The town of Narrabri lies in one of the richest agricultural regions in Australia.
The 13,000 square kilometer Narrabri Shire, in the heart of the Namoi Valley, is home to a divers range of agricultural enterprises. The fertile country north, west and south-east of Narrabri produces cotton, wheat , barley, oilseeds, and a variety of other crops, ranging from grapes to peanuts. Livestock production includes sheep, cattle and pigs.
The annual value of agricultural production is in excess of $330 million per year. This figure includes more than $200 million from cotton and about $60 million from wheat.
Irrigation farming, utilizing both surface water from the Namoi River (provided via a regulated flow from Keepit Dam) and groundwater, is a very important component of the Shir’s success. The success of the agricultural industries have resulted in the development of big storage and transport centres in the Shire.
The high volumes of agricultural commodities have led to the extablishement of big secondary processing industries such as the huge Cargill Oilseeds plant at Narrabri which processes about 250,000 tonnes of cottonseed each year.
The moder Canzac Pulse Processors Pty Ltd plant in Narrabri brings state of the art technology to the task of producing high quality pulse seeds for export. Other plants include seed grading, mixing and packaging operations.
The huge agricultural industries are in turn supported by a host of specialist supply, engineering, chemicals, and consulting firms.
Two world-rank research establishments are located in the Narrabri district; the I.A Watson Grains Research Centre (operated by the University of Sydney), and the big Australian Cotton Research Institute (ACRI) a shared venture between the CSIRO and the NSW Department of Agriculture.
Late 2005 saw the launch of the new Cotton Catchment Communities Cooperative Research Centre – based at ACRI. This new CRC will provide a multi-faceted approach to cotton industry research.
Narrabri is also home for the important Cotton Research and Development Corporation. The CRDC is a $15 million body funded by the Federal Government and industry to select and fund suitable research projects.
It was from humble beginnings in Narrabri that the Prime Wheat Growers’ Association was born. This local wheat grower organization went on to encompass wheat growers across NSW before acquiring GrainCorp which now operates grain handling and other businesses in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
Narrabri Shire’s growth and development is strongly tied to the success of its agricultural industries. Fortunately, district farmers are acutely aware of the need for the wise use of resources and sustainable farming methods. It is this knowledge and expertise which is driving the town and district forward to a bright, prosperous future.