Tristan Baldock a finalist for 2018 Community Achievement Awards

Buckleboo farmer Tristan Baldock has been named a finalist for a statewide agricultural innovation award.

The Prime Super Agricultural Innovation Award is part of the SA Community Achievement Awards, an event held in November.

Mr. Baldock is extensively involved in grower advocacy at a local, state and national level and has an impressive list of groups he is involved with.

At a local level, he attracted attention for his work with the Buckleboo Farm Improvement Group, who last year ran a strategic tillage field day which was attended by 140 growers, agricultural professionals and researchers.

He is also involved with the Grains Research and Development Corporation and the national policy group for grower advocacy group Grain Growers Limited.

Mr. Baldock draws on his twelve year of experience as an agronomist, as well as his own experiences farming for the past six years.

He said his role within the organisations he is involved with is to “influence and direct the landscape around policy” using his first-hand experience and knowledge of the issues facing grain growers, especially on the Eyre Peninsula.

Earlier this year Mr. Baldock was also involved in a “diplomatic mission” to Argentina and Uruguay to meet and discuss with grain growers in South America.

He said the aim of the trip was to build relationships between Australian and South American farmers to assist one another through similar issues.

“We in the Southern Hemisphere need to work together to achieve collective goals and outcomes,” he said.

The countries Mr. Baldock visited have historically had agricultural policy that has been “hostile” to grain growers, and he said Argentina specifically is looking to Australian policy for guidance.

As a country with limited natural resources, he said Australia has needed to develop strong policy to keep afloat.

As poor weather conditions cause major problems across the country, Mr. Baldock said there is more to do on improving policy response to drought, and that current policy relies too strongly on reactive rather than proactive measures.

“Drought policy needs to be focuses on preparedness more than emergency response,” he said.

“We’re not doing enough when times are good.”

He said his focus within grower advocacy is to see more infrastructure developed to store fodder and grain before hard times hit, and to improve support services to combat mental health issues in remote areas.

Mr. Baldock was nominated by Ungarra farmer Karen Baines, who herself is a finalist for the Rural Health Award.

He said it was “humbling” to be recognised by his peers for the work he does.

“I do it to make sure our industry is as strong as it can be,” he said.