Bob Mackley is a fourth generation farmer from the Wimmera region of Victoria. He farms 2000 acres on the west bank of the Wimmera River near Little Desert National Park.
In January 2011, floods washed genetically modified (GM) canola from the neighbour's paddocks onto Bob's property. He was not able to sell his canola from that land as GM-free anymore and had to change rotations and herbicide regimes and cover extra clean-up costs. There have been many cases like his in Australia and the farmers have discovered there is no legislation to protect farmers from GM contamination.
Bob has been District Council Chairman, Victorian Farmers Federation. Past President, Wimmera Conservation Farming Association, an organisation dedicated to preserving our soils, its productive capacity, our farmers and their communities.
Convener and co-negotiator of a locally based grain marketing group designed to empower local small farmers and give them the leverage to function in a market geared toward large farming enterprises.
Bob is working to re-establish native perennial grasses on his farm in Australia as part of the grazing/cropping system and exploring the agronomic and marketing potential of heritage varieties of wheat and oats.
Bob Mackley spoke at the Food Matters Aotearoa conference at Te Papa Wellington New Zealand February 14th 2015.