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Issue 10, June/July 2012

Olive oil fight is on


Goat meat is in vogue Herb and spice industry future mapped Tea-tree oil versus cancer

Visit our website && Get the latest news on NRIA. && Learn all about the new rural industries. && Access links to industry associations and organisations. && Read profiles of producers. && Access to articles on subjects common to all involved in new rural industries. && Access to conference presentations and papers. && Join NRIA as a subscriber or member.

Once upon a time a land was built on the sheep’s back... now Australian agribusiness is big business

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passion to







The magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 1 October 2010

2012 is Australian Year of the Farmer You can help us tell the exciting story of modern Australian agriculture

NRIA Conference and Expo 2010

ISSN 1838-6016

Producing a product successfully Tax and Primary Production Collective Marketing – what are the choices?

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The magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 4 June/July 2011

Global “Worming” Irrigation practices & systems Agritourism: Connecting communities

Join the celebration at:

Inside 26

A word from the Editor




Our services on the web


Subscription and Membership


Opinion: Is there a future for horticulture in Australia?


Rural Women


Industry Close-up : Future directions mapped for Herb and Spice Industry




Global food security present vast opportunities


What are the implications of a carbon price for agriculture?


Why many new industries don’t grow up


What’s the story of Australian food on the international stage?


New industries strut their stuff


Goat meat is in vogue


Cancer Council research grant on tea-tree oil


Olive oil – the fight is on


Where are your cut-flowers from


Goulburn Valley launches food hub co-operative


A first for alpaca sales


7 out of 10 believe agriculture contributes to Australia’s identity





Vanessa and Clem Cox of Australian Gourmet Hazelnuts



Sharan West of Australian Pumpkin Seed Company



Richard Patton of Red Dragon Inn



Tips for making a successful loan application


Rural enterprise offers new opportunities for city escapees


Growing the grunt: developing green biofuels for Australia




Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 20123

A word from the editor Thank you all for the positive feedback on our recent special edition of Passion to Profit magazine, and on our conference in Ballarat in mid-April.

It is very simple – simply send the link ( passiontoprofit) through to anyone by email, and ask them to subscribe for free.

There has been very positive and favourable feedback to our recent special edition of Passion to Profit. The general consensus is that we are providing a magazine in a format that is userfriendly, easy to read and contains much information of interest. Thank you all. Since our Ballarat conference in mid-April, and our attendance at the Victorian Regional Living Expo in late April, our subscribers to the magazine have continued to climb, as well as our followers on Twitter. To now lift the bar higher, we are now, without changing a successful model, going to endeavour to add more compelling and thought-provoking content. We want to really try and get some conversations going on key topics that relate to rural Australia – large broad issues that impact all.

The best promotion that exists is word of mouth. Lana Mitchell Editor

Passion to Profit

the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia ISSN 1838-6008

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia, is published online every two months, free of charge. It is sent directly to subscribers and members of New Rural Industries Australia as well as to new rural industry peak bodies and allied industries. Subscription

I am willing to dedicate a part of the magazine as a platform where you can communicate strongly on issues you feel are good, bad, ugly or otherwise. Whether it is on your own business, industry, government or broader afield, our doors are open as a platform to lobby or simply make a point. Write to me and let’s get the conversation going.

and Membership to NRIA available at All rights reserved. New Rural Industries Australia Level 27, 101 Collins Street, Melbourne Victoria 3000, Australia. Advertising: For advertising rate card contact and all ad bookings, email Editor: Lana Mitchell.

And on a similar line – we also want to extend our reach into rural Australia. We have had over 110,000 page views since last July – but I won’t be satisfied till this is up around the 1 million range. When that is achieved, then we will really be getting collaboration occurring across rural Australia – the sharing of knowledge and the networking of enterprise.

Editorial Contributions are welcome and should be emailed to the editor. Designer: Cheryl Zwart of Orphix Publisher: New Rural Industries Australia Advertising: ISSN 18380-6016 (On-line) Copyright: No material published in Passion to Profit may be reproduced in whole or in part without the written permission of the New Rural Industries Australia.

Do you know someone else that would be interested in reading Passion to Profit magazine? Do you have family, friends, or business contacts who you could forward the magazine to?

Alpacas in winter, on the Southern Tablelands of NSW. Photo courtesy of Get Communicating Pty Ltd


The biggest complaint I have had since we started this magazine, now 2 years ago, has been “How come I did not know this existed? I would have been subscribed and been reading this from the beginning if I had know your magazine was there!” So help us to get the word out please.

We very much welcome your views – whether by letter to our postal address, to my email address (below) or direct on Twitter. Key topics such as education in horticulture and agriculture for future generations; working out how mining/energy/agricultural industries can work together; diversification and adapting to change; re-discovering the Extension in R, D& E or any other topic that gets you going.

COVER Photo:

If you are part of an industry association or organization, please take the opportunity to send the link ( au/passiontoprofit) to all of your members, subscribers and contacts, telling them to simply follow the link and subscribe for free so that they get the magazine every 8 weeks.

Disclaimer: The publisher reserves the right to refuse any application considered inappropriate. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any form whatsoever without the written permission of New Rural Industries Australia. Whilst every care is taken to ensure the accuracy of the information contained within the magazine, the publisher, printer and their agents cannot accept responsibility for error or omission. Views held by contributors are their own and do not necessarily coincide with those of the publisher or editor.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

R&D for new rural industries adding value through the supply chain Southern Cross Plant Science provides expertise and facilities for crop science, horticulture and forestry: Agronomy • Plant nutrition • Plant and soil mineral analysis • Plant propagation – High quality growth and controlled environment facilities – AQIS registered plant importation – Partnerships for grow-out trials and data analysis Genetic selection and intervention • Molecular markers and genomics supporting breeding and selection • Identifying and introducing novel traits

Germplasm choice • Exploring and exploiting genetic diversity – Optimising quality – trait characterisation – Cultivar differentiation – matching cultivar to growing environment • Native crop characterisation End-use properties • Analytical phytochemistry – TGA licensed – Active compounds, authentication, stability testing • Physical testing of raw materials • Pilot scale extraction facility • Human and livestock nutrition

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Animal Health Australia Members Animal Health Australia is a not for profit company established by the Australian Government, state and territory governments and major national livestock industries. With a focus on national animal health and welfare issues, the company facilitates sustainable partnerships between members and provides leadership in securing outcomes that position Australia as a world leader in terms of its animal health status and services.

Australian Government

Livestock industries

• Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

• Australian Alpaca Association Limited • Australian Chicken Meat Federation Inc • Australian Dairy Farmers’ Limited • Australian Duck Meat Association Inc • Australian Egg Corporation Limited • Australian Honey Bee Industry Council • Australian Horse Industry Council • Australian Lot Feeders’ Association Inc • Australian Pork Limited • Australian Racing Board • Cattle Council of Australia Inc • Equestrian Australia Limited

States and territories • State of New South Wales • State of Queensland • State of South Australia • State of Tasmania • State of Victoria • State of Western Australia • Australian Capital Territory • Northern Territory

• Goat Industry Council of Australia • Harness Racing Australia • Sheepmeat Council of Australia Inc • WoolProducers Australia

Service providers • Australian Veterinary Association • Council of Veterinary Deans of Australia and New Zealand • CSIRO - Australian Animal Health Laboratory

Associate members • Australian Livestock Export Corporation (LiveCorp) • Dairy Australia Limited • National Aquaculture Council Inc

NRIA is engaged in capacity building and the facilitation of commercial opportunities for new, emerging and innovative Australian plant and animal industries. At NRIA we are strongly focused on regional development initiatives that advance rural and regional economies across Australia including tourism, indigenous industries and cooperative projects that involve manufacturing, investment and resource industries. As a diverse rural organisation, NRIA uses modern communications to facilitate information flow between all individuals and groups associated with our work. Through conferences, workshops, events, social media, and this magazine, NRIA facilitates professional networks that support business growth. NRIA is involved in project development and industry advancement initiatives that grow the viability and sustainability of individuals, businesses, associations and regional economies. We are focused on rural business, working with industries to develop research outcomes into capacity building, commercialisation and ultimately profit for all members and aligned industry associations. NRIA is available to assist and collaborate with any party that shares business interests with its objectives. NRIA is a private, not-for-profit company that is ethically motivated to achieve the best for new, emerging and innovative rural industries.

Background In 2009, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) hosted a two day workshop in collaboration with industry leaders, researchers and business investors from which the genesis for the idea of a ‘linking’ or ‘conduit’ organisation arose. RIRDC created the program ‘New Rural Industries Australia’ to advance the concept. After a 12 month ‘incubation period’ RIRDC endorsed the creation of New Rural Industries Australia Limited as a new not-for-profit private company in January 2011 with the remit to continue this work for the benefit of the same stakeholder group. NRIA is now focused on expanding its business strategy to incorporate regional development initiatives that enhance its ability to deliver its services into rural and regional Australian economies.

From the CEO Well it has been a very busy month with the Australian Herb and Spice Industry (AHSIA) Forum on 18 May; the NRIA Conference 19-20 May (both in Ballarat); the Victorian Regional Living Expo in Melbourne, 27-29 May; the NorthWest Expo in Broome, WA 4-6 May; and then the Rural (Finance) Dinner post Budget in Bendigo on 10 May. All of these events had their own highlights, but for my own personal highlight it would have to be the food presented by Chef Andrew Fielke at our conference – truly Australian fare that still has people talking and farmers fighting over quangdong crumble pie! My visit and collaboration with Regional Development Australia, Kimberley at the NorthWest Expo has also left a lasting impression upon me, through diverse interactions with people and organisations across Australia’s Pilbara and Kimberley regions. I found the opportunity to interact with WA government, miners, pastoralists, politicians, local Government, indigenous business and private sector business operators to be an excellent focus point towards gaining a much better understanding of the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the people of Australia’s NorthWest. Agriculture and in particular, native foods have a bright future subject to negotiating some development issues. The potential for high quality commercial farming of native plant products is extraordinary, with the capability to feed into wide product ranges: foods, beverages, medicines, health supplements and cosmetics. In addition, agricultural diversification options through aquaculture, stevia, guar and other pertinent crops hold good business potential as well. The mantra to these activities needs to centre on (a) products which have a natural growing advantage in NW Australia, (b) connected supply chains for value added exports and (c) a market based approach based upon build demand through domestic and export markets. I am writing this piece from the Broken Hill Mining Symposium, which also offers a forum to advance the cause of collaboration between the resources sectors (mining & energy) and agriculture. NRIA is continuing to develop project opportunities that see the benefits flow into regional economies and communities, and advance the opportunities for our members and stakeholder group. Enjoy this edition of Passion to Profit and look forward to special editions focusing on Western Australia, Tasmania and Far North Queensland in the months ahead. All the best, Ben

Ben White


What is NRIA?

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 20127

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Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

Our services on the web

Our website includes key links and contacts for industry associations. It also includes a basic background and some statistics on many of the new and emerging rural industries. Our home page includes a news feed of current media related to any and all new and emerging industries, and this is provided as a free service for subscribers. We also include the current and past issues of Passion to Profit, the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia – all in an easy-to-read online format which can be downloaded, printed, embedded and shared online with anyone.

Search – Our Information and Business Portal: As a free service to our subscribers, we have a Search function which enables you to do a specialised search for information on key topics related to new and emerging rural industries. This service was created to assist producers who feel they are always having to reinvent the wheel on key issues or subjects. Many have communicated that they have trouble locating key R&D information, or they simply feel overwhelmed when trying to Google key terms and come up with thousands of

results but nothing that is pertinent or useful to solving the problem at hand.

Search is easy 1. 2. 3. 4.

Go to the Search Tab on the NRIA website at Enter the category of the subject (or leave it open for all) Enter the key word/s. Study the resultant documents.

Social Media The world of business is changing – and social media is changing everything about how people do business. Social media is used by New Rural Industries Australia in many ways. At this time we focus on Twitter – as it is a communication medium that appears to better reach business people in rural and regional Australia. Twitter gives us a reach to thousands of people directly involved in agricultural and rural activities, as well as media, industry organisations, politicians and more. Twitter is fast. It is short. It is to the point. And through the hashtag system (#) you can search for key terms and follow key topics relating to your enterprise and activities. NRIA sends out news several times a day on Twitter. We also provide information from our website, stories and articles from our magazine, updates on future events, and more. Our suggestion is that you use Tweetdeck to follow us on Twitter, and you can use this to keep up with other key forums, topics and industries at the same time. NRIA also participates in AgChatOz forum discussions regularly, which are held on a Tuesday evening between 8pm and 10pm, at #agchatoz on Twitter. Our followers on Twitter, have tripled in the last 6 months, and at the time of publishing this magazine, we have close to 1000 and increasing weekly. Come on board and join us.


NRIA can be found at We work to make our website current and informative on the many diverse new and emerging rural industries. As of time of publishing, we get over 1300 visitors every month, with people interested in specific new rural industries and products or interested in NRIA itself as an organisation. More than 65% of these are new visitors.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 20129

Become a subscriber A basic premise that NRIA was formed around, relates to information sharing. While new and emerging industries are as diverse as you can imagine – the basic issues that each has to tackle, whether that is market development, production lines, export/ import, staff training, etc. are all the same. It is amazing but true, that the lessons learned by the Olive industry and Wildflower industries on quality standards, have applicability to other industries. The lessons learned by the Alpaca industry and Goat Industry on genetic stock and breeding, have applicability also to rabbits, ducks and game birds. And the

lessons learned by the Australian Native Food Industry on market development and branding also can be used broadly by other industries. NRIA has a free subscriber system, enabling anyone who engages in primary production, involved in a new or emerging industry, impacted as a supply chain member, or simply dreaming of doing something innovative and different – can subscribe to NRIA and benefit. Subscription Benefits–By simply registering on the NRIA home page and providing your name, email address and a mobile phone number, a subscriber will: • Have access to the NRIA website, news, links and information provided there, • Have access to use the NRIA Search Business Portal, to address and solve problems. • Receive the Passion to Profit magazine, published every two months, • Receive NRIA newsletters and updates by email, • Receive invitations to attend NRIA events, workshops and seminars.

Become a Member Full Membership


If you want to become more involved with NRIA, then you can upgrade to Full membership, at a cost of $500 (excl. GST) per annum. As a Full member you are a voting member of NRIA, can attend NRIA AGM’s and have your say.


In addition to subscriber benefits, you also have: • A complimentary ¼ page ad in each issue of Passion to Profit magazine. • Approval to use the NRIA logo on your own websites and publications. • Access to promote events/products through the NRIA communication lines, whether this is for upcoming industry events, products for sale, or even job opportunities. • Discounted attendance to events and conferences.

• Plant Health Australia Liaison – Full members get information and direction in accord with NRIA’s Associate Membership with Plant Health Australia, for any pest or disease incursion.

Corporate Membership

We also have Corporate Membership, at $5000 (excl. GST) per annum. In addition to Full member benefits, you also have: • A complimentary full page ad in each issue of Passion to Profit magazine. • Complimentary exhibit booth and 2 registrations for each annual NRIA Conference, plus free advertising in the conference handbook. To join as a Full member of Corporate member of NRIA, simply go to

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

Millions of dollars worth of current knowledge could help new rural industries succeed... (if only you could find it).

Now there is a way to find the answers – in seconds. FarmPlus online information centres, developed in Australia for Australian rural industries, now powering the knowledge portal at Type in your question and hit search, and FarmPlus search systems go into action, instantly trawling through thousands of relevant web pages and websites to find the information you need. All new rural industries can now offer their own tailored industry search service, as FarmPlus has done for irrigation, NRM, cotton, R&D, NSW Farmers and horticulture groups. Why didn’t somebody think of this before? Speak to FarmPlus now to see how easy it can be. Brendan Fox 0401 349 097 Adrian Davis 0407 273 418

Brain drain: Is there a future for horticulture in Australia? Gerard McEvilly is an agribusiness consultant with extensive knowledge of horticulture. He managed strategic planning and programs for a range of horticultural industries with Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) for over 13 years. With a strong interest in education and training, he guest lectures in supply chain management at Sydney University and initiated the Horticulture Courses and Careers Guide, a magazine supplement first published by Rural Press in 2009. In the face of flagging enrolments in agricultural and horticultural courses Australia-wide, Passion to Profit speaks to Gerard about the future of horticulture education in Australia. You’ve had a long association with the Australian horticultural sector. At which point did it become obvious to you that there was a problem in the area of horticulture education in Australia? Managing programs for Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) introduced me to a diverse range of research and industry leaders. It became very clear that there were widespread problems in finding and employing the best young staff in both R&D and industry. When I spoke to the universities running horticulture programs, they were saying similar things. They were experiencing declining enrolments, and real challenges in attracting the best people, and attracting university support.


This made me very aware that there was a major strategic issue out there that nobody wanted to own…everyone was blaming everyone else.


With many Australian universities experiencing flagging enrolments in agriculture courses (including the withdrawal of agriculture and horticulture training programs due to lack of enrolments), what are your views on the future of horticulture in Australia? There is very little at university level called ‘horticulture’ anymore, and it’s not an easy path to identify and get into if you are interested. These days students are more likely to encounter horticulture-related topics through an agriculture ecology course, or a science faculty, or a plant science course. However, there are very few, if any, three or four year dedicated horticulture programs anymore, which is a shame. The thing that is so fascinating about horticulture is that it brings so many different fields of study together. Yes, we need specialists that really understand, say, pathology, or

just one little branch of pathology, and that’s really critical to have that depth of knowledge, but we also need people that have the ability to understand the broader context of producing and marketing horticultural crops. I think the benefit of that long term horticulture degree over 4 years is you had that opportunity to create a really solid foundation for the broad range of career opportunities in horticulture. I should note that TAFE courses in production horticulture are still available but, again, these are shrinking. I was involved in the Australian Society of Horticultural Science’s successful bid to host the International Horticultural Congress in Brisbane in 2014. It’s a huge event that’s held every four years, and covers every aspect of horticulture. It struck me that if the trend-lines of enrolments in horticulture continue, by the time 2014 comes around and we have 2000 or so of the top scientists from around the world here, we actually wouldn’t be graduating any horticultural students at that point …how crazy is that! What are the implications of this downward trend in horticulture education? If there are no graduates with specialised horticulture training, where can we expect the deficiencies to emerge? In Australia, we haven’t had a really strong tradition of horticultural growers studying to university level before establishing a horticultural business. In other Western countries, particularly where you have high-tech horticultural industries such as Israel, the Netherlands, and to a large extent the US, its much more common for tertiary qualified people to be running horticultural businesses. Perhaps they realise that technical and marketfocused innovation is the key to competing against low-cost producers in less-developed countries. The risk is that Australian horticulture will fall behind in the innovation stakes. I recognise that most production innovation comes from producers, but university and higher-level TAFE opens up a whole world of new technologies along the supply chain. One response to the competitive marketplace in Australia is a shift from the small family operation to larger corporate enterprises, but these larger businesses often look to employ qualified people to run those operations. Growers traditionally get a lot of advice from people outside of their business. These days it’s

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

not uncommon for growers to buy in that information from consultants. Those service providers also need a flow of well-trained graduates who can operate at those high-end technical levels. There’s no doubt that they are finding it extremely difficult to recruit enough of those people. What role should industry play in solving this problem? In my opinion this is entirely industry’s issue to address. I have found industry as a whole somewhat lacking in its willingness to put this issue on their agenda and keep it on the agenda. Obviously it can’t solve the problem on its own, it needs to work in partnership with the education sector and the government sector, but I do get the impression from people in industry that supplying appropriately skilled people is someone else’s responsibility. Having said that, the Produce Marketing Association in Australia and New Zealand have programs focused on skills development through their Foundation for Industry Talent. However this is much more about business skills than technical knowledge – Horticulture needs a blend of both. At an individual level there many people engaging with the issue. I have, on many occasions, taken students to see growers and managers of enterprises along the supply chain who are prepared to give up an hour or two of their time and speak to the students. That effort at an individual level is incredibly valuable, but it does need a more coordinated approach at industry level. There are successful regional initiatives such as those of the Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers but more can and should be done.

In your opinion, what role does or should Government play in ensuring the availability of horticulture education for the next generation? At policy level, there are a couple of things going on that are relevant. One is the development of the National Food Plan. While horticulture is a lot more than just food, Australia hasn’t had a plan such as this before. In theory, the Plan ought to be considering food security, health issues, biosecurity, the need for much higher use of technology and the continuing development of technology through R&D, as well as ensuring that we have the necessary skills to deliver on this national strategy into the future. This is an opportunity for horticulture industries to engage with policy-makers in a constructive way, but I am not sure that’s happening. So what is the solution? How can the horticultural sector attract interest from young Australians to ensure the future of the industry? It’s interesting, because we have some great initiatives, such as the Stephanie Alexander kitchen garden program, which introduces horticulture and food production to children at the kindergarten level. But despite those early beginnings, that level of engagement is not following through to graduates from TAFE or University. So there is clearly a need for industry to step up to the mark and do a lot more. If it can be done in a coordinated way, it can be done efficiently, and doesn’t have to divert huge amounts of resources. A couple of years ago the Primary Industries Education Foundation (PIEF) was set up to help coordinate things across the ag sector, but horticulture has stood back from that so far. There is evidence that early engagement with 14- or 15year old students can make a difference. An example of a

successful program is PICSE– Primary Industries Centre for Science Education. PICSE is a model that was developed in Tasmania, but has been adopted nationally with great success. PICSE’s National Director David Russell is very passionate about higher education and linking into schools, and has developed a series of programs for high school science teachers. The program works with high school science teachers and the curriculum they have to deliver, by giving them examples from the real world of agriculture and horticulture that they can incorporate into the syllabus. The program encourages teachers to take the students out and about to show them how exciting agriculture and horticulture can be. So these opportunities are all there for industry to tap into. Some parting words? If I had one thing to say to sum up my view on this topic, it would probably be along the lines of saying to industry, ‘Look, get your act into gear, it’s actually up to you guys rather than pointing the finger at others.’ Don’t reinvent the wheel, engage with these existing initiatives and you won’t even need to invest big dollars. If industry makes concerted effort to make this a priority, and keep it there long enough to really have some cut-through, we could see some terrific outcomes as a result.

Riveting, Compelling, Controversial… Global food security presents vast aquaculture opportunities With demand for food growing at nearly twice supply in recent years, there are numerous opportunities for Australian agribusiness, predicted Julian Cribb, at the recent New Rural Industries Australia conference in Ballarat, Victoria “By 2060 we will need around 600 quadrillion calories every single day to feed the human race,” said Julian Cribb, author of The Coming Famine. Mr Cribb believes the answer to this major food security problem could be aquaculture, which may become one of the boom industries of the 21st century and potentially the world’s largest livestock sector. “What has changed since last century is that our food systems now face critical limitations–there are emerging scarcities of just about everything that we need to produce good quality food: water, land, nutrients, oil, technology, skills, wild fish, finance and stable climates,” Mr Cribb said.


Mr Cribb said that by 2050, many cities will have 20, 30 and even 40 million inhabitants – Jakarta and Manila just to the north will each have 35 to 36 million in them, far more than live in Australia. Currently these giant cities grow little or none of their own food.


“In a world where farm land is running out, where fresh water irrigation is increasingly scarce, where energy costs are very high and where the cost of feeding livestock will be astronomical, the farming of fish has huge advantages,” Mr Cribb said. “Put simply, fish turn inedible plants and organic waste into edible food more efficiently than do other domestic livestock. They can do so without competing for land and water currently used by agriculture, the wilderness or other services.” Mr Cribb told the Conference a CSIRO spatial analysis carried out a couple of years ago estimated that more than 1.5 million hectares of coastal land in northern Australia alone is suitable for farmed fish production. “Northern fish farms currently yield 5 to 10 tonnes of prawns or barramundi to the hectare, so you can see the potential for a very large aquaculture sector producing millions of tonnes of food in the north alone,” Mr Cribb said. “This could potentially be larger than our present beef, sheep, pig and poultry industries put together.” For the full presentation by Julian Cribb – go to the NRIA website, at and click on conference presentations. All presentations are free for members of NRIA and conference attendees, and available at a small cost for those who were unable to attend.

“The modern metropolis can’t survive without oil and without food,” Mr Cribb said. “One of the most urgent needs of the 21st century will be to re-design the system for sustainable food production. The modern food system is utterly dependent on oil, and food in fact accounts for one-third of the world’s energy use, most of it in transport and cool storage.” What does all this mean for aquaculture? Mr Cribb says that by the second half of this century, it will grow steadily to become the biggest food producing industry in the world.

Julian Cribb


Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

Why many new What are the implications of a carbon industries don’t grow up price for agriculture? According to Dr David McKinna, the success rate

“Methane and nitrous oxide are 2 key areas that relate to the agricultural sector, as most on-farm activities generate methane or nitrous oxide – and they have global warming potentials of 21 for methane, and 310 for nitrous oxide. While this looks like a high disadvantage for us, because 1 tonne of nitrous oxide into the atmosphere, is the equivalent of 310 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents, what it can be, is an opportunity as well. “With the carbon farming initiative, we are potentially going to get paid, for reducing emissions. So if you can reduce 1 tonne of nitrous oxide going into the atmosphere, it is worth 310 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents.” “See this is the tricky thing about this whole carbon area. Some of it is a really big risk – a large cost – but on the flip side, there are opportunities – and we have to look at the big picture of things.” Ms Davison’s talk gave a detailed introduction to the Federal government’s Clean Energy Future legislative package; the potential implications for agriculture; and the low-down on the Carbon Farming Initiative – in laymen’s terms. Ms Davison’s full presentation is available on the NRIA website for free to all members of NRIA and those that attended the conference, and for a small fee for others.

in Australia’s new industries is too low, and the gestation period for them to become mainstream, is too long.

To a packed house, Dr McKinna was the first keynote speaker at the recent NRIA Conference, and he gave a short history of some of the new industries that arrived with a bang and then backfired (aloe vera, ostrich, jojoba and emu). Each was accompanied by marketing claims of get-rich-quick, which did not occur, and left many people burnt and the reputation of those industries badly damaged. “The reality is”, said Dr McKinna, “that most new rural industries have only performed at a fraction of their potential – and there is no reason why they are not more successful”. He gave a number of examples, such as; kangaroo becoming part of the mainstream household meal repertoire; Australian native food integrated into household cooking; the potential for a strong camel meat processing and export industry; and alpaca, cashmere and mohair could be taking full advantage of the growing global demand for premium fibres. Dr McKinna also outlined that there have been success stories with some new rural industries – such as Olive Oil and the example of award winning Cobram Estate Olive Oil was given. In each instance where there has been success, there have been 5 critical success factors: • Product performance • The right channel to market • Critical mass • Investment in research, branding and marketing • Industry governance and governance Dr McKinna’s full presentation is now available on the NRIA website at at the conference presentations tab. It is free for NRIA members and conference attendees, and available at a small cost for others.

Sally Davison

Dr David McKinna


At the recent NRIA Conference, Sally Davison of KPMG detailed how the carbon price now existing in Australia, not only presents challenges for primary producers, but also presents a number of opportunities.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 201215

New Industries strut What’s the story of Australian food – on the their stuff international stage? Three young ladies worked the catwalk at the There is no question that fresh produce, appearance, taste, smell and price are all paramount in marketing food. But, as Professor David Hughes pointed out at the NRIA National Conference – what about the story? “What is Australia famous for in international food? “There is a long silence! “There is wine, beer and BBQs – but in fact, you carry this heritage of being a great commodity exporter, but no one knows that the ingredients came from Australia.” Professor Hughes pointed out that despite being a country of incredibly diverse food production, our international image is very poor compared with many other countries, such as Italy. And this comes down to the message and the story that we, as food producers and exporters, are providing to those overseas. “You need a story. There is no quintessential Australian food and it would help if you could build an international image for Australian food. It is all about developing a story”, said Professor Hughes.

recent NRIA Conference – showing the potentials of alpaca, cashmere, mohair and crocodile leather. With Professor David Hughes providing a stimulating and humorous commentary, the attendees of the gala dinner were shown custom designed items of clothing, from some of the best producers here in Australia. With a theme of autumn colours and to the upbeat music of English band Morcheeba, the 3 girls modelled scarves, jackets, ponchos, belts, handbags, and full crocodile leather skins. The fashion show video is now on the NRIA website, at under the tab conference presentations. The video is available for free for all NRIA members as well as those who attended the conference. It can be viewed/ downloaded for a small cost for others. We extend a thank you to Diane Marks of Diane Marks School of Deportment in Ballarat – and we also thank our lovely models.

He went on to detail how one develops a story for the food we produce. How even when it comes down to regional areas of Australia, we do not communicate or explain to international markets what the regions of Australia are.


Key ways to develop that story are with details of the country, the region, the farmer, the produce itself, the production process, the heritage or traditions pertaining to the product and more.


To watch the full presentation of Professor David Hughes, simply go to and click on conference presentations. All presentations are free to members of NRIA and to persons who attended the conference, or you can obtain access for a small fee.

Professor David Hughes

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

Full Membership is open to producers and distributors of essential oils and plant extracts and to producers of plant material for the production of essential oils or plant extracts. Associate membership is for researchers, consultants, regulators and other interested parties.

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National Peak Body representing the

Olive Industry The Australian Tea Tree Industry Association (ATTIA) supports and promotes the responsible use of pure Australian tea tree oil. Formed in 1986, ATTIA is the peak body for the Australian tea tree oil industry. Stay informed about pure Australian tea tree oil. Phone: 02 6674 2925 Email:


of Australia Stay informed about the Australian Olive Industry Visit our website to find out more

fresher tastes

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 201217

Goat meat is in vogue Goat meat is gaining a prominent place in innercity butcher shops and expanding into mainstream markets. With booming domestic demand and growth in traditional export markets, Australian pastoralists are reaping the rewards of harvesting rangeland goats or better managing goat herds as a resource.

resource, rather than a pest. NSW is the leading light in this approach, and so is Queensland. There are no legislative impediments to managing rangeland goats as there are in some other states. Producers are allowed to develop infrastructure to manage goats and benefit from the income received on minimal investment.”

But securing a consistent supply and quality is a challenge for the fledgling industry.

Source: Stock Journal

South Australia lags behind other states in the development of the goat industry with no room to move within tough legislative boundaries which prevent any management of rangeland goats beyond trucking them off the property, or shooting on-site. In New South Wales and Queensland, pastoralists are cashing-in on rangeland goats roaming their properties, with some value-adding to rangeland stocks by introducing Boer goat genetics to boost muscle development. Meat & Livestock Australia’s goat meat industry development and agribusiness manager Blair Brice said that despite SA legislation holding back producers from the full benefits of goat production, there were big opportunities in harvesting rangeland goats to feed burgeoning global demand. “There is huge opportunity for producers in supplying goat meat, both rangeland-harvested or farmed,” he said. “There is very strong demand at the domestic and export level and the challenge we need to overcome is developing a consistent supply of a consistent quality.”


Mr Brice said prices, which peaked at $3.90 a kilogram carcase-weight, had now come off slightly, in line with other meat markets.


He said reasons for the drop included the high Australian dollar, increase in supply on the back of fantastic seasons in the pastoral zone, and price pressures on commodities as a result of the global financial crisis. But he said that despite these pressures, demand was booming. “New markets are showing more interest, especially South East Asian markets including Vietnam and Korea,” Mr Brice said. “As an industry, we need to tap into Asia more, and the opportunities there. We need to work with the pastoral industry to manage wild-goats as a

Cancer Council Research Grant on tea-tree oil An early career researcher and an Honours student from The University of Western Australia are among the winners in this year’s annual Cancer Council Western Australia research grants. Dr Cornelia Bertram, from the UWA School of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, will receive $24,000 towards her research into improved tea tree oil based formulations that can eradicate cancer cells and be used to treat superficial and deep skin cancers more efficiently. “My research will also cover how this treatment works by examining what happens at the genetic level of cancer cells after they are treated with tea tree oil,” Dr Bertram said. Ultimately Dr Bertram, who works in collaboration with the tea tree oil industry of Australia, hopes her research will lead towards the development of a better topical treatment for common skin cancers such as basal and squamous cell carcinomas rather than the existing surgical treatment. “Hopefully this grant will help translate our research, which has been a five year project so far, from the laboratory into a clinical trial,” she said. The Cancer Council’s Early Career Grants are aimed at supporting the work of the best and brightest young cancer researchers. The grants are part of a record $2.7 million in research funding announced by the Cancer Council in Perth. A full list of the grants and Fellowships awarded for 2012 is available from the Cancer Council.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

The fight is on! The President of AOA (Paul Miller) and the CEO of AOA, Lisa Rowntree, have held meetings with both Coles and Woolworths – and even sent formal letters to Richard Goyder, Managing Director, Wesfarmers Limited (Coles) and Michael Luscombe, Managing Director & CEO Woolworths asking them about knowingly selling olive oils that are mislabelled and/or adulterated; and when they plan to implement the Australian Standard. The basic response in each instance has been that the Standard is ‘voluntary’ and that they will ensure that their ‘own’ and ‘home brand’ olive oils comply with Australian Standards in the future, however no reasonable timelines have been given. And, fact is nothing changed has on the shelves – with Pure, Light and Extra Light still continuing to be sold. Both Coles and Woolworths brands have failed tests on their olive oil – buying lower grade oils and passing it off as Extra Virgin Olive Oil to unsuspecting consumers. The supermarkets have always taken the view that “when customers ask for it we’ll do it” – so this has now become a key aspect of the action being taken by AOA to deal with the situation. The AOA has also worked with Independent supermarkets & Foodland to help them understand more about Australian Standards and the potential issues with selling oil that, in some cases, is not fit for human consumption. There have also been meetings with buyers for Coles & Woolworths by olive suppliers to explain the Australian Standards and answer any questions they might have.

misleading labelling, however, to date, they have not done this. The AOA has provided testing results to the ACCC in Melbourne three times since the introduction of the Australian Standards, but the situation has not changed. The ACCC have also responded that the Standard (which they helped to develop) is “voluntary”; and that the AOA need to speak to FSANZ (Food Standards Australia & New Zealand) about the issue, who in turn tell refer the AOA to talk to Customs and the ACCC.... a never ending circle of organisations pointing to others to take a stand. Frustration has built to a point where in the last month, frustrated grower Richard Whiting, who is also President of Olives SA, has been running his own “take it back” campaign which involves buying oils that fail the Australian Standards, sampling them and then taking the oil back. The supermarket staff don’t question why he’s bought it back, they just give him a full refund. To further stress the point, on Thursday at National Parliament House, Richard Whiting “took a bath”… in his own oil. The AOA is now calling for assistance from growers and consumers alike. They are asking that you: 1.


Meetings have been held with local MP’s at both State and Federal level. Support is needed from both the upper and lower house to support the standards, so growers going out independently and meeting with their local members is being strongly encouraged by the AOA.


The AOA has also shared all its testing data with the ACCC. The ACCC have always said they intended to use the Australian Standards as a reference document when dealing with false and

4. 5.

Tell the ACCC that you are not happy with their lack of action. Misleading and deceptive labels in the supermarket are wrong. You can make your compliant on-line at the below link. The ACCC are obliged to respond to you and they will have to log this complaint. itemId/54217 Contact Coles via their “on-line feedback form” and let them know that you, as a consumer, are annoyed that they continue to stock false and misleading products that confuse people. Coles/Coles-Feedback.aspx Contact Woolworths via their website: Click on the link below to let Woolies management know how you feel on the issue of misleading and false labelling of extra virgin olive oil. connect/website/woolworths/contact+us Contact your local MP’s and make your views known. And you can “Take it Back”, just as Richard Whiting has been doing.


The Australian Olive Association is taking a stand as it has become clear that the newly adopted Australian Standards for Olive Oil and Olive Pomace Oil (AS5264-2011), published last July (2011), are not being adopted by supermarkets and also not being used by the ACCC to deal with companies and retailers who continue to sell misleading and deceptive olive oils.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 201219

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Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

Where are your cut-flowers from? Mother’s Day and Valentine’s Day produce the peak demand for cut flowers in Australia. Local growers alone can’t meet this demand, so flowers are imported to make up the shortfall. Australian consumers often have no way of knowing where the flowers they buy have come from as they’re not subject to country-of-origin labelling requirements in the same way as food items. The best shoppers can hope for is a label somewhere on the bouquet that specifies whether the flowers are local or imported (or a combination of both). Owen Brinson, President of Flowers Victoria, argues a Fair Trade certification scheme for imported cut flowers would be difficult given bouquets often contain different types of flowers, some of which are local and some imported.

florists, necessitating flowers that are more resilient and allow some margin for spoilage”. The Flower Association of Queensland Inc (FAQI) with the support of Horticulture Australia has recently compiled Best Bunch, an industry best practice guide designed to “improve sustainable farm management and provide information, references and contacts” for Australian cut flower growers and suppliers. Although prepared specifically for Queensland growers, it outlines suggested practices covering aspects of farm management that are applicable to all growers in all states, from legal requirements and staff safety to irrigation, energy use and pest/disease management. Source: Choice magazine

All cut flowers arriving in Australia need to be treated – devitalised – by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS). This prevents propagation in Australia and protects against foreign diseases. On arrival they’re dipped in Roundup, a glyphosate herbicide, for 20 minutes to within five centimetres of the flower head.

But local growers are also having their profit margins squeezed by supermarkets, thanks to what a recent IbisWorld report calls “the unprecedented bargaining power of leading supermarket retailers over the supply chain”. Brinson agrees supermarkets are putting downward pressure on producer prices for cut flowers. He also says that “when you pick up a cheap bunch of flowers at your local supermarket or convenience store, they’re not the same quality as those you’d get in a florist and the sales staff aren’t as likely to be as well trained”. The IbisWorld report argues that “supermarkets and convenience stores are less equipped [than specialist florists] to minimise spoilage, without the precise temperature-controlled fridges used by


Like many industries, the domestic retail downturn is hitting cut flower growers hard. Flowers have been a lot easier to import than export thanks to our strong dollar – with Japan far and away our biggest overseas market – and fewer consumers are indulging in discretionary spending as they tighten their belts post-GFC.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 201221

Goulburn Valley launches food hub cooperative Almost a year to the day after Heinz announced it would be leaving the Goulburn Valley, and taking with them jobs affecting 600 people, the community has created the GV Food Cooperative, a “whole-ofsupply-chain food hub”. The GV Food Cooperative is a ‘Community Coop’ under Victorian legislation with a mission to promote food security. According to Tony Web from the University of Western Sydney, who helped develop the co-op, the founding directors include a food industry trainer, a local solicitor, an accountant, a food technologist, a local tomato grower, and two former Heinz workers made redundant when the Girgarre factory closed. The new co-op has plans to do a lot more than simply process tomatoes, he said. “They are creating a whole-of-supply-chain food hub in the Goulburn Valley as the first practical example of a much wider range of activities promoting food security in Australia”. Anyone at all can be a member of the co-op. Its first practical steps include developing a broad membership base to access independent finance. “This will make it easier to generate funds from other sources,” Web said. Training is also going to be provided to build up the capabilities of the local population to work in the factory or related food growing, processing or distribution businesses. The project was about creating a cooperative approach to developing the entire food industry in the area, and not simply about making one business in the food chain a cooperative, he said.

Resources developed by the co-op can be shared reciprocally with other business within the food hub. As one sector of the hub grows this will lead to growth in other sectors, he said. The co-op is looking for members to make a financial contribution that can be used to seedfund the first food hub project he said. Lifetime membership costs $50. Source:

A first for alpaca sales The Australian Alpaca Sales Centre, at Jerrawa NSW, held its first combined alpaca auction recently. The combined auction consisted of three established Southern New South Wales alpaca studs; Alpha Centauri Alpacas/Elitealpaca from Jerrawa, Lillyfield Alpacas from Yass and Accapacca Alpacas from Goulburn. The auction had 66 lots of maiden and pregnant females, some with cria at foot and certified and potential stud males including many show winning quality stock. The highest price paid was $11,000 for a maiden female from the Elitealpaca Stud. The Australian Alpaca Sales Centre was established after identifying a need for alpaca breeders to have an outlet to sell their alpacas via auction. The Australian Alpaca Sales Centre has also established an online auction facility so that breeders can list their animals for sale online without the need to wait for the next ‘on farm’ auction. The Australian Alpaca Sales Centre is also at the forefront of the Premium Alpaca initiative for NSW. To learn more about future auctions, training programs and other initiatives, visit the Australian Alpaca Sales Centre website at www. or call Bronwyn Munn on 0408 410 280. Source: The Land

Spotted anything




1 18 0 0 0 8 4 8 8

It is important that you are aware of the risk. If you spot anything unusual on your crop or in the general environment, call the Exotic Plant Pest Hotline on 1800 084 881. The call is free (except for mobiles) and early detection will help protect your farm, your industry and the environment. For more 22 information visit: to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012 Improving national biosecurity outcomes through partnerships

7 out of 10 believe agriculture contributes to Australia’s identity

Australian Year of the Farmer co-founder and Managing Director Geoff Bell said the results were encouraging but hoped that by the end of 2012, more Australians would realise the contribution of agriculture to the national identity. “For a country that was said to be built upon the sheep’s back, it’s great to know that the majority of Australians still recognise the importance of the rural sector in defining who we are, where we’ve come from, and where we are headed as a country – but there are also some people who don’t make the connection,” Mr Bell said. “The research tells us that nearly a third of all Australians do not appreciate the significance of agriculture to our national identity. As a proud Australian who feels passionately about the farming and rural communities, I find this a little bit disappointing. “That’s why, six years ago, we began planning a Year of the Farmer celebration. We hope that by the end of 2012, we would be thrilled to know that we’ve helped all Australians fall back in love with rural Australia. “We hope a celebration of this magnitude will encourage Australians to show their appreciation for farmers and their families and to recognise the enormous contribution they make. And not just to the economy, but to Australia’s social fabric – our very way of life.” Of the 2000 Australians surveyed, young people aged between 16 and 24 were the least likely to associate agriculture with the national identity, with just over half (51%) recognising its contribution to the Australian way of life and a similar amount (53%) recognising its contribution to what it means to be Australian. Mr Bell said the lack of engagement with rural Australia by youth was a particularly worrying trend that had emerged in recent years.

“It’s no surprise to see that Australian youth find it harder to associate agriculture with the Australian identity as more and more are growing up in metropolitan areas, removed from the iconic rural landscapes and flourishing rural communities in which agriculture has its roots. But if they had a think about it, they’d realise that agriculture is actually all around them,” he said. “Every time they buy clothes made from Australian wool or cotton, every time they eat an Australian grown apple, eat a steak, or go to the takeaway for fish and chips, many hands in the agribusiness chain have helped get it to them – and it doesn’t stop there. “Of the 1.6 million jobs agribusiness provides, more than half are located in metropolitan Australia and the contribution of the broader agribusiness sector to the nation’s economy, each year, has been estimated to be in excess of $400 billion,” Mr Bell said. “We want 2012 to be a landmark celebration of Australian farmers and of agribusiness in general. We want it to be remembered as a turning point at which urban and rural communities were brought closer together. And we want it to be the year that changed the habits of Australians, encouraging them to stop and think about the many farm products that support their lifestyle. “We need only look at the food and drink we enjoy at that most iconic summer tradition, the Aussie Barbecue, to see how fortunate we are that this country boasts such a dynamic and innovative agricultural sector. “Where would we be without great Aussie grown produce like steak, chops and chicken skewers, bread made from Australian wheat, and sauce made from Australian tomatoes. And don’t forget the fried onions and the salads full of all manner of fresh Australian grown vegies.” “This year, I would ask all Australians to consider what their lives would be like without the many men and women working in agribusiness to bring them the products found every day in shops and supermarkets across the country.”


New research conducted for Australian Year of the Farmer confirms the important role agriculture plays in what it means to be Australian. The research found the majority of Australians (71%) believe agriculture contributes to the “Australian way of life” and that it “plays a significant role in what it means to be Australian” (69%).

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 201223

NSW Rural Women’s Gathering Parkes, 12 – 14 October There are three special aspects to the upcoming women’s gathering in Parkes this year. Firstly, it will be a celebration of 2012 as the National Year of Reading. Secondly, it will be exploring the fact that 2012 is also the Australian Year of the Farmer – and there are many women farmers in a vast range of agricultural and horticultural industries.

rural women

Lastly, 2012 is the 20th anniversary of the NSW Rural Women’s Gatherings – so the plan is for a celebration to be worthy of that 20 years. They are expecting some 350 – 400 visitors to Parkes and there is a Gathering Committee that is active in planning and pursuing some fabulous ideas for women – local and visiting.


member, colleague, community worker – any rural woman who you believe makes your community a better place to live. To nominate a Hidden Treasures volunteer simply complete the Nomination Form on the NSW DPI website at the following link: http://www.dpi.nsw. All rural women nominated will be included in the 2012 Honour Roll which will be launched at the 2012 NSW Rural Women’s Gathering being held at Parkes from 12-14 October. NB: ‘Rural’ is defined as anyone living outside the large metropolitan centres of Sydney, Newcastle and Wollongong.

River of Life – St George, QLD 2012

To get the latest update on the gathering, you can follow the following blog. http://

Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network (QRRRWN) together with Australian Women in Agriculture (AWiA) are combining efforts and together holding an annual conference in St George, Queensland, in September, 2012.

Hidden Treasures in NSW

The conference is intended to promote contemporary best practice and encourage dynamic thinking and is based around the themes of:

Hidden Treasures acknowledges the important volunteer roles women play within NSW rural communities. It is not an award, but provides a platform to pay tribute to rural women volunteers who donate their time and energy to help others.

• Agricultural Innovation and the Environment • Self Development and Education • Communication, Business and Community Development • Health and Wellbeing (including Arts and Culture)

The annual Honour Roll will improve recognition of the important and diverse roles women volunteers play as key participants within NSW rural communities and that their stories will encourage others to take on volunteering roles. Nominating a rural woman for the NSW 2012 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll is a great way to celebrate rural women from across New South Wales who give so much of their time to improving our communities and neighbourhoods. You are invited to nominate a friend, family

A full program is in store for up to 300 delegates from across Australia with the specific aim to provide opportunities for: • Business, communication and problem solving skills • Showcasing regional women • Business and social networking • Forming and renewing friendships • Leadership and mentoring • Education and inspiration • Challenge and motivation

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

Confirmed keynote speakers include Sally Sara, Lana Mitchell and Suzanne Stark. There will also be presentations from successful rural businesswomen and industry leaders – with entertaining, poignant and inspiring life experiences, sharing their tips for getting the most out of life. Workshop streams include: • Agricultural Innovation and the Environment • Self Development and Education • Communication, Business and Community Development • Health and Wellbeing (including Arts and Culture) Keep up with details of the conference through the AWiA and QRRRWN websites:

Aussie rural women and blogging A recent survey done by BlogHer Inc, surveying 2000 US women on line, found that blogs are the single best use of marketing and advertising dollars by brands who want to affect purchases by women. Some interesting facts that came from that survey were: 1. More women buy based on recommendations from blogs than from Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest. 2. Blog readership is a key indicator that a woman uses social media to find product info when she is about to buy. 3. Majority of women trust social media — but women trust blogs most. There are a large number of blogs written by Australian rural women, about their lives, their journeys, their insights, advice and loves. When you have a spare moment – check out some of these brilliant blogs by women, about life in rural Australia. And if you have some others (including your own) you would like to recommend – send the details through and we will add it to the list: Some great blogs by Australian rural women: • Bush Babe of Oz • Cattle, Kids and Chaos • Clover Hill Dairies Diary

• • • • • • • •

Fat Happy Cows Blog Fleur McDonald Kids, Cattle and Mobile Phones KT’s Farm Life Tales of a Cotton Wife The Farmer has a Wife The Farmer’s Wife The Milk Maid Marian

Videos on Trauma Relief – Community Recovery In 2011 large parts of Queensland were affected by devastating floods and Cyclone Yasi. And in 2012 many parts of western Queensland suffered another round of flooding during the early summer months. Similar disasters occurred in the Northern Rivers area of NSW, heavy flooding occurred through the Murray Darling Basin, right across vast areas of Victoria and into South Australia. And let’s not forget the terrible bushfires just a short while before that, in Victoria and also in Western Australia. These disasters have had a profound effect on a large number of rural and regional communities and since then many people have been struggling with finding ways for themselves, their families and friends to cope. In 2011 the QRRRWN–in conjunction with Petrea King, the founder of the Quest for Life Foundation–ran a series of four webinars which focussed on strategies that could be applied to recover from trauma (like natural disasters). And these were very well received by everyone who took part in the webinar series. As a result of the 2012 floods, these webinars were updated and you can view each of them by following the link below: You can also download the Recovering From Trauma Workbook that accompanies this webinar series: recovering_from_trauma_workbook.pdf Feel free to pass these links onto any person who needs assistance with trauma relief, whether that is from natural disaster, or otherwise.

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industry close up

Future directions mapped for Herb and Spice Industry


The Australian Herb and Spice Industry Association Ltd (AHSIA) recently convened a future directions seminar, held in Ballarat, Victoria. It was attended by 33 leading herb and spice producers, and their value chain partners. The seminar showcased innovative herb and spice business models across a range of sectors from culinary to (complementary) medicinal crops; from protected cropping to organic, and field grown production. Robert Hayes is AHSIA President and a Director of Northern Rivers NSW based glass house herb producer FreshZest Pty Ltd and he spoke on “Taking stock and future challenges for the Australian Herb & Spice Industry”. Robert outlined the development of both the culinary and medicinal herb and spice sectors in Australia over the past 40 years, expanding from its initial base of a few seasonal product lines (predominately curly leaf parsley) to the more than 100 product lines widely available today (both fresh and processed). And there are many more crops new to Australia in the pipeline. He emphasised the continuing need for research and development to meet pest and disease control and government regulatory requirements, as well as market development funding to fully capitalise on the potential of these crops. This will require industry participants to invest in the future of their industry. Jan Vydra, is a Director of Mornington Peninsula based herb producer Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs, and 2011 Australian Young Farmer of the Year (among other accolades). He spoke of his industry experiences as “A new face and a different way”. Jan detailed his journey as a young and enthusiastic businessman, establishing a new fresh herb business, forging strategic partnerships and developing innovative business systems to address the many challenges he identifies in developing a branded product that can deliver on consumer expectations.

Andrew Drummond, is Managing Director of major Sydney Basin based field grown and hydroponic herb producer Barden Produce, and he presented “The Barden Produce story”. Andrew explained how Barden Produce as a vertically integrated production, processing, distribution and marketing enterprise has invested in technology to increase its productivity and remain competitive in what is a very tough business environment; now with fewer growers, increased production, greater supply chain transparency, with a focus on product quality, and on-farm value adding. Michael Brouwer, is an innovative Maldon, Victoria based organic dried herb producer, processor and distributor Southern Light Herbs, and he spoke on “Going Organic”. Michael presented an alternative business model of sustainable farming, mentoring a network of 60 small scale certified organic growers. Organic producers have a closer relationship with consumers, and organic product price is not linked to world price. Key features of organic herb farming include the production and use of compost made from carefully selected ingredients, enhancing natural systems, labour intensive, hand harvesting, close attention to quality. Ben White, CEO of New Rural Industries Australia (NRIA), presented on “New rural industries–new business directions” . He explained the vision of NRIA is for profitable and sustainable new and emerging Australian rural industries, which are strongly connected into markets and regional economies. The Australian Herb and Spice Industry Association is a member of the NRIA alliance of new rural industries. Professor Ian Brighthope, of Nutrition Care Pharmaceuticals Pty Ltd, presenting on “A proposal for a home grown safe antidepressant in Australia”. He described the growing market for antidepressants across the world. In Australia in 2009 some 1.5

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

The seminar concluded with a panel discussion facilitated by Peter McFarlane of McFarlane Strategic Services, providing a platform for discussion of new opportunities, challenges and future directions for the Australian Herb and Spice Industry. Key themes included: • Working together – strategic partnerships, grower networks and associations; the need to manage supply chains, need to co-invest in R&D and market development, to meet regulatory requirements and develop full industry potential; New Rural Industries Australia has formed to assist new and emerging industries to address common issues and explore new opportunities; • Productivity and efficiency – herb and spice enterprises are investing in technology and building to achieve a critical mass, taking costs out of the system to remain competitive in the market place;

• Regulatory challenges – the ongoing review of chemicals used by both conventional and organic producers, and the need to develop bio-control options; food safety issues including the current FSANZ Proposal P1015: Primary Production & Processing Standard for Horticulture, that includes micro-greens and fresh herbs; as well as emerging environmental sustainability requirements; • Consumer trends – the popularity of various ethnic cuisines and the growing influence of the TV cooking and food programs in driving consumer purchases; • Going organic – with the high Australian dollar currently dampening export opportunities, and making imported foods cheaper, the “cost/price” squeeze is making life very tough for Australian producers – in particular for those large enough to have contracts with the major supermarket chains. One strategy for smaller producers is going organic, and going direct to consumers to achieve a higher margin for their product. • Quality – with product sourced from multiple suppliers the challenge of achieving consistent high quality products to deliver on consumer expectations; the imperative of herb and spice businesses having a HACCP food safety plan. • Emerging opportunities–with new (to Australia) herb and spice crops – both culinary and medicinal, many of which have demonstrated bio-active properties. This may see a convergence of the culinary and medicinal herb and spice sectors with culinary products that have complementary medicinal or nutraceutical properties. A growing middle class in Asia also presents new export opportunities (when the value of the $Australian falls.)

industry close up

million people were on antidepressants at a cost to the Government of $300 million. The entire antidepressants market worldwide is estimated at $12 billion per annum! A review of clinical trials involving more than 5,000 patients concluded that extracts of St John’s wort has similar efficacy to standard antidepressants, with less side effects. St John’s wort is a declared noxious weed in Victoria. Subject to addressing various regulatory issues, commercial production of this plant could become a new industry in Australia. Nutrition Care is interesting in working with the Australian herb and spice industry to develop this new opportunity. Similarly ‘curcuman’, the active ingredient of Curcuma longa (Tumeric), has demonstrated analgesic properties and is clinically proven for the symptomatic relief of pain and inflammation of arthritis while effectively inhibiting factors that cause cartilage degeneration – another new Australian spice industry?

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Vanessa and Clem Cox Australian Gourmet Hazelnuts Hazelnut trees; kernel products

Background: Australian Gourmet Hazelnuts (AGH) is a vertically integrated hazelnut enterprise propagating and supplying hazelnut trees, and processing, value adding and marketing Australian grown hazelnut kernel. AGH is based at Mudgee in Central West New South Wales and was launched in 1997 with the purchase of 200 nursery trees. They propagate young hazelnut trees and provide bare rooted planting stock to growers. In 2006 they relocated and expanded their tree nursery and since 2008 they have also had their own nut grove, while also processing nuts from growers they have supplied with trees. They currently handle 10 tonnes of hazelnuts and produce 30,000 – 50,000 hazelnut whips (young trees) per year. The aim of AGH is to provide consumers with the ultimate hazelnut eating experience, by supplying premium quality freshly cracked Australian grown hazelnut kernels at peak nutritional content and flavour.

Q. What inspired you to get involved in a new rural industry?

We’d just started our small business, Mudgee Hampers, and the supplier of a branded hazelnut confectionary product made us one of those offers you can’t go past.


Q. What have been the pitfalls you have


overcome? How?

Nut supply dried up – within three months of starting, our key supplier retired, and only one other grove could supply nuts of the quality the branded product required. We dropped the branded product and downsized, selling roast

kernel of various cultivars through our regional gourmet shop, which supported us financially. Incompatible pollinizers – in 1998 we took part in Hazelnut Growers of Australia’s evaluation of propagators planting stock. To our dismay, results showed the key pollinizer was in fact the main-crop cultivar, Tokolyi Brownfield Cosford (TBC). In 2003 compatibility work at Oregon State University showed the popular pollinizer, Halls Giant, was incompatible with TBC. In 2000 and 2002 we sourced genuine Turkish Cosford from the late Imre Tokoly’s foundation nursery. After several winters of doing pollination trials, we also bulked up the Australian bred late pollinizer, Paskas Late, to replace Halls Giant. Significantly our pollinizers produce round nuts, of smaller size than TBC. We developed a planting and pollinizer placement grid that maximizes the proportion of the maincrop, ensures sufficient pollen throughout an orchard’s life of 50 years or more, and lets a grower pick up the crop up as one, rather than harvesting cultivars separately. Q. What do you consider your success? What do you attribute these to? We don’t just sell hazelnut trees; we developed a production system that results in cost efficiencies throughout the production chain, and a consistently high proportion of premium kernel that is easy to crack. We also imported a mechanically driven harvester which operates fast, efficiently, creates minimal dust and operates well in grass. Before coming to Australia in 1977, Vanessa worked in the Press Office of the Meat and

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

Livestock Commission, UK. “MLC’s charter was to improve profitability, efficiency and product quality from conception to carving; ie on farm, in abattoirs and butchers shops, and in the kitchen. I guess I have unconsciously applied those principals to growing hazelnuts.” Q. What are five tips you could give others in new rural industries? Have a strong and effective industry organization that engages with its members. 2. Take an active role in the organization and share your knowledge. 3. Do not be afraid to be different from the mob. 4. View production as part of the whole supply chain. 5. Pitfalls and delay may in fact strengthen the offer. Q What is your future vision for your business?

We aim to recruit clusters of AHG growers in suitable climates to form supporting regional industries. We also want to develop the supply chain to efficiently and profitably provide premium kernel of high nutritional content and outstanding flavor to the Australian consumer and snack food sector.

From Left: Roast TBC kernel blanch perfectly: slightly elevated sucrose creates a lingering sweet end-note that customers can’t get enough of. Raw TBC kernels have high nutritional content, thin skin and few kernel faults. Top right: Pollination trials required isolation of catkins and female flowers in late June. Pollen collected from isolated catkins was brushed onto femal flowers. This enlarged image shows pollen grains on a TBC female flower. Clem and Vanessa Cox, Australian Gourmet Hazelnuts. Photo credit Sandy Smith. Young hazelnut trees, or whips, are lifted from stool beds during July and August. Clem couldn’t wait to try his new Super Jolly 2800, and spread nuts on the ground to see how it harvested in grass. Nuts and kernels of TBC, and pollinizers Barcelona and Turkish Cosford. All round but different sizes make separation by size grading a breeze. Clem grades whips for length, butt size and roots so that growers receive evenly matched batches.

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Photo credit – Sandy Smith, Mudgee.


Sharan West Australian Pumpkin Seed Company Pumpkin Seed Oil, Dark Green Pumpkin Seeds (raw & roasted), Pumpkin Seed Meal

Background: It all started in 1998 after a family trip to Slovenia where my dad was born and grew up growing a special type of pumpkin. He would take the seeds to a local factory to be pressed into the ‘green gold’ of pumpkin seed oil to be used as a salad oil throughout the following year. We brought back some seeds and planted them on the family farm in Queensland where they grew very well. We formed the business to make pumpkin seed oil in 2002, with Helen, John and myself being the main workers and my sister, Viki helping out whenever she could. Helen was the main office person keeping the books, financials and legals in order, John was the unofficial engineer who designed and built all the factory equipment and I was the marketing end with a graphic design background. Our individual skills complemented each other and made the business possible. Now after many challenges, 9 years and relocating the business to Ovens in Victoria, I am taking the lead to continue and expand the business to new levels. We now have a shop front with factory viewing and a developing cafe. Our supply chain is expanding with 3 farmers growing our pumpkin seeds for us.

Q: What inspired you to get involved in a new rural industry?

After some testing with small scale equipment, a screw press, we found that the quality of oil it produced tasted nothing like the oil from Slovenia and the extraction rate was poor. It quickly became apparent that we would need to make the pumpkin seed oil using the centuries old Slovenian method of gently roasting the seed first and then squeezing it in a hydraulic press. After some discussion one afternoon, we came to the conclusion that as no one else was making the product here in Australia, it had a great potential to become a viable business and so began the first Australian pumpkin seed company.

Q: What have been the pitfalls you have overcome? How?

A big starting pitfall was being the first. There was no industry association or other businesses to help with getting going or equipment. We used family connections to gain as much knowledge as we could from overseas however it was limited due to funds and distance. Limited business skills were easily overcome by going to a modern thinking business college where friendly, encouraging


At first it was going to be a small scale business to produce oil for ourselves and for the health

benefits that we had heard about from Europe – that pumpkin seed oil is good for men with prostate problems.


Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

Q: What do you consider your successes? What do you attribute these to?

Our main success are; starting a new industry with the skills and knowledge we had, still being in business 10 years later, increasing the health of many of our customers and being able to make a top quality product. The last point made is also a big attribute of the first three. Without a top quality product we wouldn’t have had the drive to keep going when big challenges arose and we wouldn’t have had all the positive feedback which continued to drive us to make this business a success. We have come a long way and still have a long way to go, however it’s still exciting.

Q: What are 5 tips you could give others in new rural industries?

1. See what help you can get before investing: being involved in your local community can help, they can offer support and extra knowledge. Also, contact your local government before starting as you may be able to access support with funding and knowledge for the research and proof of an idea–once you have started it may be too late.

2. Have an online presence and brochures–you will then have world access and you never know where your brochures will end up, in who’s hand or who may come accross your website–it may be a big sale or better equipment. 3. Visit other similar businesses before and after you start as you will get ideas on what is needed that you may not be able to imagine. Unless you have been in business before its difficult to grasp the reality of what you need to do. Business is a ‘game’ you need to enjoy, make sure the business does not consume your whole life as other activities that may be completely unrelated will in fact benefit you and your business greatly. 4. “When things are going well thank your team, when things are not going so well take a look in the mirror”. It can be hard to know what is the right move or wrong move until you have got some experience and that takes time. You can use “experts” but remember to apply your knowledge of your business as you know your business best. Building a team can bring more experience and help you greatly but if you are not able to look at your role objectively then you may become the biggest obstacle for making your business a success. Q: What is your future vision for your business? The future vision for my business is to develop the systems and facilities for larger volumes. This expansion will allow us to target other markets and reduce the current high costs of production. Developing the supply chain systems to benefit everyone from the farmer to the consumer with sustainable, quality and nutritious products will continue to make this a viable business.


support gave us a boost and also through time and experience. Being a small business and doing everything ourselves can sometimes make things harder–currently we are expanding and see many benefits to increasing the experience pool. Sheer persistence and determination help too!

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Richard Patton Red Dragon Organics Certified Organic Ginger Beer, Certified Organic Turmeric Ginger Beer with ginkgo, brahmi and gotu kola herbs.

Background Red Dragon Organics is an independent, certified organic, beverage processor based at Goonellabah, east of Lismore NSW. This is an area where health ethics and sustainability are taken seriously, and is an area close to the Byron Bay tourist hub. For over 30 years Red Dragon has had a Sunday market stall, which then morphed into a stall selling innovative organic drinks made from farm produce: lavender-lemonade, mulberrycrush, lemon-myrtle and rosewater-iced tea, plus traditional brewed-in-the-bottle ginger beer.

There has been a definite reluctance from shops to stock small, independent products. My way around this has been to use product ‘fans’ to ask their local health/organic shop to stock our products. This has been highly successful.

Some 10 years ago they built a certified organic commercial kitchen to produce some of these drinks for the commercial market. This was an idealistic venture to help provide a market for excess organic regional produce, and to support regional sustainability. Red Dragon Inn (a name based on the original market stall name), was dedicated to health, ethics and sustainability in beverage production. They still run a market stall on many Sundays, and have been attending The Channon market, near Lismore, almost every month for 32 years now. Today however, the business is no longer a one-man-band. Red Dragon Organics now hires Richard’s daughter as the office manager, a part time sales woman, and two parttime kitchen bottlers.

It has been hard, at times, to maintain a consistent supply for inputs and we have gotten around this with planning and maintaining key contacts for supply.

Q. What inspired you to get involved in a


rural industry?


to take time to promote products and brand in the local, then regional, then national markets. I also use local media coverage to promote nationally. I always stress the ‘boutique’, high quality products, and I work to use branding to differentiate the product quality to most else on the market.

Firstly it was a desire to boost and consolidate regional organic agriculture through regional secondary processing. Secondly, it was a desire to offer a choice from ‘toxic’ multinational nonalcoholic beverages, and lastly, a desire to boost people’s immune and energetic health, to counter dumbing down through toxic additive beverages.

Q. What have been the pitfalls you have overcome? How?

There have several. Certainly my experience in business proved a challenge. I solved this by attending useful workshops and realising that I needed to look and learn. I also had difficulty in promoting a different, high quality product in a market used to very poor quality products. My solution to this is has been

There has also been difficulty running a small business in an area that is dominated by large business. I think the only solution for this is word-of-mouth and consumer support. We do this through all channels, including Facebook, building personal contacts in the retail area, and more.

Lastly, there is generally a fairly low level of consumer knowledge of nutrition and of the dangers of additives and chemicals in food/ beverages. We run an education campaign through the website, and continue to make this information known at markets, festivals, and events. We also print promotional cards and brochures giving details to customers.

Q. What do you consider your successes? What do you attribute these to?

We have had general success in increased awareness in the value and quality of organic drinks. The fact that our product is different and innovative, is appreciated by our customers. Partially this is due to the fact that ethics and sustainability issues are seen to be more relevant to food/beverages now. Part of this has also been extraordinary testimonials and face-to-face comments from people who thank me for our products and the therapeutic help they bring. This is what keeps me going in hard times. It is just amazing to talk weekly with a stranger who thanks you

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

from the bottom of their heart for making the products we do. We have worked hard to encourage and inform local government, state regional development, food security groups, and so on – and this has helped. We have also created a new product called ‘Living Elixir’ which has been a commercial success, and has been provoking interest in functional foods/ beverages, turmeric and herbs generally. No matter how one looks at it – our successes have been due to hard work, perseverance (you could call me stubborn and proud possibly) – and taking time to personally explain ethos or products to those interested. Our refusal to accept failure has seen us to a point of success.

Q. What are 5 tips you could give others in new rural industries?

1. 2.



Keep a database of ‘allies’ and use their knowledge and help them. Join or start a regional food/beverage networking and marketing body.


Use a stall at local markets and events to gain low cost, good feedback, customer contact, invaluable info and local support. Trade shows can be too expensive when your business is small and you are just starting up.

Q What is the future vision for your business?

To be the leading Independent Australian Organic Beverage Processor, whose products are recognised for their contribution to health, ethics and sustainability.



Know why you are starting the business. Do not fear innovation. It is OK to be different. Build an informative website – state your ethical and sustainability objectives on it, and your personal story. You can compete with big boys only with highest quality products possible and clear ethics driving the business. People also need a reason to support you, when cheaper, more easily accessible and lower quality but highly promoted competitors abound. Let your passion drive the business – not the accountant Research widely around your business subject and do an accurate as possible business plan–why becomes clear as you progress without one!

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 201233

Tips for making a successful loan application By Ian Jordan



hen you apply for a business loan you will almost always be presented with a form by the Lender. It still pays, however, to follow 4 important steps: Step A – Be prepared Step B – Consider the application form Step C – Understand how a lender reads an application Step D – Find the right lender


The following are a list of points summarising some 20 plus years of experience all of which work to paint you and your business loan application in the best possible light, and help you increases your chances for a successful business loan application.

Step A – Being Prepared 1. Understanding Risk Understanding risk allows you to better understand your Lender. While the Lender is in the business of accepting risk, they are also in the business of minimising risk.

4. Know What You’re Worth It doesn’t matter if you are worth a little or a lot. The important point here is to be truthful and not to exaggerate your assets as you may get caught out and this will ultimately erode your credibility.

5. Understand your Profit The Profit figure a Lender will look at is different to the Taxable Income and even different again to the Profit figure in the financial statements. A Lender will take your Profit from the financial statements (not from the tax return), and add-back interest; depreciation; amortisation and income tax.

6. Check your Credit File First Being prepared avoids unpleasant surprises. Therefore it’s better for you to check your credit file from Veda Advantage (who holds credit data) and see if there are any unfavourable marks against you or your business. You can check your credit file at

7. Have a Business Plan

Therefore, in everything you do with your loan application from here on; remember to present a case which minimises the Lender’s risk. They will love you for it.

A business loan is easier when you can show that you have a clear direction of what you do and what you want to do all of which is written out in a logical manner.

2. Be Up to Date

8. Profit & Loss and Cashflow Forecasts

Lenders really like applicants who have all their paperwork up to date. This means make sure your BAS is done (and paid); your financial statements and income tax returns are completed (and lodged) for the last 3 financial years; you have paid all your taxes and employee super payments; and you can show your last 6 months bank statements (and if appropriate existing loan statements) without any returned payments or defaults.

It is important to have both of these to reflect your projections from your Business Plan and predict 12 months into the future.

9. Internet Searches Lenders use the Internet to carry out a search on applicants. Make sure you are aware of any adverse literature beforehand and that it can be explained.

Step B – Consider the Application Form 10. The 5 Main Areas

Know how much you want to borrow and what you want to do with it. If you are contributing towards it, make sure your funds are in an account which can be shown to the Lender.

Every loan application will have the following five sections:a. What are you worth? b. How much do you make? c. How much do you want? d. Contact Information e. How are you going to pay it back?

Be prepared to evidence your loan application with a quote, invoice or contact.

We have dealt with points (a), (b) and (c) in Step A above. Points (d) and (e) are discussed hereunder.

3. Know What You Want

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

Step C – Understanding How a Lender Reads an Application 16. Analyse How Much Debt You Have In this case a Lender compares what you own to the total amount of debts you have, and the ratio they look at is generally 1.5 or higher. Different Lenders have different rules.

17. Interest Cover This check refers to how much profit (based on the calculation in point 5) there is to pay for all of the interest including the interest arising from the new loan.

Make sure you write the full correct name and ABN (ACN if applicable) and the current registered office as well as the full details of the nearest relative not living with you. If you have more than one entity and especially if you are using a trust to operate your business, always add a diagram explaining all of the entities, their roles and who are the Directors and Shareholders (and Trustees). Make it as easy as possible for the Lender.

12. Exit Strategies When a Lender wants to know how they are going to get their money back, they call it their exit strategy – and you should give them 3 exit strategies. The first is almost always through the repayment schedule of principal and interest. The second and third may include the sale of some of the business assets or through the collection of debts and or the sale of property.

13. Answer Queries Quickly Every application will have a set of queries raised by the Lender – this is normal. It is important that you answer the Lender’s questions as soon as possible. If it is going to take you more than 24 hours to answer a question, call them and let them know why.

14. Additional Information While most loan application forms don’t allow for it, it is a good idea to attach the Business Plan to the application as it provides for a more professional view of the business.

15. Statutory Forms Every loan application has a statutory set of forms. Make sure that the correct person and/ or officer signs the form; especially the formal loan application and the authority to conduct credit checks.

The ratio should be 1.5 or higher. Again different lenders have different rules.

Step D – Finding the Right Lender 18. Research A successful loan application sometimes is as simple as finding the right lender. Don’t lodge a loan application until you have interviewed a commercial manager and are confident that your business loan application fits within their lending guidelines. It is not unusual to interview 3 or 4 Lenders before finding the right one. Make sure you interview both Banks and Non-Banks.

19. Commercial Brokers Don’t be afraid of using a Commercial Broker, as they are in the business of looking for Commercial Loans every day and work on a success fee which is good for them and you. You will have to pay them a fee but this can be offset against a possible savings in interest rates. Like lenders, make sure they are referred to you and you interview them.

20. Keep Your New Loan On Track One of the best ways to make sure you get a new business loan is by making sure you properly complied with your old business loan. Pay your interest and repayments on time; comply with your loan obligations by providing accounts and tax returns on time and work on building your relationship with the Lender. Ian Jordan is a director and founding shareholder of EasyBizFinance, Australia’s largest provider of diversified business finance solutions. The business is a Super Broker, assisting to facilitate a range of finance options from banks through to boutiques, unsecured and secured as well as ensuring that you have the best finance for your business. Often quoted in the media from the likes of BRW, Sydney Morning Herald and Kochie’s Business Builders EasyBizFinance is pleased and proud to be associated with NRIA and their members.


11. Contact Information

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 201235

Rural enterprise offers new opportunities for city escapees By Caroline Cameron

T collaboration

he recent Regional Victorian Living Expo held in Melbourne attracted over 8,000 visitors, all of whom were curious to see what opportunities a country lifestyle could offer. Keen to better understand why so many people want to escape to the country and the biggest challenges they’ll need to overcome, we conducted a survey of 174 people who dropped by our Possibility to Reality (P2R) stand.


Everyone’s circumstances are different but there are interesting similarities and themes. The over 55s remain the biggest group of potential sea/tree changers, showing it’s still a popular retirement option. However, those aged between 26 and 55 collectively make up 66%, most of whom need a sustainable income and fulfilling work. Sea/tree changing is an attractive prospect for couples who are either newly married/partnered without children and for those whose children who have grown up and left home. However, it’s becoming increasingly popular for families as parents seek a healthier, simpler lifestyle to raise their children. Many families talked about their dream to ‘buy a few acres’ to grow their own food, have more animals and space. Moving to the country is a major life change and clearly not something to rush into. Yet a quarter of those surveyed plan to move within the next 6 – 12 months. 1 – 2 years and longer were fairly evenly split which reflects the need to research and plan, overcome significant challenges or simply wait for a better time to make the move.


The opportunity for a new and fresh start, unhappy living in the city and ready for a change. This includes those ready for a complete career change, including buying land to farm. 4. Financial drivers – The high cost of city living, relatively better affordability of country property and a desire for less financial demand and mortgage stress. 5. Increasing traffic, time and money spent commuting – easier in the country. 6. Preparing for retirement – ready to make a break from current work based lifestyle. 7. Starting a family and wanting to spend more and better time with children (this was particularly common amongst those who had grown up in the country themselves). 8. Working too much in current city based job, lack of job security in the city, better business opportunities, a desire for more flexible work and the opportunity to earn more money. 9. Sick of the noise, pollution, rain and climate (this may have been ‘front of mind’ because the Expo was held in Melbourne, in autumn, heading into winter). 10. Wanting to be nearer to family and friends already living in a country area. 11. Have lived in the country before and really enjoyed it – want to ‘go back’ to a country lifestyle. 12. Desire to be more connected to a small community–people in local country towns are more friendly.

What are the challenges people face?

The Top 12 reasons why so many people are keen to move to the country





Better Lifestyle–Increasing city pressures & stress, together with a desire for a slower pace of life more leisure and flexibility! More time, space and land, animals, home grown food, the natural environment, desire to be near the sea, solitude, quiet, peace, freedom, sanity, security/safety.


Changing careers, finding a job, gaining secure and fulfilling employment. The reactions of family and friends–helping children to settle, leaving or relocating ageing parents and losing regular contact with children and grandchildren. Financial pressure – not having enough money to make the move, sell, buy or rent and live comfortably on less money.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

Fear of the unknown – insecurity, lack of certainty and doubt about whether it will work out OK. This includes making the break from what we have now, starting all over again and settling into a new community. 5. Choosing the right location, where else to look and finding a house. 6. Enjoy a relatively good quality of life in the city and not sure it would be as good or better in the country. 7. Fewer facilities and services in the country – less choice of schools, medical/health facilities and the need to travel to the city for anything major. 8. Travel/commuting time if I continue to work in the city and live in the country. 9. Leaving elderly relatives who won’t make the move with us and/or waiting for children to finish school or university. 10. Difficulty selling a city business and establishing a business in the country – council permits, red tape, funding grants etc. 11. Don’t know enough about it; know we need to take time to get the planning right. Currently don’t have time or waiting for a better time. 12. Unpredictable and often dramatic climate in the country – bushfires, floods etc. From my own experience of helping people make significant career and lifestyle changes, about 25% of my clients are interested in buying a few acres to generate a viable income. A vast number of existing new and emerging industries in Australia have been started by individuals or couples or families who have made a change and initiated a new enterprise. Whether it is hazelnuts, truffles, goats milk, olives, lavender, game birds, wildflowers or one of the many other new industries – it is the fact that many people who have a background in marketing, or banking, or IT, or project management, or sales or any of a number of other careers – take their skills to the country to apply them to a new and emerging industry. Although most of those wanting to buy a farm and make a mid-life career change are acutely aware that it will take time and a lot of hard work, many are unaware of actually what’s involved. Connections with organisations like New Rural Industries Australia are vital to provide guidance and support. Once they’ve made the decision, they move into a research phase by identifying the gap between what they know and have and what they’ll need to know and create. This is often overwhelming – who to ask, what to ask and how to go about it etc.

The most common feedback I get when following up clients who have made such a significant lifestyle change is, “A lot of hard work with ups and downs but absolutely no regrets – just wish we’d done it years ago!” Caroline Cameron is an executive, business, career and lifestyle coach, author and speaker. She is the founder of professional and personal development company, Possibility to Reality and is the Australian & New Zealand Institute of Coaching’s ‘Coach of the Year’ for 2011. For more info: or Her latest book, The Great Life Redesign – change how you work, live how you dream and make it happen TODAY! is in all good book stores and available online.



Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 201237

Growing the Grunt – developing green biofuels for Australia


By Daniel Tan


n 300 BC, the Syrian city of Antioch had public street lighting fuelled by olive oil. At the 1900 Paris World Fair, German inventor Rudolph Diesel demonstrated his engine powered by peanut oil. Biofuels are not new, but many of the technologies are, and interest in renewable, sustainable biofuels has recently been rising due to worry about peak oil and price pressures, vulnerability of energy supplies, dependence on imports, and greenhouse emissions.


In April this year, Qantas made its first flight using a 50-50 blend of refined cooking oil and regular jet fuel. Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce told The Australian: “We need to get ready for a future that is not based on traditional jet fuel or frankly we don’t have a future… And it’s not just the price of oil that’s the issue – it’s also the price of carbon”. Australia’s tax on carbon emissions is scheduled to come into force on 1 July 2012. Bioethanol produced mainly from sugarcane replaced 40% of gasoline used in Brazil in 2008, with the introduction of flex-fuel vehicles allowing high-blending of bioethanol with petrol (all petrol blends in Brazil contain 25% bioethanol). The first generation of biofuels was produced from starches, sugars and oils of agricultural crops, including corn, sugarcane, rapeseed and soybean. It must be noted, however, that Brazil’s biofuel industry has been plagued with problems such as air pollution due to burning, deforestation, soil degradation and competition with food crops such as soybean. Indonesia has sparked controversy, also, with orangutan habitats being cleared for palm oil production. In Australia, biodiesel is being produced from used cooking oil (an agricultural by-product), tallow and canola seed; and bioethanol is produced from sugarcane molasses, grain sorghum and waste wheat starch, but availability of feedstock is the main limitation to widespread use. Due to its abundant reserves of uranium, coal and natural gas, Australia is nominally self-sufficient in energy except for transport fuels and heavy oils. Currently, bioethanol and biodiesel are being

imported as renewable replacements for petrol and diesel, respectively. Australian annual bioethanol production capacity is 440 ML, and biodiesel production is 500 ML, although not all production facilities are operating at full capacity due to a shortage of feedstock. In times of global concern about food security, there is a serious ethical debate about using food crops and arable land for biofuel production. In the USA, almost one-third of the corn crop is grown for bioethanol production. Brian Fleay of the Australian Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO Australia) calculated that if the entire sugarcane and wheat crop in Australia is converted to ethanol, it would only supply 20% of Australian transport fuels. This means that by burning our food for fuel, we would have no bread or sugar and very little fuel. Due to food and energy security concerns, many countries – including Australia – are promoting biofuel crops that can be grown on land not suited for food production, so that the two systems are complementary rather than competitive. The recent L.E.K. Consulting Advanced Biofuels study proposed several alternative biofuel feedstocks that do not compete with food production. Microalgae are being developed as a biodiesel feedstock, but there are still challenges such as the high capital and production costs of scaling up from laboratory to commercial production. Pongamia (Milletia pinnata) and Indian mustard (Brassica juncea) are oilseeds and have been suggested as feedstocks for biodiesel. Pongamia is a tropical tree legume native to India and Australia; plantations have been established at Gatton and Caboolture in southern Queensland, Roma in south-central Queensland and Kununurra in Western Australia. A breeding program for elite varieties from existing superior germplasm is now being undertaken by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Integrative Legume Research at the University of Queensland. Indian mustard is an

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

Another potential bioethanol feedstock is agave (Agave spp.). Agave uses a type of photosynthesis called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM); agave plants open their stomata (microscopic pores) at night and take up carbon dioxide in the dark to form malic acid, which is then metabolised to release carbon dioxide for photosynthesis during the following day. By closing the stomata during the day, less water is lost and water use efficiency may be as much as six times greater than a C3 photosynthesis species, such as wheat. Hence, agave is adapted to semi-arid land not suitable for food production. I conducted a study in collaboration with the University of Oxford, showing that bioethanol derived from agave has a positive energy balance: the bioenergy created is five times the amount required to produce it. In June 2009, Don Chambers and Joseph Holtum of James Cook University planted the first trial of blue agave (Agave tequilana) at Kalamia Estate, near Ayr in north Queensland. The plants are now two years old, and have survived two wet seasons as well as

The University of Sydney’s Graeme Rapp (left) and Prof Richard Trethowan (right) are breeding Indian mustard for biodiesel production at Narrabri. R. Trethowan.

Cyclone Yasi. Growth rates have been higher than agave planted at the same time in Mexico. New and novel feedstock conversion technologies are being developed such as fast pyrolysis and supercritical water treatment that can now convert any biomass feedstock such as wood residues (e.g., Eucalyptus spp.), agricultural residues (e.g., wheat and corn stalks), woody plants (e.g., poplar and willow coppice) and herbaceous C4 grasses (e.g., switchgrass, Miscanthus and sweet sorghum) into a green biocrude that can be processed into jet fuel, biodiesel, and bioethanol. Professor Thomas Maschmeyer at the University of Sydney is now developing a commercial supercritical water treatment for processing forestry waste and seaweed (macroalgae) into biocrude for companies such as Ignite Energy and Licella. The transport sector uses 60% of global oil production and has relied on fossil-based liquid fuels for more than a century. Large-scale biofuel production has been criticised for replacing food production and consuming arable land. Hence, we should promote sustainable biofuel feedstocks growing on non-arable land to produce future renewable bioenergy in harmony with continued food and fibre production. Daniel Tan is a senior lecturer at the Sydney University, is President of the NSW Division Of the Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (AIAST), is the Dean’s nominee of the Plant Science Management Committee, and the FAFNR representative to the Faculty of Science Publicity Committee. Since 2011, he has been unit coordinator of the 4th year units, Crop and Pasture Agronomy (AGRO4003) and Sustainable Farming Systems (AGRO4004).

Blue agave at Kalamia Estate, Queensland in 2011 during the crop’s second wet season. D. Chambers


annual oilseed crop closely related to canola and rapeseed. An Indian mustard breeding program for biodiesel production was established in 2006 at the University of Sydney Plant Breeding Institute at Narrabri by Professor Richard Trethowan. Indian mustard is now part of the four-year rotation there and there are two biodiesel batch processing plants to provide biodiesel self-sufficiency at Narrabri. The breeding program has been successful and 600 new advanced lines based on Pakistani/ Australian crosses were tested in 2011. Promising high yielding lines with high oil content are now being tested in multi-locational pre-commercial regional trials.

Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 201239

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Passion to Profit – the magazine of New Rural Industries Australia Issue 10 – 2012

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Passion to Profit  

The magazine of New Rural Industries Australia, issue 10

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