are hoping to conduct small-group discussion field days at the farm paddock trial sites during September, 2020, however this will depend on COVID-19 restrictions during spring” said Kate.

Riverine Plains Inc are also seeking ten paddocks from across the region to be nominated for the 2020 Hyper Yielding Crop Awards. The Award will benchmark agronomic aspects of individual wheat crops, with participating growers to receive an agronomic benchmarking report comparing that paddock to all others entered, both regionally and nationally.

The project combines the expertise of several farming groups, including Riverine Plains Inc, with FAR Australia, SARDI, Brill Ag, CSIRO, DPIRD, TechCrop and CeRDI.

“This project will ultimately provide an opportunity to unlock yield potentials by providing a greater understanding of the possible constraints and the agronomic practices required to achieve potential yields in a given season” concluded Kate.

Riverine Plains Inc are currently taking expressions of interest from growers interested in joining the Innovation Group, as well as from those farmers interested in being involved in the Hyper Yielding Crop Awards.

For further information, please visit the Riverine Plains Inc website at riverineplains.org.au or contact Riverine Plains Inc Project Officer Kate Coffey on 03 5744 1713 or email kate@riverineplains.org.au.

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

 

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More Information or Interview:

Kate Coffey, Riverine Plains Inc (03 5744 1713)

John Hanrahan Scholarship: Applications now open

13 July, 2020

Word Count: 258

John Hanrahan Scholarship for agriculture students – applications now open

Riverine Plains Inc is pleased to announce that applications for the 2021 John Hanrahan Scholarship are now open.

The John Hanrahan Scholarship recognises and encourages agricultural excellence in the Riverine Plains region through the support of a local second year student in their agriculture/agribusiness degree or diploma studies.

The John Hanrahan Scholarship is named in honour of the late John Hanrahan, a successful and experienced farmer from Coreen, who had a passion for agriculture, a thirst for knowledge and real sense of community.

The Scholarship, which is awarded annually, includes a bursary of $5,000, access to work experience opportunities with Riverine Plains Inc or through our networks, opportunities to network and gain knowledge with free access to all Riverine Plains events and mentoring from one of our current committee members.

The John Hanrahan Scholarship is open to current first year Agriculture or Agribusiness degree or diploma students, who will be entering their second year of studies in 2021.

Students aged between 18 and 30 from the Riverine Plains region of north eastern Victoria and the southern Riverina region of NSW are eligible to apply.

Applications for the John Hanrahan Scholarship will close on 30 September, 2020, with further details available at www.riverineplains.org.au.

The John Hanrahan Scholarship is being administered through the Riverine Plains Scholarship Fund.

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

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More Information or Interview:

Fiona Hart, Executive Officer, Riverine Plains Inc on 03 5744 1713.

 

Inaugural UNCLE TOBYS Scholarship: Applications now open

13 July, 2020

Word Count: 355

UNCLE TOBYS Scholarship for agriculture students: Applications now open

Local agriculture tertiary students working towards a degree or diploma in agriculture or agribusiness are invited to apply for the inaugural UNCLE TOBYS Scholarship, which is being administered by farming system group, Riverine Plains Inc, through the Riverine Plains Scholarship Fund.

Riverine Plains Inc Treasurer and Scholarship Fund Trustee, Mr Barry Membrey, said that it was exciting to be able to offer this scholarship this year and that it was great to see a corporate such as UNCLE TOBYS encouraging young students to take up careers in agriculture.

The Scholarship recognises and encourages agricultural excellence in the Riverine Plains region by supporting a local second year student in their studies.

The Scholarship will provide:

  • A bursary of $5,000 for a student commencing second year study in 2021
  • Access to work placement opportunities with Nestlé, the home of UNCLE TOBYS
  • Opportunities to network and gain knowledge, with free access to all Riverine Plains Inc events.
  • Personal mentoring from Nestlé staff from the UNCLE TOBYS factory

Nestlé Wahgunyah factory manager, Glenn Elske said that the team are delighted to be able to support future leaders of the agricultural industry.

“Supporting leaders in agriculture, especially those in the local region, is crucial to the success of the food industry. We know that agriculture continues to change – with advances in technology, greater focus on sustainability, and even changes to supply chains – and first-hand, local industry experience to learn about these challenges and changes will be invaluable.”

The UNCLE TOBYS Scholarship is open to current first year agriculture or agribusiness degree or diploma students, who will enter their second year of studies in 2021.

Students aged between 18 and 30 from the Riverine Plains region of north eastern Victoria and the southern Riverina region of NSW are eligible to apply.

Applications for the UNCLE TOBYS Scholarship close on 30 September 2020, with details available from www.riverineplains.org.au.

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

 

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More Information or Interview:

Fiona Hart, Executive Officer, Riverine Plains Inc on 03 5744 1713.

2020 John Hanrahan Scholarship recipients announced

9 April, 2020

Word Count: 570

2020 John Hanrahan Scholarship awarded to two outstanding local recipients

Riverine Plains Inc, together with the Hanrahan family, are pleased to announce that the 2020 John Hanrahan Scholarship recipients are Sophie Hanna from Walwa, Victoria and Lachlan Quibell from Marungi, Victoria.

Both recipients are currently undertaking their second year of Bachelor of Agriculture studies at the University of Melbourne.

Riverine Plains Inc Treasurer and Scholarship Fund Trustee, Mr Barry Membrey, explained that in awarding two recipients for 2020, the John Hanrahan Scholarship Fund was doing its part to support agriculture in the region now and into the future.

“The John Hanrahan Scholarship is named in honour of the late John Hanrahan, a successful farmer from Coreen who had a passion for agriculture, a thirst for knowledge and real sense of community” explained Barry.

“Both Sophie and Lachlan possess these same characteristics and we can see this in the way they approach their respective educational, sporting and cultural interests” he said.

Throughout the application process, both recipients have shown themselves to be articulate, thoughtful and driven people with strong leadership skills.

“Both are also very committed to the future of agriculture and recognise the need for agricultural production to service a growing population, whilst also considering the resource and environmental challenges facing the industry” said Barry.

Sophie Hanna is a passionate contributor to her family’s beef cattle business at Walwa and hopes to become an agronomist while continuing her involvement on the farm. Sophie is also interested in plant genetic research and hopes to advance crop and pasture varieties for farming systems.

Lachlan Quibell is interested in plant production, especially broadacre crop and perennial horticulture systems. He is also passionate about engaging with the wider community about agriculture and wants to be part of a new generation tackling production issues while also focussing on factors such as greenhouse gas emissions, farm feasibility and sustainability.

Sophie said the bursary would provide extra time, enabling her to broaden her knowledge and seek practical agricultural experience.

Lachlan expressed a similar sentiment, saying that the Scholarship will better allow him to take full advantage of the University learning experience.

As the 2020 recipients of the John Hanrahan Scholarship, both Sophie and Lachlan receive a bursary of $5,000.

Both students are also looking forward to accessing the work experience, mentoring and educational opportunities that form part of the scholarship.

Riverine Plains Inc would like to thank the Hanrahan family for the generous donation that led to the establishment of the Scholarship, as well as all those who have made financial or in-kind donations to the Scholarship Fund over the past few years.

“The calibre of applications for the 2020 Scholarship was extremely high and we would like to commend all applicants and wish them well with their studies” added Barry.

Applications for the 2021 round of the John Hanrahan Scholarship will open in July 2020. Further details will be available from www.riverineplains.org.au closer to this date.

The Riverine Plains Scholarship Fund has been recognised by the Australian Taxation Office to provide Deductible Gift Recipient status.  For information on how to make a donation to the Scholarship Fund please contact the Riverine Plains Inc office on 03 5744 1713 or email info@riverineplains.org.au.

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

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More Information or Interview:

Fiona Hart, Executive Officer, Riverine Plains Inc on 03 5744 1713.

Business Skills Workshops for Young Farmers – March 2020

4 March, 2020

Word Count: 440

Business Skills Workshops for Young Farmers

Riverine Plains Inc will host two farm business skills workshops for young NSW farmers, aged 18-40, during March, 2020.

Riverine Plains Project and Finance Officer, Kate Coffey, explained that the workshops are part of a series of events aiming to improve the access of young farmers to better business and agronomic information in the Riverine Plains region.

The program has been developed in partnership with Anna Dye, who farms with her family at Corowa as well as working as a bookkeeper.

“In many family farming partnerships the younger generation are taking on greater roles within the farming business, although they may not have as much practical experience in the financial management side of things” said Kate.

“Financial literacy is a really important part of successful farm businesses, so these workshops will help participants better understand what goes into preparing the key financial documents of a business, as well as legislation and regulation requirements” she said.

The workshops will cover farm business principles including paddock records and understanding financial statements, as well as how financial management can be made more efficient.

“Having good records is essential to understanding individual farm businesses and helps farmers develop effective plans to improve their profitability, so the workshops will also involve a run-through of different software options for recording financial and agronomic information” she added.

The first workshop will be held from 1-5pm on Thursday March 19 at the Riverine Plains Inc Office, Melbourne St, Mulwala, while the second workshop will be held from 10:30am-4:30pm on Thursday March 26, 2020 at the Balldale Recreation Reserve. Registrations are essential by Monday 16 March, 2020.

This event is free and farmers aged 18-40 who are farming in NSW are invited to attend. No experience in financial management is required.

A bus tour is also being planned to show participants how a number of agricultural businesses have implemented business plans and strategies, as well as what drives the underlying profitability and risk of these enterprises.

“The needs of young farmers are very different to those of older, more experienced farmers and this workshop will help participants improve their financial skills to be better business managers” Kate concluded.

The program of events is supported by NSW Department of Primary Industries through the Young Farmer Business Program.

For more information on how to be involved, please visit riverineplains.org.au or contact Kate Coffey on (03) 5744 1713 or email kate@riverineplains.org.au.

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au.

 

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More Information or Interview:

Kate Coffey, Finance and Project Officer, Riverine Plains (03 5744 1713)

 Transforming Regions Development Program – EOI’s open until 3 March for farming and regional businesses in the Federation Council

24 February, 2020

Word Count: 363

Transforming Regions Development Program – EOI’s open until 3 March for farming and regional businesses in the Federation Council

Following a successful information evening held on 16 February, 2020, the Transforming Regions Development Program will commence at Oaklands on Friday 6 March, 2020.

Interested participants who weren’t able to attend the initial information evening are invited to register their interest by Tuesday 3 March, 2020.

The seven-part program, which will run during March and April, is designed to assist people employed in farming or regional businesses within the Federation Council of NSW area achieve long-term profitability and sustainability.

The Transforming Regions Development Program will focus on the mindset and skills required in business and will be delivered via seven work modules, which will be supported by podcasts, webinars and monthly resources.

Coaching, mentoring and support will also be provided to help participants acquire practical skills that can be applied to both personal life and business.

The program is funded by the Australian Government’s Drought Communities Program, in conjunction with Federation Council, and is being delivered by Riverine Plains Inc through Lessons Learnt Consulting. Subject matter experts will also assist in the delivery of each of the seven program modules.

The core modules will cover; understanding individual and shared values and strengths and their application to your personal life and business, positioning your business to thrive, shaping your future, managing finances, managing relationships and managing change, as well as operational planning processes and management mechanisms.

Depending on the needs of participants, a number of additional modules may also be covered including succession planning, environmental change, working with financial institutions, managing the introduction of new people into the business and beyond farming.

To register your interest, please contact Dennis Hoiberg at Lessons Learnt Consulting on phone 1300 365 119 or email dennis.hoiberg@lessonslearntconsulting.com. Expressions of interest close Tuesday 3 March, 2020.

For more information about the program, please visit the Riverine Plains Inc website at riverineplains.org.au or phone Dennis Hoiberg on 1300 365 119.

Riverine Plains Inc is an independent farming systems group specialising in farmer driven research and extension across north-east Victoria and southern New South Wales. For more information, or to become a member, please visit www.riverineplains.org.au

 

….ends………………

More Information or Interview:

Fiona Hart, Executive Officer, Riverine Plains Inc (03 5744 1713)