Lock the Gate’s Cassie McMahon was at Ag-Grow offering support to landholders isolated by the mining boom.
Lock the Gate’s Cassie McMahon was at Ag-Grow offering support to landholders isolated by the mining boom.

Protests, beasts, machines and mud

All the latest from a very muddy AgGrow 2012. 

Lock the Gate support 

UNDER a green Eureka flag symbolising unity and landholder rights, Ag-Grow attendees were offered information and support about a counter-movement spreading as fast as the coal and gas industries in Queensland.

Representatives from the Lock the Gate Alliance were on hand spreading their message to landholders feeling the pressure of mining encroachment.

"I have had landholders who cry when they find out they are not the only ones experiencing what they are experiencing," LTG's Cassie McMahon said.

"It's an opportunity for landholders feeling the pressure to find some support from people who are involved in our campaign and get some additional ideas and avenues that they can put into practice."

Cassie said landholders were often isolated and intimidated by resource companies, and uncomfortable at the idea of "standing up and sticking their neck out".

"If you have a community saying 'this is out of bounds, and we're not going to tolerate a coal or a gas company unless it's on our terms', it's a different game," she said.

"Towns are suffering. There's an accommodation crisis, lack of infrastructure, roads are dangerous and being destroyed, but we need to say, 'hang on, this hasn't all been thought through properly in a way that is actually going to be beneficial for everybody. Lock the Gate is not against coal and gas companies, what we are saying is that it needs to be done in a sustainable way. It needs to be done in a way where the community is happy for it to happen... and until the community gets to that point, lock the gate."

Cassie was joined by Bimblebox Nature Refuge co-owner Paola Cassoni, the subject of a critically-acclaimed documentary made from the front lines of Australia's battle against coal and gas expansion. She said the reception had been positive, with even miners approaching the stall to offer their support.

"I'm totally for the coal sector, but I am seeing it happen way too fast," one miner said as he purchased a Can't Eat Coal, Can't Drink Gas sticker. Cassie urged landholders to attend the Beyond Coal and Gas Forum at Hay Point on July 28-29.


Water vacuum cleaner exhibit comes in handy 

AS THE rain pelted down earlier this week, the Ag-Grow fields became particularly swamp-like, with thick mud and deep puddles deterring those not wearing knee-high gumboots.

But fortunately for Ag-Grow-goers, the Geo Radar team came to the rescue, sucking up the water covering the fields with their hydro-vacuum excavator.

Conveniently already on the site to exhibit their environmentally-friendly radar services, the Geo Radar group decided to do a community service and clear the water so the public could enjoy the show without the slushy mess.

Removing more than 30,000 gallons of water from the field grounds, the company was busy all week helping flooded stallholders.

Geo Radar's Larissa Payne said they sucked up the water for the goodwill and safety of the public.

"There was water everywhere - all in people's stalls and the public couldn't get access through some roads," Larissa said.

"The ground was literally completely underwater. We are so proud of our staff working tirelessly.

"The main thing was to help everybody out, you can't have people slipping over." 


Emu oil just the tonic for a variety of ailments 

STEPHEN and Sarah Schmidt are in the pain business.

Removing pain, that is, and judging by the number of people in their Emu Oil stall at Ag-Grow on Wednesday, there will be fewer knees cracking on cold mornings.

"We keep people out of pain with our heat rub and we have the fabulous emu oil capsules now," Sarah said.

"It's the oil from the emu that has very powerful results because of the balance of the omega fatty acids.

"We've had letters from people with diabetes, gout, acne, arthritis and ... chronic fatigue.

"It's something in the emu that seems to have this numbing effect."

From their emu farm at Marburg in south-east Queensland, the Schmidts run the successful mail order business and have been regular exhibitors at Ag-Grow for the past 16 years.

The secret to their success is customer testimonies, and they are not in short supply.

Sarah said one customer told her a young boy was given just a year to live due to brain cysts and chronic seizures.

"His parents didn't get any sleep and (the boy had) twitching and violent arm movements," she said.

"Within a few weeks of being on our oil, the arm movements turned into a slight twitch and before you know it, the doctors were gobsmacked.

"They couldn't believe what happened to him and they can't believe how healthy the boy is."

The Schmidts will be back at Ag-Grow next year, come rain, mud or winds. 



Exhibitors squeeze in after tent blows over 

THE mud was messy, the water was pooling and the wind was blowing - so hard in fact Delta Grain's tent was blown to the ground.

With their Ag-Grow exhibit shelter destroyed, Delta Grain squeezed into the Grain Growers display.

Samantha Noon from Delta Grain said although things didn't go to plan, the Emerald group had a successful run at Ag-Grow.

"Targeting grain producers, we are grain brokers so they come to us with what they want to sell and we find them the right price and offer them advice," Samantha said.

"We've got about 120 clients in the area already and we sell to over 35 different buyers."

With Delta Grain offering their services, new grains and even a fitness demonstration, it may have been hard to walk away if it wasn't for the smell of fresh baking bread coming from Grain Growers side of the tent.

Susan McDonnell from Grain Growers said the group was a member-owned not-for-profit organisation with 19,000 members across Australia.

"We are here promoting Grain Growers for life membership which is free during the ag show," Susan said.

"Grain Growers are more than just bread though, we aim towards a more productive and sustainable grains industry." 



Brisbane company enjoys coming back 

TOM Plunkett from Superior Equipment has been attending Emerald's Ag-Grow for 15 years and says it is the atmosphere of the show that keeps him coming back.

"We drive up every year from Brisbane because we normally have such a good show and a good local following," Tom said.

Selling a wide range including slashers, mowers and diggers, Tom didn't let the weather stop him from making the most of the show.

"We were washed out on the first day; numbers are a bit down because of the rain but it's still been a good run," he said.

"We've had some good prospects from Toowoomba, Roma, Arcadia Valley, Clermont and Rockhampton.

"We've got a really good following in Emerald because we deal with the orchards, the graziers and the contractors - so if one market is down, we seem to be able to pick up in others.

"We enjoy coming up and catching up with past customers - making sure our machines are going well and are worthwhile."

Due to other plans, Superior Equipment will not be at Ag-Grow today, but as expected, Tom will return. 

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