By Growcom CEO Stephen Barnard

For over a decade, Growcom has been working with growers living on the doorstep of the Great Barrier Reef to make changes to the way they farm to stop soil, pesticides, and nutrients impacting on Reef water quality. 

Through Hort360, the best management practice program for horticulture, Growcom has brought the industry together to record these practice changes showing how individual farms are attaining best management practice and what they need to exceed industry standards. 

In August last year we launched our Hort360 Reef Certification, a key component of Growcom’s Hort360 Great Barrier Reef Best Management Practice program. 

Through voluntary uptake of Hort360 Reef Certification, industry is demonstrating to the government it is meeting best practice standards, potentially avoiding the need for regulated minimum standards in horticulture under the Queensland Government’s Reef Regulations. 

Since it’s commencement grower participation in the program has ramped up with a growing number of horticulture producers across the Great Barrier Reef catchment achieving certification. 

Whilst some growers see the reason for becoming certified as being proactive in regard to the introduction of the Reef Protection Regulations, others consider the program an opportunity to give their farming practices a health checkup.  

Commencing next week, the Queensland Government will be holding information sessions to assist primary producers learn about new requirements for expanding cropping and horticulture that commence 1 June. I encourage all growers to consider attending one of these information sessions to ask questions about the new regulations and get further clarification on how the new rules can be implemented.  

Growcom is committed to assisting the industry demonstrate its stewardship for the Great Barrier Reef wetland, coastal and marine ecosystems. To find out more about our Hort360 Reef Certification program contact your local Hort360 Facilitator today: 

  • Michelle Haase (Southern GBR) 0428 586 890  
  • Eilis Walker (Central GBR) 0477 411 464  
  • Lindsay Allen (Northern GBR) 0477 588 677 

Growcom’s Hort360 Great Barrier Reef Best Management Practice program is one of a number of programs currently underway promoting sustainable land management practices. In operation since 2015, Hort360 South East Queensland has also been assisting growers in the Lockyer, Bremer and Pumicestone catchments address sediment, nutrient, herbicide and pesticides entering these local waterways.