South East Premium Wheat Growers Association (SEPWA)
SEPWA is a farmer initiated group that was started in 1993 to represent wheat growers in the Esperance Port Zone.
The group was formed to address the perception that wheat from the south east was of inferior quality to that of wheat from other regions and hence they set about assisting growers in the region to produce premium quality grain to improve our market position.
SEPWA has moved on since this original aim but still strongly retains it as part of its major objectives and the group has since expanded into barley as well.
Today SEPWA's role is to improve profitability and sustainability of Esperance Port Zone grain growers.
SEPWA currently has an active membership of 200 farming entities which represents some of the most progressive growers in the region and makes SEPWA one of the largest grower groups within Western Australia.
SEPWA members receive a regular newsletter, e-news, an annual Trial Results booklet and also have privileged access to the SEPWA trial results through our webpage.
SEPWA also hosts many events throughout the year where members receive a discount.
SEPWA's activities / projects
SEPWA's activities include:
- playing a significant role in lobbying and representing grain growers in the Esperance Port Zone
- organising field days, grower trips, workshops and meetings that are relevant to the grower base
- communications - regular newsletters, e-news, media releases, trial results booklet, field day booklet, website
- conducting and facilitating research within the grains industry
- conducting wheat and barley variety trials throughout the region in order to determine the best suited varieties
- involvement in several funding projects that focus on sustainable farming
SEPWA is a non-profit grower group that is managed by a volunteer Executive Committee of 12 members from throughout the district, consisting of farmers and industry representatives.
The committee's role is to represent members and to make managerial decisions based around the group's strategic plan.
The committee meets regularly throughout the year to discuss any issues of concern or opportunities and they are responsible for the direction of the group.
Committee members serve a three-year term before positions are made available for re-election.
The group employs five staff members; Executive Officer, Trials & Projects Officer, Trials Coordinator, Media Officer and Bookkeeper.
SEPWA also has a good working relationship with the Esperance Department of Agriculture and Food WA (DAFWA) staff members.
In the past SEPWA was managed by volunteers on a limited budget, however since the group's inception they have gained a reputation as a reputable and successful group.
As a consequence, the role of the Executive became more demanding and as a result the group moved to employ the Group Development Officer in 2002, to help take SEPWA to a new level.
SEPWA had to embark on a major sponsorship drive to fund the position and the group's activities. Other funding sources include membership and the particular projects that staff are employed under.