'The town is buzzing': Ag Town gong is jewel in Kimba's crown

Proud leader: Kimba District Council Mayor Dean Johnson with the town's mural. Kimba has been named 2021 Ag Town of the Year. Picture: Supplied
Proud leader: Kimba District Council Mayor Dean Johnson with the town's mural. Kimba has been named 2021 Ag Town of the Year. Picture: Supplied

The town of Kimba is known for the Halfway Across Australia Sign and The Big Galah, and now it's also the Ag Town of the Year.

The farming community relies on tourism to keep its economy pumping and the Ag Town name will feature as a jewel in its crown.

Kimba District Council Mayor Dean Johnson said the town was "buzzing" about the win, which was announced at the Regional Showcase at the Adelaide Hills Convention Centre on National Ag Day.

"I'm proud of our people and their resilience, and also the new and innovative ways we've come up with to stay relevant," Mayor Johnson said.

"It's no surprise that rural SA has struggled over the past few years, we've had droughts and the pandemic and all kinds of challenges, but we're seeing the regions revitalising now, and Kimba has some really strong growth prospects in the future."

The region's Buckleboo Farm Improvement Group is showing some "really exciting" results from trials in partnership with the South Australian Research and Development Group to grow grains in low-rainfall areas.

"A lot of the existing research programs are in high-rainfall areas and aren't relevant to the Eyre Peninsula," said Mayor Johnson.

The town is also seeing top results from its Workshop26 creative corner, which has locals come together to run complementary microbusinesses.

Ag crown: District Council of Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson, CEO Deb Larwood and PA and Director of Governance Emily Maxwell accept the 2021 Ag Town of the Year award. Picture: Supplied

Ag crown: District Council of Kimba Mayor Dean Johnson, CEO Deb Larwood and PA and Director of Governance Emily Maxwell accept the 2021 Ag Town of the Year award. Picture: Supplied

"The old tractor warehouse has been turned into a vibrant new arts and culture precinct for microbusiness to flourish," Mayor Johnson said.

"There's so much going on that everyone wants to be a part of, and travellers coming through and taking a big interest.

"Tourism is massively important to Kimba and becoming more so. One of our challenges has been population decline, and we've not only stopped that but turned it around and started to see it grow again.

"Our free camping strategy is working a treat, people are coming and staying for a few days."

Kimba finished ahead of Booleroo Centre, Kapunda, Mypolonga and Orroroo to take the prize as the state's premier agriculture town.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development David Basham said he was "blown away" by the community spirit in Kimba and "the way the farming community works together for the betterment of the small town".

"Kimba has a rich agricultural history being at the forefront of South Australian dry land agriculture and it is a tradition that continues today. This is a town where the younger generation are the driving force behind so many initiatives and spurring on the rest of the community," Mr Basham said.

"A big factor in Kimba's success this year has been its emphasis on future readiness and innovation and I heartily congratulate all involved."

This story 'The town is buzzing': Ag Town gong is jewel in Kimba's crown first appeared on Port Lincoln Times.