Page 1



30 years of Landcare p10 Telecommunications p14 Project update p18 Meet the membership team p19 Workplace relations updates p48 - 52

Working for you p6 - 7 VICTORIAN FARMER | Summer 2017


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President’s report

A year of opportunity

to the challenges and r behind us and look forward yea t las of ips dsh har the It’s time to put 7. from a changing market in 201 opportunities we can expect the floods, it is still our we can’t make it rain or stop er, ath we the act imp ’t can produce our food and While the VFF best environment in which to the e hav ers farm an tori Vic duty to ensure fibre. , industry and other year is pushing governments the t hou oug thr ng doi be ause we are still one What we will g agricultural businesses, bec ivin thr our ting por sup p kee stakeholders to ries. of Australia’s biggest indust ture. It is especially ng on road and rail infrastruc ndi spe sed rea inc for by lob tion grain growers felt This year we’ll networks, given the frustra rail ng rati erio det our air s when temperatures necessary to rep ns to travel on two major line trai ght frei w allo to sed d and it’s time the when V/Line refu lines are not being maintaine rail our ar cle is It s. ree deg soared above 33 . State Government took action fruition, including the astructure projects come to infr ter wa key e som ing see st Loddon Pipeline, I look forward to rn Pipeline and the South We rbu dde We the t, jec Pro n Macalister Irrigatio s Project. progress on the Connection while we will keep monitoring rates cap to stop ment to overhaul the fair-go ern Gov te Sta the on re ssu se for all rate payers We’ll keep the pre keeping the ‘average’ increa ile wh rise rate farm the up councils cranking at or below the fair-go cap. tightening of native te Government’s proposed Sta the t ins aga ng gni pai nt and farmers to We will keep cam sed opportunity for governme mis a is ich wh s, tion ula reg vegetation clearing tion management system. an unworkable native vegeta work together in overhauling cceptable, so this last year, which is clearly una s farm an tori Vic on s litie There were eight fata farm injuries. efforts to minimise the risk of year we’ll be ramping up our and the VFF has has been a roaring success e em Sch ate Reb ety Saf e h safety gear and The $6 million Quad Bik can equip their quad bikes wit y the so ers farm to lion mil handed out nearly $1 r. ple take up the rebate this yea we hope to see even more peo s last April. The ng slugged with milk price cut bei r afte uild reb to es tinu code of conduct The dairy industry con motion plans for a voluntary in set ady alre has a tori Vic United Dairyfarmers of of this plan later in the year. will hopefully see the result with industry support and we won’t be d to be resilient and progress nee We r. yea big a be will 7 e industry There’s no doubt that 201 and better prepared agricultur tive duc pro re mo a e vid pro easy, but we will fight to face. for the challenges we might e our goals. ry confidence we can achiev But with your help, I have eve

David Jochinke

David Jochinke, VFF President



CEO’s message As we head into 2017, we can look back on a 2016 that was full of highs and lows. The lows were the storms and floods, the dairy crisis, low grain prices, industrial issues in horticulture and a very dry start to the year. The highs have been the buoyant prices for sheep, lambs and cattle, full irrigation systems and high yielding crops and fodder. It’s been a year that has allowed not only recharging of water storages, fodder reserves and confidence across many sectors; its put some money back into the bank, if you were lucky enough to be in the right industry. Unfortunately, it saw a further draw down of financial reserves of those not in the right industry for the year. It was also a year that saw some renewal here at the VFF; a new President and Vice President as well as four new faces at the board table. So what of 2017? The direction of the board is to strive to provide more value for members’ dollars, work harder to engage with farmers in their communities and deliver advocacy outcomes with the firm results our members need. It will also be a year where an emphasis will be placed on connecting agriculture with consumers. The job of advocacy is no longer only about writing letters and submissions to government, meeting with politicians and bureaucrats and issuing press releases. While these activities are still important, just as important is building and maintaining the trust the community has in the industry and the support that can be generated for farmers. We live in an era where a single social media or online story can change public perception and ultimately government policy. This is a space where the ag sector has not been strong and it’s a space where we must do better. To this end, a unit is being set up to focus on the engagement and communication effort; not only with members and farmers, but also with the wider community. This unit will also be tasked with developing better ways to let our members know what’s going on and more importantly, ways for farmers to let us know what they need. So keep an eye and ear out. We will be in your area, or on the phone to you at some point this year to give you the chance to tell us what issues are important to you, your family and your business.

Graeme Ford Greame Ford, VFF CEO

2017 VFF conference update We have decided that rather than hold one major official VFF event, such as our usual annual conference, we will instead hold a number of different forums and events located throughout Victoria. This will be a far better use of funds and be of benefit to many more of our members, closer to where you live– giving you the information you need and giving you the chance to raise the issues important to you, your family and your business. These events will focus on giving you current, topical updates - when you need it. Working with you to keep our ag industry great. Whether it be vital updates for your business, on topics such as workplace and industrial relations, or information on our current policy activities and lobbying to government – we want to focus on you and your needs. If you have any thoughts or suggestions on events, updates or forums, please email us at or phone on 1300 882 833

Contents VFF President and CEO’s messages

p4 - 5

Working for you

p6 - 7

Policy update

p9 - 14

Rural health

p15 - 17

Projects and programs


Meet the team


Community contributors

p20 – 24

Women leaders in ag

p26 - 27

Event calendar

p28 - 29

Animal welfare



p33 - 37

Chickens, eggs and pigs

p38 - 39


p40 - 42


p44 - 45





Workplace relations

p49 - 52

Exclusive member offers


News and life reviews


VICTORIAN FARMERS FEDERATION Farrer House, Level 5, 24 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Suite 2/145 View Street, Bendigo VIC 3550 P: 1300 882 833 f: 03 9207 5500 e: w. Editor: Loretta Gibson Advertising: Craig De Paola Design: Mulqueen Printers - Tamara Wardell Disclaimer: Victorian Farmer is the official publication of the Victorian Farmers Federation. The Victorian Farmers Federation, its partners, agents and contractors do not guarantee that this publication is without flaw and do not accept liability whatsoever for any errors, defects or omission in the information provided. All rights reserved 2017 Victorian Farmers Federation.

Working for you We talk a lot about working for you, but what does that mean? Our strategic plan says we are: ‘Making Victorian farmers’ lives better, enhancing Victoria’s future.’ You might think that’s just speak, but it really isn’t. It’s a true reflection of us all here at VFF – we’re here to do everything we can to support you, the farmer. So how do we do that? Well it’s complicated, but put simply, we talk to the government on your behalf. We make them listen, we get them to change decisions, or make decisions that are right for Victorian farmers. We fight to protect your right to farm, as generations before you have done, with less red tape but still caring for the environment and wildlife, as well as for your animals and land, which is your livelihood. A delicate balancing act, which farmers have been successfully doing for generations. And more importantly, it’s about talking to you to find out what’s important, about you being part of our community. It’s about you knowing that we will go into bat for you over issues that affect you, like the fuel and vehicle registration rebates, which if taken away, would dramatically affect many farmers’ livelihoods. We also want to share our stories with you, so some of the big issues we will be working on this year are native vegetation - page 11, telecommunications - page 14, intensive animal industry review - page 39, as well as water, the fair-go rates cap, farm safety, right to farm and road and rail infrastructure.



And we want to tell you about our staff. We have amazing people working at VFF, who are passionate about achieving outcomes that make our members’ lives better and will make agriculture an even greater industry.

Sounds simple when it all boils down doesn’t it? And of course it isn’t. But we know that united we can succeed, we all have to work together to make the VFF and Victorian farmers, one powerful, connected community.

Let’s start with our policy team, who are the VFF’S engine room, full of great people who talk to government on your behalf, every day. Their stories are featured from pages 9 to 14. The project team administer the Farmers’ Fund, Cattle Underpass and Quad Bike Safety Rebate schemes, see page 18 for more on these projects.

On the facing page is a quick summary of the issues for which we can stand up and say - we’ve made a difference - where we’ve taken on government or large enterprise and they have listened.

There’s the membership development team, who love to travel the length and breadth of Victoria chatting to farmers. You can meet them on page 19. As well as our Livestock Health and Biosecurity Victoria team, whose articles feature on pages 35 to 37. We also have dedicated and innovative people who work for all the different commodities, livestock, intensives, UDV, grains, horticulture and flowers Victoria - pages 33 to 48. Our workplace relations team of industry experts, work hard to give you important industry updates, as featured on pages 49 to 51. Then, there’s all the behind the scenes people who keep VFF ticking along. They all count, they are all dedicated and they all work for you. Not only do we want you to feel you know us, we also want to get to know you better, to connect with you differently - to understand what’s important to you. Whether you want to chat on the phone, organise a farm visit, or just connect with us via social media or online, we need to do this in the right way. It’s important that you feel part of the VFF community, that it’s a partnership. Knowing that we will listen to you, value your thoughts and help you to make a contribution to making agricultural life better, for all Victorian farmers.

Many are ongoing, but that’s what we do, we’ll always do whatever we can to make Victorian farmers’ lives easier. These are our stories. This is our Victorian Farmer magazine. We’re proud of what we do and we hope you are too.

Farming in Victoria • Right to farm • Labour hire issues • T ell us why SPC/Ardmona Woolworths campaign • P  rice transparency and accountability • F oreign ownership register for water assets • C  FA/ United Firefighters Union dispute • B  an on exploration and development of onshore unconventional gas • Probationary driving age • Union disputes • G  overnment Planning Scheme • Animal welfare Action Plan • E lectronic identification for sheep and goats (eIDs)

• L ivestock price transparency • R  ed meat processing market consolidation • C  hina-Australia free trade agreement and live cattle export • C  arcass measurement technology in AUS-MEAT registered facilities • D  airy industry enquiry voluntary code of conduct • G  ardiner Dairy Foundation UDV New Zealand study tour • Intensive Animal Industry Advisory Committee Infrastructure and transport • P  rimary producer fuel and vehicle registration rebates • T elecommunications • M  urray Basin Rail project plan upgrading rail freight network

• P  rimary producers’ road and rail access to markets • V  icRoads Rural Reference Group W  ater Stock and domestic • N  ew water delivery systems for stock, domestic water use and security • R  ural pipeline construction

Irrigation •M  urray Darling Basin Plan Review • G  oulburn Murray Irrigation District Connections Project • D  omestic and intensive irrigation upgrade • N  ew recycled water irrigation districts Local government

• P  lanning controls in potable water catchments

• M  unicipal rates inequity and ates cap

• F orced fencing of reservoirs and unreasonable permit conditions

• Local Government Act Review

• D  estocking and replanting of reservoir areas • O  n-farm water use efficiency and energy

• R  ural and regional councils sustainability and accountability • Transparent land valuations • Independent governance structure • Reducing red tape



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Working on the land Land management update A farmer’s right to productively farm their land is often seen as a given in the agricultural industry. However it’s not always that simple. Red tape and government regulations considerably restrict farming practices in some areas and members have raised a number of issues with the land management team over the past year. The major issues in 2016 were right to farm issues, including intensive animal industries, the native vegetation regulation review and increasing member issues in potable (drinking) water catchments. Land management issues often relate to whether regulations allow farmers to use industry best practice on their land, without interference from external parties, such as local council or neighbours.

They also relate to the environmental restrictions which hamper the ability of farmers in their quest to effectively farm their land – for instance removal of some trees to allow for safe operation of machinery. The land management team work for you by looking at government reviews, planning issues, parliamentary inquiries and advisory committees on various issues, such as pests and wild animals and in 2017 are lobbying to achieve change in government reviews in a number of areas, such as: • Intensive Animal Industry Advisory Committee implementation • Biodiversity Strategy Implementation Plan • Native vegetation regulations/ changes • Onshore gas – moratorium and ban •  Legislative changed to the Environment Protection Act. The Land Management Committee assists in the development of VFF submissions and provides guidance to the VFF on ideas for lobbying government on ways to help farmers, including red tape reduction and funding and incentives. Current priorities include: • M  ining and onshore gas – identifying legislative change •  Native vegetation and biodiversity - reducing red tape and legislative change

• L and use planning – policy statements on protecting agricultural land • Bushfire and emergency management preparedness - improving farm access during emergencies and ways to recognise other important assets, not just homes, such as livestock and intensive shedding • Riparian (alongside waterways) management – ensuring voluntary fencing continues • Weeds and pests - whole of system approach to biodiversity, with pest, plant and animal impact What can you do? With new local government councils right across Victoria, key corporate documents are now being prepared, which need your input, such as the Council Plan and the Planning Scheme Review. Look out for, or request opportunities to have your say. • S tate Issues - look out for news of reviews or changes in VFF newsletters, e-news and member updates • Respond to surveys or information requests and consider making submissions to key processes that will impact on your farm business • Raise Land Management/Planning issues with Lisa Gervasoni, Senior Policy Advisory, Land Management and Planning at au, or phone the VFF on 1300 882 833.




30 years

of Landcare Just over 30 years ago at Winjallok, near St Arnaud, a partnership between the State Government and the VFF started a movement that has spread not only Australia-wide, but to over twenty countries world-wide.

The core concept of Landcare wasn’t new - farmers had been working to improve the health and productivity of their farms for generations, developing successful revegetation programs for erosion management and salinity management. Then VFF President, Heather Mitchell, worked with the Conservation Minister at the time, Joan Kirner, to formalise a program that looked at supporting farmers to do things that were not only good for the farm, but good for the environment. Alan Malcolm represented the VFF at the November 1986 launch of Landcare and Joan Kirner and Heather Mitchell celebrated the 10th anniversary at the launch site near St Arnaud. The joint partnership between government and the VFF has not been forgotten. At the 30th anniversary commemoration in Queen’s Hall last year, the Joan Kirner Landcare Awards were presented with Heather’s daughters Sandra, Deirdre and Lindley and Ron Kirner as guests of honour. Celebrating the success of Landcare helps the farming sector demonstrate to government and the wider community



Do you have any suggestions on what the ‘next generation’ partnership between government and industry should focus on? the environmental credentials of the modern farmer. When native vegetation and biodiversity regulations propose more red tape due to ‘net loss’ we can point to the many farming communities where there has been a ‘net gain’ in vegetation through generations of hard work and commitment by farmers. Help us change the story that is often used of continual loss and decline – do you have images and stories of revegetation on your farm that you would like to share with us? Do you have any suggestions on what the ‘next generation’ partnership between government and industry should focus on, to allow farming to transition to new technology and lead to long term improvements in the environment? Send information through to vff@vff. or phone us on 1300 882 833.

Native vegetation has heavy impacts Regulations on the removal of native vegetation are set to have a huge impact on farmers wanting to use large GPS-enabled tractors.

The key areas of concern on the new regulations are:

Vegetation Plans or Native Vegetation Precinct Plans for a simpler fairer system • No consideration of a simple system for tree removal •  Changes to the guidelines will generally see a permit needed for eight or more paddock trees, requiring the use of consultants and with higher offsets • For every large tree removed, a large tree must be protected • A return to the concept of net gain to be provided by the landholder for community benefit. VFF’s submission will highlight the need for a simpler, fairer system to ensure that there is a practical balance between being able to use the land for the purpose for which it is zoned and long term improvement in environmental outcomes. It will also highlight the need for a system that recognises the farming sector is willing to improve the environmental outcomes on their land, in a way that is also good for farming.

• A  changed strategy to support biodiversity management, instead of acknowledging existing land uses •  No improvements to Property

How you can help The government has committed to establishing a working group to see

In mid-December 2016, the Victorian Government released the proposed changes governing the removal of native vegetation, which have the potential to further restrict the ability of farmers to use large farming equipment. The VFF is asking its members to make a submission to government if they will be affected. The voice of affected people can be very strong. The date to lodge a submission has been extended to 8 March 2017.

how the regulations could be simplified for farming. To get the best outcome real case studies are needed to test different tools. The ongoing commitment of the agricultural sector to improve environmental management and Landcare, also needs to be demonstrated, such as showing: • W  hat vegetation might need to be removed, protected and/or replanted in a five to 10 year period and what vegetation could be provided as an off-set. This could just be a marked up image from google •  Images of the farm over years showing increases in vegetation cover, Landcare projects or pictures of grandparents etc near young trees which have now matured • Images of ‘harvest’ over the years – from horse drawn/manual to modern technology. Please email images to lgervasoni@ The package can be found at https:// Submissions can be emailed to



The review strongly centred around socio-economic impact assessment work, looking at the impacts that less water in these regions has on business and the community. The VFF is lobbying for the same opportunity for socioeconomic review to be provided to Southern Basin communities. VFF Water Council Chair Richard Anderson made clear the VFF’s expectations for the southern basin following the announcement. “It is our expectation that the basin plan in the South will come under the same scrutiny as it has in the North, providing opportunity for the socioeconomic impacts of the plan and environmental water requirements to be reconsidered,” he said. A recent independent report1 highlighted the impact the Basin Plan is already having in the Goulburn Murray Irrigation District (GMID). Data estimating the annual economic impact of the basin plan on the GMID stated that ‘buy-back to date will result in a fall in the gross regional product by $202 million per year with an associated loss of over 1,000 jobs.`

Changes affect jobs and prosperity The Murray Darling Basin Plan is once again the subject of media and irrigator scrutiny, with a set of amendments currently on the table for community feedback.



The Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) recently announced a series of proposed changes to the Murray Darling Basin Plan. This includes a 70 gigalitre (GL) reduction in the volume of water required to be recovered from the Northern Basin, as well as changes to groundwater sustainable diversion limits (SDLs). The proposed reduction in water recovery for the Northern Basin, covering the basin areas of Northern New South Wales and Queensland, was made following a comprehensive review of the community impacts of the Basin Plan.

The VFF is concerned about the long term impact of the Basin Plan on Victorian irrigation communities. We are hopeful that a review of the Southern Basin would recognise the negative impacts of the loss of water from our irrigation communities and make subsequent arrangements to water recovery targets. The review must also ensure that South Australia’s push to recover an additional 450GL in environmental water must pass a ‘socio-economic neutrality test.’ The Murray Darling Basin Authority is also proposing changes to groundwater as part of the package of amendments. In Victoria this would see a 37.7 gigalitre increase in the Goulburn Murray resource plan area Sustainable Diversion Limits (SDL). The VFF noted the impact of the changes will be limited. “The SDL increase is based on 100% entitlement in the Katunga management plan but the Katunga management plan only allows for a maximum of 70% seasonal determination against entitlement.” Richard Anderson said. Basin Plan – GMID Socio Economic Impact Assessment (RMCG), p 54. 1

Playing fair with our rates The fair, in ‘Fair Go Rates’ is missing in action for many farm ratepayers this financial year.

with this year’s 2.5 per cent cap. This means that the ‘average ratepayer’ in the municipality would see a 2.5 per cent increase in their rates bill.

Minister for Local Government, Natalie Hutchins, announced that the 2016-2017 year would be the first year for the introduction of a cap on local government rate increases, called the Fair Go Rates Cap.

We however know that there is no such thing as an average ratepayer, when we are looking across different rating categories (farm, residential, industrial, and commercial) and that the reality of what members are facing is vastly different.

Every year, based on advice provided by the Essential Service Commission, the Minister will announce the percentage cap that local governments across Victoria need to comply with.

When local government budgets were released, the VFF calculated what the rating increase would be to the average farm ratepayer. The results were widely different. In some councils, farmers looked poised to receive very little increase to their rates, while others were considerably higher than the 2.5 per cent rate cap.

Councils might be able to stand in front of their ratepayers and accurately say they are complying

The VFF has met with the Minister of Local Government to voice concerns about the inequality members are

experiencing with the fair go rates system, based on this analysis. This was backed up with the help of members who have provided copies of their rates notices for the last two years. 200 rates notices were sent in by members, which were analysed and used to support the argument to the Minister. The average rate increase reported by members this year is 8.7 per cent, however there was a large range in these rates notices. We are seeing significant variations within municipal boundaries and between municipalities. The table below outlines the modelling, as well as the actual rating impact reported by members. Importantly, this year is a revaluation year. Many members have had the value of their property increased, which has pushed up the rates that they are expected to pay this year.

Modelled average increase for farmers (based on the Council 2016-17 budget)

Actual increases experienced (summary of members rate notices)
















Mornington Peninsula



South Gippsland



This data clearly shows the failures in the land valuation-based rating system that applies to local government rates. The cap is just one tool that can be better used to improve fairness in rating, but in many areas it is failing. The VFF are arguing for a rethink on the rate cap. Instead of focusing on the average ratepayer at a whole of municipality scale, the cap should instead apply individually to each different rating category. By doing this, there would be no overall change to the revenue generated by the council, but it would allow for the local government rates burden to be shared more equally across all ratepayers.



Tower of strength We know that telecommunications access in rural and regional areas of Victoria can be costly, patchy or even nonexistent. The National Broadband Network (NBN) is slowly making its way around the country (with varying connectivity results) and the Federal government Mobile Blackspot Program continues to be rolled out. But despite this investment, there is more that needs to be done. The VFF continues to lobby for increased funding to be provided by government to boost telecommunications capacity across the state, but we also need to be thinking more laterally about the actions that can be taken to boost opportunities for regional areas to receive better mobile telecommunications and access to internet. Dual wins for the VFF in 2017 were the announcements of formal reviews into the telecommunications universal service obligation and mobile telephone inter-carrier roaming. Changes made under both of these reviews, stand to provide considerable benefit to rural telecommunications’ customers. The Universal Service Obligation (USO) is a government implemented standard, providing a guarantee on telecommunications access. However, the benefit that the USO can provide is limited by the fact that it is only applicable to fixed wire phone connection. This means that where



we are increasingly turning towards mobile telephones, instead of a fixed landline for our phone service, there will be minimal benefit for on-the-go telecommunication users. The VFF have been lobbying for a rethink of the USO, so that the USO is altered to be a technology-independent voice and data service. A win for VFF lobbying was the announcement by the Productivity Commission in its interim review report, who agreed that the minimum standard for communications should not only be fixed on voice access, but be extended to data as well. Mobile inter-carrier roaming has been a hot topic over the past year, with various views expressed by different telecommunications providers and commentators. Mobile roaming would allow mobile phone users to access the closest telephone tower to them at any given time, regardless of which telephone company their phone access comes from. Mobile roaming is not currently available in Australia, but the ACCC is currently considering if such a service should be made available. Telecommunications will continue to take a strong focus over the next 12 months, with farming organisations and others across Australia, working together for a better outcome. The VFF is part of the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition, partnering with like-minded organisations to raise the profile of the telecommunications issues in our farming communities. This coalition is seeking a commitment to long term public funding for open access mobile network expansion in rural and regional Australia and a commitment from the Australian Government beyond Round Three of the Mobile Blackspot program.

Why positive emotions are essential for wellbeing If you ask people what they most commonly want out of life, it is a pretty sure bet that you will hear the phrase ‘to be happy’. We spend a great deal of our lives in the pursuit of happiness, believing that our futures will be better with more money, higher achievements or more gadgets and gizmos. It is not surprising that we can often feel caught up in a happiness trap.

So what really contributes to happiness? This may be a surprise to you, but it now appears that when we intentionally and deliberately engage in actions or behaviours aimed at lifting our mood, we can raise our level of happiness and change both our mindset and feelings for the better. Don’t just take my word for it, scientific research now supports the position that positive emotions have a survival function. They are responsible for broadening and building our functional state and provide a rich and fertile soil for creativity, learning, openness and adventure. 1 Consider for a moment how the positive state of joy sparks our urge to play and be creative, or perhaps the positive state of interest which engages us to explore and learn. So if we think about ourselves as having an emotional tank, life will inevitably drain away some of our resources. Just like a fuel gauge on a car, when we notice that the tank is running low, we pull over and fill up. Positive emotions have the same function. We not only need positive emotions to function well, but they are essential tools required for our physical, intellectual, social and psychological health. Is it really possible to cultivate positive emotions? Absolutely, however just like working your physical muscles, training your mind requires practice, persistence and patience. Your mind and your thoughts respond to stimuli. What you pay attention to and what you focus on creates fuel for your wellbeing. If the spotlight of your attention is consistently on negative events, our brain becomes hardwired to respond and process this information. Illuminating the positive by shifting our focus gives our brain nourishment and an alternate source of energy.

So how can you find ways to bring more positivity into your life? 1. Take time out to play – children don’t need to be taught to seek out positive experiences. They just make them happen. So when was the last time you played a game? Grab a deck of cards, get outside for some backyard cricket, play hide and seek with your kids or sing out loud to your favourite pop song. Just keep it simple and enjoy the flow! 2. Embrace feelings of pride –take a moment to stop and consider the events, people, experiences or achievements that fill you with pride. As your mind explores these stories, savour the moment by reminiscing in the past, or anticipating what is yet to come. 3. Express gratitude – consider how you can bring awareness and attention to the value of your family, friends, colleagues and loved ones. When we are under the influence of gratitude we are more likely to treat each other better and less likely to take people for granted. Experiencing positive emotions is more than just thinking positive thoughts. It’s a state that activates and awakens our mind and body. So go and have some fun! Suellen Peak Burst – Exploring Human Potential

Suellen Peak is an Accredited Mental Health Social Worker, coach and facilitator - suellen. Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broadenand-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56(3), 218-226.


Fredrickson, B. L. (2003). The value of positive emotions: The emerging science of positive psychology is coming to understand why it’s good to feel good. American Scientist, 91(4), 330-335. Fredrickson, B. L. (2006). Unpacking positive emotions: Investigating the seeds of human flourishing. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(2), 57-59.



It’s such a simple message - protecting your skin. Lead by example, use sunscreen yourself and your family will follow.

SunSmart farming


VFF President, David Jochinke, is a third generation grain farmer with a young family. He’s super aware of being sun smart and sees it as just another part of farm safety. It’s important for him to protect himself, which in turn protects both his family and his livelihood.

will follow. Sunglasses not only protect your eyes from the sun, they can protect you around the farm as well.

“We are all very aware of safety on the farm - using chemicals, operating machinery and working at heights, we should be treating the sun smart message in the same way.

“My father and his father before him used to get around in sleeveless shirts, shorts and a floppy old hat - never any sunscreen. They went hard. It was a different life back then.”

“It’s such a simple message protecting your skin. Lead by example, use sunscreen yourself and your family

Harvest time sees David spending long days in the truck. He knows his arms are at risk and regularly applies sunscreen.


“The outside is there to be enjoyed with your families and you can enjoy it safely. “I’ve changed my attitude about using sun screen regularly in the last few years. I used to think people who used sunscreen were just vain, but I realise it’s not just about me, it’s about protecting my family. If I’m laid up, I’m a burden on them and it’s something I can prevent happening,” said the Murra Warra farmer. David spoke about his father noticing some changes in growths on his face, visiting his local GP and having them removed. He is thankful it was caught early and able to be treated locally.

“You used to wear sunscreen and get covered in dirt, but the latest dry sunscreen is great for farm workers, you can even get it with insect repellent. I don’t always wear the best hat, but I do wear one and I always wear sunscreen, sunglasses and check the UV rating online every day. The windy days do sometimes get us, you don’t realise the UV can be so high.” He was pleased to see sunscreen was available recently at the GrainCorp Warracknabeal site and would like to see this in all grain sites. “When we are at the silos we have to wear hardhats, for safety reasons, it’ll stop you being killed by something dropping on your head, but it won’t protect you from the sun,” he said. David is passionate about spreading the sun smart, safety message and believes the farming community need to look after themselves more. “There’s no excuse not to go to the doctor every year to check the oil and water, just like you take the header to the mechanic before harvest. “It’s not about a macho image, blokes just need to suck it up and realise it’s not about being manly, it’s about being sensible and looking after themselves. “The last thing we want to do is be a burden to our family. Putting on sunscreen is such a little thing, we can do it regularly and have control over it. Keep it at the back door, in the ute or truck, wherever you are. Be sun smart – always. The ball’s in our court to make it happen.”

AS OUTDOOR WORKERS, FARMERS AND THEIR EMPLOYEES ARE AT HIGH RISK OF SKIN CANCER. The good news is most skin cancers can be successfully treated if they’re found early. But almost everyone has moles, freckles or skin blemishes. So how do you know when a spot is harmless, or a potentially deadly skin cancer? Here’s some tips on how to check your skin and what to look for:

When to check Skin cancer can develop very quickly, so it’s important not to rely on an annual skin check. Instead, regularly check your skin and get to know what looks normal for you to help you better notice any changes. Because of the high UV risk associated with outdoor workers, you may want to speak to your GP about developing a surveillance plan for skin cancer.

How to check You need to check your entire body – including skin not regularly exposed to the sun. Start with your scalp and work all the way down to your toes. Make sure you have good lighting, and ask someone to help you check those areas of the skin you can’t see (or use a couple of mirrors).

What to look for Skin cancers can include spots that have changed in shape, colour or size, or new spots that have appeared. There are three main types of skin cancer:

Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) is the most common and least dangerous form. It appears as a lump or a dry, scaly area; is red, pale or pearly in colour; and can ulcerate as it grows or appear as a sore that fails to heal completely. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is less common, but can spread to other parts of the body if it’s left untreated. It can be a thickened, red, scaly spot that bleeds easily, crusts and ulcerates. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer because it can quickly spread fast to other parts of the body. Signs of melanoma includes spots that are asymmetrical; have an uneven, smudgy border; blotchy colour that can include brown, black, blue, grey or red; and can be larger than 7mm. Nodular melanoma is a particularly aggressive form of melanoma that doesn’t fit the usual criteria – it is often red, pink, brown or black and feels firm to the touch.

I’ve found something unusual – what now? If you notice any of the signs above or anything out of the ordinary on your skin, visit your doctor straight away. More than 95% of skin cancers can be successfully treated if they’re found at early stages. But left untreated, skin cancer can be fatal.

What else can I do to prevent skin cancer? Here’s more good news – it’s never too late to increase your sun protection and cut your cancer risk! Use all five forms of sun protection whenever you’re outdoors – even on cool and cloudy days. That means clothing that covers as much skin as possible, broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses, SPF30 (or higher) broadspectrum, water-resistant sunscreen and taking advantage of shade where you can.

For advice on skin cancer and preventing UV damage on your farm visit au/work. You can also call Cancer Council for information and support 13 11 20.




Applications keep on rolling as VFF stays on the moooove Managing projects is just one of the many ways the VFF help Victorian farmers and it’s proving its worth, with nearly a million dollars heading out the door to applicants.

This initiative has made a real difference to the safety of Victorian farmers, with nearly 1000 operators and farmers now far safer going about their day to day activities, which is a great result for Victorian agriculture.

The VFF is the administrator of two Victorian Government schemes, the Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme and the Cattle Underpass Scheme (CUPS), as well as its own Farmers Fund partner scheme with Coles.

The VFF urges all members and farmers to take up the government offer to make your life and your family’s lives safer.

Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme applications have not slowed at all into 2017 with an average of 50 applicants a week being processed and paid. 949 applications have been processed up to the end of January, totalling $869,362 since the scheme opened on 1 October 2016. Of the total pool of applications, 59 per cent are for Operator Protection Devices (OPDs) and 41 per cent are for replacement side by side vehicles.



The scheme has a total pool of $6,000,000 in funding and is open until 30 September 2018, but if grants continue to be issued at the current levels of around $200,000 per month, then funding will be exhausted before the end of the scheme.

CUPS applications also continue to roll in with nearly 30 now granted authority to commence construction, which will commit funding of nearly $1,000,000. With rural and regional roads also being used by heavy transport and oversized machinery, cattle underpasses offer road users protection from the hazards of large numbers of stock crossing roads. There has so far been one underpass fully completed, which is a great result as the scheme only opened on 1 December, 2016. The




enormous gains in productivity for farmers, due to the reduction in man hours and complexity in getting stock safely across public roads. Farmers Fund applications for the second round have now closed and the panel has finalised judging. Applicants will be advised shortly of the outcome of their submissions. This second round is entirely funded by the sale of the Farmers Fund milk products, distributed by Coles. The pool of funding for this quarter is little over $250,000. This is after the first round was generously kick started with a donation by Coles of $1,000,000, which saw around 70 Victorian farmers awarded grants of up to $20,000 for improvements to their dairy farming operations. Round three of the Farmers Fund will open on the 20 February 2017. ENQUIRIES: Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme - phone 1300 945 030 CUPS and Farmers Fund - phone 1300 882 833.

Meet the VFF team

Bendigo’s membership development team

Mick McCarthy

Lisa Guille

Kim Tupper

Membership Development Representative

Membership Development Representative

Membership Development Co-ordinator

Having grown up as a sheep farmer’s son in the Central Victorian township of Heathcote, Mick has been around farming all his life and is still actively involved in the family farm with his siblings.

Lisa grew up in the Bendigo area and has always had an interest in all things agricultural, having specialist knowledge with her background selling harvest gear and spare parts.

Kim brings a wealth of experience to VFF, having grown up on an orchard and dairy farm in the Goulburn Valley. She has worked in family fertiliser and chemical businesses most of her working life.

Prior to joining the VFF in 2014, Mick was in the banking industry as an Agribusiness Manager for over 15 years. He has been actively involved in many local rural communities, having worked, lived and played sport in towns right across regional Victoria. Mick enjoys the flexibility of the role, getting out on the farms, meeting and talking to members and prospective new members, while promoting the values of the VFF. He enjoys listening to the many stories from all farming commodities and travels across the state promoting the vast number of resources VFF can offer to farmers.

She has been with the team since Jan 2016 and has shown herself to be keen to travel across the state to talk to farmers about a range of topics, from drought to flood and everything in between. Her previous history in business development for the building industry also gives her the ability to be able to chat to farmers from all walks of life and help them grow and develop their business and farm. Lisa loves meeting members face to face, finding out about issues important to them and helping them find solutions through VFF, whether it be workplace relations assistance, or lobbying the government on policies that affect members.

Part of Kim’s ability to chat easily with farmers of all ages has been formed through her background in telecommunications and consultancy. After working for the VFF for nearly three years, she thoroughly enjoys meeting with farmers and getting an understanding of their family business. Talking with the next generation of farmers and making them aware of how they can have a voice through the VFF, is a passion of Kim’s and she enjoys organising events and giving young farmers a way to connect with each other.

Victorian Farmers Federation

Talk to the team today:

Suite 2/145 View Street Bendigo 24 Collins Street Melbourne

Mick 0448 043 806 Lisa 0429 381 997 Kim 0448 043 654

p: 5444 9777 or 1300 882 833 f: 03 9207 5500 e: w:



Own a farm with YAPs A Young Agriculture Professionals (YAPs) membership to the VFF could be the ticket to your dream farm. Did you know that 70 per cent of Victorian agricultural producers are VFF members? Did you know that the average age of farmers is 55? Furthermore, did you know that present day farmers will need to transition off their land sometime in the near future, possibly as soon as two to five years? This sounds like a perfect opportunity for any budding farm entrepreneur to put a few pieces together to snaffle up a dream farm.

Many farmers don’t have children to pass their farm onto and don’t like the idea of selling and losing their emotional connection with the farm they love. In these instances, equity investment arrangements might be a great way to ensure a positive outcome for themselves and a young family. Equity arrangements involve a number of people joining together to become shareholders to mutually own the land, as well as operations. A YAPs membership is the perfect tool to gain access to the world of retiring farmers looking to step back.

The ability for someone to own a farm in their 20s, without inheriting, is more difficult than ever before.

An aspiring farmer could talk to VFF to discover who in their district is of retirement age.

But things are changing and the rise of equity investments could be a great solution to not only get young families on the land, but also provide an innovative succession option for farmers wanting to step back.

Then arrange to meet and let them know you are a clever and motivated person, who has found a solution to get the capital you need (see below) and have the courage to be asking this farmer to go into business with them. It might not work the first time, but after

Currently, any young family with the


vision of owning their farm may need in the ballpark of $5 million. This is one of the reasons why aging regional communities are going to continue to shrink.


multiple attempts, people will know you are serious and opportunities might just start popping up. How do you find investors to back you? You could spend some time googling them or put out an ad on Facebook. Or the other option would be to talk to a farm match-making organisation. Cultivate Farms is one such organisation; they are a social enterprise aiming to rejuvenate regional communities by bringing young families back to a regional community. They connect young families with investors and retiring farmers to own and operate a farm together. The agricultural industry has been crying out for new investment models to transition land between generations. Don’t sit around waiting for someone to find that solution for you – the ball is in your court. Get out there and talk to a retiring farmer. For further information go to www. or email Sam at Sam Marwood Co-founder Cultivate Farms

This year SecondBite rescued over 10 million kilograms of fresh food, enough to provide 20 million healthy meals for people in need.

Fighting hunger across Victoria

- Fresh Select and SecondBite, partners for a cause

“I’d love to help, what can I do?” - that was John Said, Managing Director of Fresh Select’s response on hearing about the work of SecondBite. SecondBite is a national food rescue organisation working with food retailers, wholesalers and producers to divert as much fresh, nutritious food from the waste-stream as possible. SecondBite rescues surplus fresh food and then redistributes it, free of charge, to Australians doing it tough. They work with a network of over 1200 community partners across the country. This year SecondBite rescued over 10 million kilograms of fresh food, enough to provide 20 million healthy meals for people in need. That’s big impact. John’s desire to help those doing it tough is not unusual. SecondBite is supported on a regular basis by Montague Fresh, Inghams, Flavourite, Tenfarms, Geelong Citrus, Chobani, Simplot, Yarra Valley Fresh, Butlers, Picnic Point as well as Fresh Select. SecondBite is the national food rescue partner for Coles and also collects from Woolworths and Aldi. SecondBite rescues surplus fresh produce from over 800 retail outlets and distribution centres nationally. What John did do however, was a little different. Fresh Select brokered a relationship on behalf of SecondBite with the other growers in the Werribee South region. Fresh Select acts as an

aggregating point for produce that is high quality, but not destined for market. SecondBite trucks collect the produce from John’s premises three times a week. John is keen to see much of the produce directed to meet the needs of people in the grower’s local community. SecondBite supports nearly thirty local community partners in the Werribee South region including the Salvation Army, Uniting Care, Whitelion, Rotary and many primary schools and community centres. Beyond the Werribee South region, Fresh Select’s donations are also distributed far and wide across the state. Within 24 hours, Fresh Select produce is feeding people in need in Bendigo, Shepparton, Moe, Newborough, Warragul, Sale, Lochsport, Yarrum, Maffra, Rosedale, Bairnsdale and Lakes Entrance. Current estimates suggest that over 800,000 Victorians run out of food on a regular or daily basis. In light of this frightening statistic, initiatives like Fresh Select’s play a critical role in ensuring that we can feed those who need to be fed, every day. Do you want to make a difference? Do you want to help SecondBite put more healthy meals on empty plates? Call SecondBite on 9376 3800. Jim Mullan CEO SecondBite



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Livestock and ag sales at your fingertips Do you wish you could easily find current livestock listings, upcoming saleyard dates or links to bull and ram sale catalogues all in one place? Perhaps you’re interested in machinery and clearing sales in your area. Well, now you can access all of this information and more on The Herd Online (THO). THO is a new, online platform that’s shaking up traditional ag advertising, It’s very simple to use, which makes it suitable for all ages and tech abilities. Livestock producers and professionals can browse free. Within the five main categories you can search for livestock by breed, type, weight and find sales near you. View saleyard information, up to date entries and pictures pre-sale, or link through to breeder catalogues in the On Farm Livestock Sales section.

Herd Online by speaking to their livestock agent. If you would like to advertise working dogs, horses or farm machinery you can contact Sam at THO directly. Saleyard advertising is managed by THO on behalf of the agent or association, with no charge made until the first vendor entries are received. This allows agents to list and promote their sales well in advance of the sale date and gives buyers the opportunity to plan their buying schedules. Agents also have the flexibility to send through late entries or make revisions all the way up to the date of the sale. Photos can also be embedded in the advertising. Currently there are over 30 livestock agency offices with direct log in access to THO as part of the new subscription for agents. New categories are constantly being added as requested by users, so it’s all systems go, at THO. Download the FREE ‘The Herd Online App now, available on iPhone, iPad or Android. For more information contact Sam:

Catching up with machinery or clearing sales has never been easier with clean, simple ads available on the website or via the free app.

0402 629 747 Facebook Twitter Instagram

Livestock producers can have their livestock sale advertised on The

Sam Levett The Herd Online



It’s the little things Want to develop tourism on your farm? Tiny Houses are the answer. Introducing Shacky – tiny houses specially designed to accommodate short-term visitors on rural properties. Capitalising on the tourism potential of rural land - showcasing the beautiful Australian landscape. First started by Joep Pennartz, a 26-year-old Dutchman with a passion for tiny buildings and sustainable forms of tourism, Shacky was originally a one-man-band, later joined by Rosie Downie.



Experiencing city life in Melbourne for the past five years, after growing up in rural Tasmania, highlighted to Rosie the disconnect between country and city living. “I believe Shacky Tiny Houses have the ability to help bridge this disconnect. Our Tiny Houses are deliberately tiny, which encourages visitors to completely immerse themselves in the surrounding landscape, whilst remaining warm, dry and cosy,” she said. Like everything with Shacky, it’s the little things that make the experience. Shacky encourages users to adopt a minimalistic mindset and go back to basics. Guests have commented on the little things; the pleasure that comes from reading a non-digital book, from watching the sheep graze in the paddocks and from escaping the distractions of city life. Shacky are looking for a new generation of young and innovative landowners to join their community. Their tiny houses are off-grid, with

solar powered electricity, a stateapproved composting toilet and a hot outdoor shower. All you need is a water connection. The Tiny Houses are also relocatable, using certified footings for a secure foundation and cost around $40,000. Based on previous trials, they will provide a return on investment within two years. It’s the small things that count and Shacky want to make the process as easy as possible for you, which is why they offer additional services such as marketing your tiny house and managing your bookings. Your Shacky Tiny House can be installed within a day, which means you can begin hosting guests the next morning. Feel inspired? E-mail and get your free Shacky brochure. See a Tiny House in operation at http:// Joep Pennartz Founder


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Women leaders in agriculture Lisa Dwyer Liane Sayer-Roberts, Director of Sauce Communications, Telstra Business Women’s Award finalist and one of the Emerald Grain and Fairfax Media Top 100 Women in Australian Agriculture, continues shining a spotlight on women leaders in agribusiness in her ongoing series. This edition sees Liane interview dairy farmer and industry leader Lisa Dwyer, former non-Executive Director of Dairy Australia and current nonExecutive Director of LiveCorp. Driven by a tenacity to build a brighter and stronger Australian dairy industry, Lisa discusses what she aims to achieve as a newly-elected Murray Goulburn Board Member and shares her vision for the future of Australian agriculture. What is your original connection to agriculture and what do you love most about working in this industry? In a word; opportunity. Although it is not the easiest way to earn a living when you consider the number of major impacts upon which we have no control, what I love most about agriculture is that the opportunities are limited only by your imagination and determination to pursue them. I fell into agriculture 12 years ago when I was ambushed by a proposal from a dairy farmer and made the fatal mistake of impressing with a new pair of rubber boots. When we started out from scratch, the only thing we owned that was new was probably those boots. We’ve encountered drought, the GFC, disease and the current dairy industry downturn, yet I can’t think of another business or sector where we would have been able to achieve the things that we have outside of dairy farming.



Despite the inevitable volatility that exists within agriculture, I am convinced that the future for Australian agriculture is substantial if we can maintain an unshakeable commitment to constantly improving the way we do things - with an eye to the future rather than the past, and a broader appreciation for how the world in which we live is changing and evolving our businesses and production accordingly. You now run a successful dairy farm yourself – Kangertong Pastoral. What have been your key learnings in that role? There are probably two key learnings. The first is that debt is a truly marvellous motivator and the second is the value of ongoing training and education, (with the second largely being a product of the first). Taking the time and making the effort to attend industry events, discussion groups, undertake formal education and be exposed to people with different experiences, skills, views and objectives all contribute to business decision making that is more informed and hopefully, more likely to achieve ongoing growth and resilience. What did being awarded the Patrick Rowley Australian Rural Leadership Program in 2012 teach you about yourself that you didn’t know when you started?

I learned that there are significant hurdles to overcome in firstly identifying one’s shortcomings before beginning to overcome them, the need to be continually responsive regarding the consideration of ethics, values and social responsibility and the value of reflection and critical thinking in order to achieve progress within an increasingly complex and changing world. You’ve recently been elected to the board at Murray Goulburn – what inspired you to run and what priorities will you aim to address in this new role? I am super enthusiastic about the role that modern co-operatives play in our competitive industry. My belief is that co-operatives are still the most effective way for suppliers to manage their best interests. While incredibly tough times have been felt by dairy farmers around the world in recent times, my view is that our farm gate milk price would be lower still if the co-operative had not put in place a value-add product strategy to offset the impact of this lower price environment. Our co-operative structure enables us to help suppliers navigate through challenging times, as well as ensure they can benefit from opportunities in new products and markets in more normal market conditions. Murray Goulburn was established because ordinary people can achieve a

great deal by working together. It has encountered many very significant challenges throughout its history but Murray Goulburn has endured because ordinary people stuck with it and made it stronger. That is what I intend to do. Is there one piece of career / leadership advice you’ve received that has always stayed with you? Dairy industry legend and Agony Aunt for many women in dairy, Shirley Harlock once said, “If you’re not involved, you’re part of the problem”. Every day I see the symptoms of an agricultural sector not realising its potential because people don’t desire to learn, seek to better understand or grow by entertaining another perspective. Despite the inevitable and unfortunate criticism anyone fulfilling a position of responsibility receives, I’d much rather know that I’ve done my best to make a positive contribution than sit in the safety and anonymity of the sidelines and criticise or worse still, undermine the genuine efforts of others who try. What’s next for Lisa Dwyer? Now that the Murray Goulburn AGM has passed, I will be rolling up my sleeves and drawing on everything I can to consistently deliver the outcomes shareholders deserve. If you know a female agribusiness leader who we should interview, please contact





FEBRUARY Date 21 Feb 2017 Location Melbourne Theme/Title VFF Annual General Meeting Date 26 Feb 2017 Location Horsham Theme/Title 38th Annual VFF Grains Conference MARCH Date 3 March 2017 Location Serpentine Theme/Title Your sheep: a seasonal guide to what’s next

NDAR 2017



Date 7 March 2017 Location Tallangatta Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 7 - 9 March 2017 Location Longerenong Theme/Title Wimmera Machinery Field Days Date 8 March 2017 Location Mansfield Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 29 March - 2 April 2017 Location Melbourne Theme/Title Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show Date 31 March 2017 Location Horsham Theme/Title Your goats: a seasonal guide to what’s next


For more information or to register for events, visit or call member services on 1300 882 833.

Date April 2017 Location Bairnsdale Theme/Title Your stock: a seasonal guide to what’s next Date April 2017 Location Bendigo Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 27 April 2017 Location Cobram Theme/Title Regional policy forum



MAY Date 9 May 2017 Location Mildura Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 10 May 2017 Location Cohuna Theme/Title Regional policy forum

Date 11 May 2017 Location Melbourne Theme/Title Heart of Victoria dinner Date 12 May 2017 Location Melbourne Theme/Title UDV Annual Conference and Meeting Date 13 May 2017 Location Melbourne Theme/Title AFL Country Game Date May 2017 Location Alexandra Theme/Title Your cattle: a seasonal guide to what’s next Date May 2017 Location Inverleigh Theme/Title Your stock: a seasonal guide to what’s next

JUNE Date 8 June 2017 Location Melbourne Theme/Title VFFIA AGM Date 14 June 2017 Location Mornington Peninsula Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 15 June 2017 Location Leongatha Theme/Title Regional policy forum

Date 21 June 2017 Location Omeo Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date June 2017 Location Hopetoun Theme/Title Your sheep: a seasonal guide to what’s next Date June 2017 Location Kaniva Theme/Title Your sheep: a seasonal guide to what’s next

JULY Date 11 July 2017 Location Warracknabeal Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 12 July 2017 Location Hamilton Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 18 July 2017 Location Ballarat Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 19 July 2017 Location Terang Theme/Title Regional policy forum

AUGUST Date 2 August 2017 Location Yarra Valley Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 8 August 2017 Location Geelong Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 9 August 2017 Location Werribee Theme/Title Regional policy forum

Date 20 June 2017 Location Bairnsdale Theme/Title Regional policy forum



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Welfare is at a critical point Victorian farmers are worried they could be crippled by red tape if the State Government goes ahead with its plan to overhaul animal welfare regulations.

The Andrews Government’s draft fiveyear action plan into Improving the Welfare of Animals in Victoria advocates introducing a new duty of care requirement that demands all animals have ‘a life worth living’ and would require farmers to treat humanely pest animals and native wildlife. The Victorian Farmers Federation has criticised the plan as ‘too vague’ with its stipulation that farmers would have to ensure “the balance of an animal’s experiences over its lifetime must be positive to the animal itself”. “No-one is denying that animals deserve fair treatment, but there is a real lack of detail in what the government expects farmers to do to ensure animals are treated humanely,” VFF President David Jochinke said. “The government’s plan doesn’t distinguish between productive animals and household pets, even though the intention of the plan is to protect domestic animals from cruelty.” The VFF has warned of the danger of confusing companion animals with

those used for productive purposes, with the farmer organisation raising concerns the plan would be a drain on farm productivity. Mr Jochinke said primary producers already assumed responsibility for reporting acts of alleged animal cruelty and that the government’s proposal would hurt the agriculture industry in its current form. “Farmers are taking responsibility not only for their own animals but also ensuring that other animals are being looked after,” Mr Jochinke said. The government says its plan was prompted by rising claims of animal welfare abuses and public expectations, arguing that “animal welfare matters to animals…[and] determines how we regard ourselves, and are regarded as a society”. The VFF has committed to keep negotiating with the Victorian Government to make it easier for farmers to adhere to the proposed animal welfare plan, if it goes ahead.



To change your future, shift your

perspective Morgans Melbourne – Seminar Program Financial advice in a volatile world It seems every time we open a newspaper or watch the news there’s an increase in the volatility and uncertainty in the world. Be this instability in the European communities, oil producing nations, or simply domestic politics, the availability of information allows Financial Markets to react almost immediately. Not only does this highlight the necessity of effective and efficient communication channels with your Financial Adviser, but stresses the importance of their knowledge and ability to extract the highest financial leverage from the situation unfolding.

Politics and investing The latest addition to the developing landscape has been a change to international politics – President Donald J. Trump. Naturally, the ‘nature of the beast’ has divided the investing public. Some believing a businessman directing America will assist an already improving


Find out more Morgans Melbourne

economy, others possessing the view that his personality characteristics are not suited. Regardless of one’s perspective, it again clarifies the importance of quality information flow and informed financial decisions.

Seminar program Tallangatta, Wodonga, Mansfield, St. Arnaud, Rupanyup and Warracknabeal

Stockbroker and Financial Planner

Staying informed

Late April/Early May

With an increased team, Morgans have decided to accelerate our Seminar program for 2017, allowing us to reach all corners of the state. While exact dates and venues will be confirmed to members via the VFF website and flyers posted to members in the immediate areas, below is a guide to the areas we will be visiting in the first half of 2017. Additional seminars are likely to be added throughout this period, so please watch for any updates. Similarly, if you would like us to present to your local branch members, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Late March/Early April

Bridgewater, Bendigo, Cobram and Yarrawonga Late May/Early June

Mildura, Cohuna and Kerang Late June/Early July

Mornington Peninsula, Leongatha, Bairnsdale, Omeo and Maffra. At these events we aim to cover many elements of financial markets including: § § § § § §

Current market themes Superannuation Borrowing funds to invest Portfolio construction New developments in the market Investment opportunities

These are interesting evenings for members and guests alike. Wishing you all a successful 2017 and looking forward to catching up throughout the year.

Morgans and CIMB – Please visit to understand the products and services within our alliance. Morgans Financial Limited ABN 49 010 669 726 AFSL 235410 A Participant of ASX Group A Professional Partner of the Financial Planning Association of Australia


Josh Jones Authorised Representative: 345984

Telephone 03 9947 4130 melbourne

An electronic advantage Changing the Victorian sheep and goat ear tag system to electronic identification (eID) is an opportunity. eID will improve livestock traceability, market access and biosecurity, and limit the damage to industry in the event of a disease outbreak or food safety emergency. The new system will be cost-neutral for livestock producers. The only change on-farm is applying an electronic ear tag to lambs or kids born on or after 1 January 2017 instead of the old visual ear tag. The VFF has worked closely with

the Victorian Government to ensure there is no financial impact on-farm during implementation and to provide safeguards to guarantee supply chain costs don’t affect livestock producers in the future. The government has promised a $17 million funding package over five years to transition sheep and goat industries to an eID system.

livestock identification system needs to be nationally consistent and it’s a concern that Victoria is the only state implementing eID. There is also a community obligation to contribute to the cost of preventative action around biosecurity and traceability because a major livestock disease outbreak ultimately affects everyone, not just farmers.

$7.7 million of this funding will subsidise the cost of electronic tags for producers in the first year, with the remaining funds going to infrastructure and co-funded equipment grants and an education program across the supply chain. The government must uphold its commitment that Victorian sheep and goat producers are not disadvantaged by the new system. Australia’s



Technology of the future Exciting times lie ahead for the red meat industry in 2017, with new carcass measurement technology set to be implemented in all AUS-MEAT-registered processing facilities, across Australia. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) technology measures the weight of carcass tissues and primal cuts, without the need to cut into the carcass. The technology can be used by processors to increase boning room efficiency and provide opportunities for automation, as well as stimulate advances in genetics and livestock production systems. Because of its speed, accuracy and reliability, it has the potential to revolutionise the supply chain and carcass grading issues. The technology has already been used in areas such as healthcare and sports science.



This change will also see the industry improve its domestic and international competitiveness. The VFF Livestock Group has thrown its support behind a push by Meat and Livestock Australia to take out a $150 million commercial loan to install the DEXA technology in up to 90 plants, but would like to see more detail around the funding structure. Livestock President, Leonard Vallance, said the new technology would lead to genetic and farm management decisions that would improve returns to the farm gate, as well as improve relationships across the supply chain. “Objective carcass measurement will help increase trust between processors and producers and achieve farm production benefits with precise carcass feedback, so that will improve returns to the farm gate,� he said. Originally recommended by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, following their interim report into competition in the beef industry, this proposal has been endorsed by many industry stakeholders. The new technology will commence rolling out across these registered processing facilities in 2017, but there has been no timeline released for its completion.

Q fever – what are the risks for you? Q fever is a flulike disease that can be caught by humans through direct or indirect contact with infected animals or animal products. The disease can be carried by cattle, sheep and goats as well as feral animals such as bandicoots, rats and mice.

People who are most at risk include those who work with livestock, such as farmers and farm employees, abattoir workers, veterinarians, shearers, contactors and livestock transporters.

is concerned about the increase in the reported cases of Q fever.

infection normally lasting two to six weeks.

“Every year, about 600 cases of Q fever are reported across Australia, so this is a massive issue for industry,” he said.

VFF recently announced a campaign, which aims to raise awareness about the impacts of Q fever on human health and highlight the importance of vaccination against the disease. This will be delivered through a range of workshops and educational material.

The bacterium responsible for Q fever (Coxiella burnetii) is found in the milk, faeces, urine and birth fluids of infected animals.

Cases have been reported where the disease has developed into chronic Q fever, in some cases needing hospital admission. Symptoms for chronic Q fever are similar, but much more severe.

Livestock President, Leonard Vallance Q fever transmits to people by:

The disease causes flu-like symptoms which, when severe can prevent normal day to day activities, with the

To avoid contracting the disease, strict hygiene practises must be put in place, both on-farm and in businesses that come into contact with livestock. Ensure you, your family members and staff are vaccinated against Q fever.

Q fever symptoms

Chronic Q fever symptoms

Inhaling contaminated dust particles or waste products


Muscle pain

Contact with soiled straw, wool or hair


Intense headaches

Drinking unpasteurised milk

Joint pain


Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea

High fever

Sensitivity to light

Severe fatigue

Severe fatigue Weight loss For more information, please contact Livestock Health & Biosecurity Victoria’s Catherine James on 0418 360 470, or Kimberley Henman 0428 580 476, Visit or follow us on Twitter or Facebook @vffLHBV



Your Telstra update

from Area General Managers, Steve Tinker and Loretta Willaton

At Telstra Country Wide we are very pleased to be able to provide a further update to all Victorian Farmers Federation members and wish you a successful and safe 2017. Universal Service Obligation The Productivity Commission has released a draft report on the future of the universal service obligation (USO). You can read the draft here: Telstra is supportive of changes to the USO if they improve the experience for customers, particularly those in rural and remote Australia. While may be able to take on the responsibility of delivering the USO after their network rollout is complete, they are not likely to be in a position to do so at the moment. There also needs to be careful consideration of relying on satellite solution, Sky Muster, to deliver the USO’s Standard Telephone Service to the most remote locations in Australia. Satellite technology can often face challenges of availability and voice quality. We recommend that Telstra, the Government and investigate how Sky Muster can be optimised for voice. Once that work is done, the Government should review Sky Muster’s suitability for the delivery of the USO. Overall Telstra’s positon is that any change to the USO must ensure that rural and remote customers continue to have confidence in the availability of a voice service and know that any USO transition will be planned and executed carefully We fully support the Productivity Commission’s recommendation regarding payphones and we remain open to beginning negotiations with Government. As we have said previously, removing the payphone obligation may reduce the funding needed for the USO, creating opportunities for telcos to make additional investments in their mobile networks. Mobile Black Spot Programme The Federal Government has announced Round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Programme late in 2016, with a further 16 Telstra sites to be built in Victoria – this will make a total of 126 locations covered by the program. The Mobile Black Spot Programme involves investment of around $600 million in mobile services for regional Australia, with $228.7 million from Telstra, $152 million from the Federal Government and tens of millions in targeted additional funding from State and Local Governments.



Co-investment such as this is working, and as of the end of January 2017 we had completed and switched on 92 sites nationally, with around one third of these in Victoria. 2017 is going to be a big year for the Mobile Blackspot programme, providing much needed new coverage and connectivity to regional and rural communities. Telstra’s Mobile Black Spot Programme website can be found at: Round 1 of the Programme. Round 2 details of the programme will be released during 2017. Constructing hundreds of mobile base stations across our vast nation doesn’t happen overnight and the Mobile Black Spot Programme has a three year rollout and funding timeframe. Commitment to Regional & Rural Australia We are all in fierce agreement that 2017 is set to be a big year for regional telecommunications. We are very proud to be part of a company that is actually rolling up its sleeves and investing in rural and regional Australia. We’ve announced plans that could see up to $1 billion of investment and co-investment to grow and enhance our regional mobile network over the next five years. We are making this investment because the current levels of competition in the mobile space encourage us to do so. Service Help If you have contacted our front of house team via the phone, online or in store and you are not satisfied with the response. Contact your TCW team via email on the following email addresses: • Gippsland and Eastern Victoria - • Northern and Western Victoria - Thanks again for your support Telstra Area General Manager Western Victoria Steve Tinker and Telstra Area General Manager Eastern Victoria Loretta Willaton

Reaching a new high As a passionate beef producer, Maureen Cottam believes there is room to use technology inside the farm gate to keep improving reproductive rates in the beef industry. Assessing bull fertility, prior to joining, has increased conception rates and the number of calves hitting the ground each autumn on Maureen’s property, east of Benalla in North East Victoria.

Maureen can get accurate semen test results in the field in less than a minute, with the help of technician Trevor Mason. Trevor uses the QwikCheck™ Gold Bull sperm quality analyser which evaluates bull fertility on site, providing timely and detailed information which Maureen uses as the final check before giving each bull the ‘ok’ before joining. “This technology provides more detailed information than crush-side semen evaluation using a microscope and avoids having to send samples to a laboratory, which can be expensive and has a two to three week turnaround time.” Maureen said.

shortening the joining and calving period and the ability to sell tighter lines of calves. Given bull fertility can vary from yearto-year, Maureen encourages beef producers to consider how they can use technology to help make informed decisions.

IMAGE: Inspecting the technology in action at Maureen’s property (L to R): Mark Ritchie, VFF Livestock Council; Maureen Cottam, VFF Member and beef producer; Trevor Mason, Technician; Richard Apps, MLA Program Manager Genetics.

Additional benefits have followed for Maureen’s breeding herd, such as



Chicken or the egg? Protection from disease Late last year, a nasty strain of Avian Influenza (AI), highly pathogenic H5N8, spread throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia with 18 countries affected. At the same time South Korea had a simultaneous outbreak of highly pathogenic H5N6 which has resulted in over 22.5 million birds being euthanised in order to try and control the disease. This was after the United States of America experienced an epidemic outbreak of AI the year before, which caused shortages in supplies of eggs, chicken meat and turkeys and saw 10 per cent of the birds in the egg industry destroyed. Amongst all of these catastrophes, Australia remains one of the few nations to be free of the highly infection strains of AI which can affect humans. Remaining free of these strains of AI



protects Australians and gives Australia a competitive trade advantage. Australia has managed to remain free of the most dangerous strains of the disease, through a combination of world-class biosecurity measures and the differing migratory pattern of birds to other countries. In Asia, Europe and the United States the disease is frequently spread by migrating waterfowl, which makes the disease difficult to predict and control. It just so happens that these waterfowl rarely migrate into Australia, protecting us. This means that unlike most other nations, Australia’s biggest risk is from importation of bird products from affected countries. The Federal Government secures Australia’s borders by ensuring no untreated chicken meat or eggs are imported from Australia from any country with the disease, without permission. At the moment only New Zealand can import fresh chicken meat or eggs and the birds must have been hatched and raised in New Zealand and pass stringent testing before the product makes it to Australia. On farm, poultry producers maintain their own biosecurity in a number of ways - by keeping wild birds away

from the farm’s chickens, ensuring protocols are in place to prevent disease transmission between flocks of birds and by limiting access to farms, logging every visitor that does come onto the farm. How can you help? When visiting a farm with chickens, let the farmer know you are there and avoid going near the sheds unless told to by the farmer. If you have chickens or ducks of your own, let the farmer know before you visit their farm. If you have a few chickens or ducks in the backyard, even if you don’t live near a farm, you should tell your vet as soon as your birds get sick, so you can get a swift diagnosis and prevent the spread of any potential disease. To report any notifiable disease (including Avian Influenza or Foot-andmouth disease) call the Emergency Animal Disease Watch Hotline on 1800 675 888. Ensuring the government is aware of any diagnosis of high pathogenic AI means measures and alerts can be put in place in case of an outbreak. Australia is the lucky country when it comes to AI, but it is not a given that we will remain lucky. Chicken Meat and Egg Farmers are committed to ensuring Australians have safe, nutritious products for their tables and a key message they’d like to share is – ‘if in doubt, it is better to check.’

Confusion reigns on planning permits Over the past few years, multiple court cases across different industries - poultry, pigs and livestock, have highlighted the confusion as to what is an intensive farm under the Victorian planning scheme. These cases have prompted the State Government to review the definition of Intensive Animal Husbandry in the planning scheme.

What exactly is an intensive farm under the Victorian planning scheme and which industries need a planning permit?

The review found that the current definition was confusing for both producers and planners. The government has committed to changing the definitions in the planning scheme to clarify which farming activities will need a planning permit. Under the current definition, Intensive Animal Husbandry is: ‘Land used to keep or breed farm animals, including birds, by importing most food from outside the enclosures’. What ‘most food’ means is often difficult to interpret, particularly for animals who can’t survive off grazing, such as chickens and pigs.

Planners have also stated that it is a difficult definition to pin down when assessing a planning application. The government is looking to replace the term Intensive Animal Husbandry with Commercial Animal Farming in the planning scheme, with a new definition. Under this, certain industries will be singled out as definitely requiring a planning permit, no matter what the size of their operation. Egg farms, piggeries, feedlots and broiler farms will all require a permit. However, whether semi-intensive livestock producers will need a planning permit or not, is still up in the air. The VFF has been in discussions with the government about the impact of these changes on various industries. Feedback now needs to be provided on how these changes could affect your future or current plans. If you feel passionately about this change, please get in contact for further information or to give feedback on 1300 882 833 or



Who needs Three Phase Power? We may have the perfect solution: TRiiiON Single to Three Compliant Phases Converter Will enable Three Phase operations on Single Phase Electricity Distribution Networks (including SWER)

If you operate your facility on Diesel, this may be an opportunity to decrease fuel costs; If you need a Three Phase back up generator- This is the enabler for Three Phase operations. Designed and manufactured in Victoria, Patented around the world. Call us for initial consultation on 1300TRiiiON, or visit our website at and fill in the survey, we will then make contact

UDV regional staff up and running



The three new regional UDV coordinators have been kicking goals by visiting UDV members and attending a number of events in recent months. They were appointed late last year, to engage with and support dairy farmers, helping to identify and help with both local and industry issues. If you haven’t already met the team, please get in touch and get an update on UDV’s activities, Alison, Peter and Ebony can think of nothing better than to chat about the issues important to you. • A  lison Lee – South West Victoria Contact: 0428 592 856 • P  eter Costello – Northern Victoria Contact: 0428 870 746 • E bony Arms – Gippsland Contact: 0428 865 692

Left to right: Alison Lee, Peter Costello and Ebony Arms

Negotiating energy

The VFF, through our dairy commodity, UDV, has recently explored energy options for dairy farms in a feasibility study conducted in South-west Victoria through a funding grant from the New Energy Jobs Fund. Negotiaction, a consulting firm specialising in energy and resources, co-ordinated the feasibility study focusing on seven dairy farms in the Tyrendarra region. The study looked at whether energy storage would be cost-effective in overcoming residual power issues associated with Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) lines. It was initially thought that dairy farmers were competing with other dairy farmers on the same SWER line for enough power to run their dairies. However it was found that they did not compete with each other for power and as such, storage solutions were not able to be considered within the scope of the original project. More importantly, it was found that even though they are not competing with other dairy farms for power along their respective SWER lines, all dairy operators being serviced by SWER lines in or around Tyrendarra are constrained or affected, to some extent. The study analysed the impacts of running the dairy and vat on peak load to identify whether growth is being impacted by the power limit at peak load on three growth cases (small growth: herd size growing up to 400 cows, medium growth: herd size growing up to 400 – 550 cows and large growth: herd size exceeding 550 cows.) The study found that dairy farms on a SWER line cannot readily expand

herd size beyond the milk storage capabilities of their vats. In other words, a dairy’s ability to expand is restricted by its milk storage capacity and this capacity cannot be increased beyond the energy constraints imposed by SWER lines, without intervention. Government programs that offer rebates to upgrade power supply infrastructure to three-phase power from either SWER or single-phase lines are crucial for the large growth case ie dairy farms exceeding 550 cows. A similar program that works to provide solutions for the small and medium growth cases (up to 550 cows) is also needed. In particular, a program that focuses on supporting dairy farmers on SWER lines to upgrade dairy systems and vat sizes would be extremely valuable. The final report has been presented to the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport & Resources (DEDJTR) and UDV is now working with the department and investigating possible options for enhancing power quality and supply across regional Victoria. UDV will continue to lobby for investment in power supply upgrades to enable Victorian dairy farmers to implement new technology and invest in the necessary equipment to improve their operation and the viability of their farm.



Future dairy leaders keen to learn the Kiwi way Six future dairy leaders from across the state have been selected for the 2017 Gardiner Dairy Foundation UDV New Zealand Study Tour. Participants toured the South Island of New Zealand for eight days in early February. The itinerary included visits to dairy farms, research and processing facilities and the Federated Farmers of New Zealand to discuss some of the policy issues for dairy across the ditch. The VFF, UDV and Gardiner Dairy Foundation congratulate the selected participants who represent the diversity of Victoria’s dairy industry and look forward to seeing what they learn from this fantastic opportunity.

Alistair Harris Alistair is currently the Manager and a partner of Writhgil Pty Ltd, a 600 cow pasture based dairy farm at Larpent, also carrying 180 heifers and rearing 200 female calves each year. Alistair studied an Advanced Diploma of Agriculture at University of Melbourne (Dookie) and is heavily involved in the Larpent community including the Fire Brigade and hall committee and has been a previous Chairman of the Colac Young Dairy Development Program.

Janelle Fisher Janelle is currently Assistant Relationship Manager at Westpac Agribusiness in Warrnambool, whilst also running a 50/50 share-farm with her partner in South West Victoria. Janelle has completed a Diploma in Agriculture, Diploma in Agronomy, an Advanced Diploma in Agribusiness and has completed the Emerging Dairy Leaders Program. She also assists facilitating at her local discussion group, with a focus on using Dairy Base.

Denise Jones Denise is currently Herd Manager at Homebush Pastoral Company, a 900 cow dairy farm in Gippsland. Denise has completed her Advanced Diploma through NCDE and is currently completing a Bachelor of Agribusiness Management through CSU in Wagga Wagga. She has also been actively involved in the local young farmer group and the Young Dairy Development Program (YDDP, now known as YDNA).

Lauren Peterson Lauren is currently managing Gratton’s Gate, a 140 cow dairy farm she and her partner lease. They have been building the farm up since 2014, after the purchase of 30 cows. Lauren has just completed a Bachelor of Human and Community Services majoring in Psychology and is currently enrolled in a Diploma in Agriculture, majoring in Dairy Production. She is an active member of the South West Young Dairy Network and is currently completing the National Rural Women’s Coalition Farm Sustainability Program.

Evan Campbell After completing a Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne, Evan worked in the Middle East for five years. He returned to Australia in 2014 and has since been working as a senior farmhand on a family owned dairy operation in Gippsland. During this time, he has completed Certificate IV in Agriculture and participates in local YDNA events and discussion groups. Evan has been rearing heifers for the past 18 months in preparation for his next step in the industry.



Nick Minogue Nick is currently a Farm Manager on his family-owned 180 cow dairy farm at Katandra, in Northern Victoria. Nick completed a Bachelor of Agriculture at the University of Melbourne and during his last year also completed a Certificate IV in Agriculture through NCDE. He is actively involved in his local YDN and discussion groups and is the treasurer of the Goulburn Valley Vintage Tractor and Farm Machinery Club.

Don’t take risks. Before excavation work always Dial Before You Dig.

Remember to Always Dial Before You Dig Dial Before You Dig is a free service that puts farmers in contact with owners of underground pipes and cables that may run through and around rural properties. It is essential to lodge an enquiry with Dial Before You Dig before any excavation work as the presence or location of underground assets may not be known to landowners. Minor excavation activities can cause major damages to these underground networks. Farmers can lodge an enquiry online at or by calling 1100 during business hours. You will receive plans providing details about underground assets including information on how to work safely around them. Dial Before You Dig is a proud supporter of the Victorian Farmers Federation.

The Essential First Step. VICTORIAN FARMER | Summer 2017


A perfect storm A symphony of favourable spring weather conditions saw the tremendous increase in winter crop production, compared to that of previous years, marking the 2016/17 Victorian harvest as one of the most notable, since the close of the Millennium Drought. Growers state-wide experienced sizeable crops across the board, more than doubling the Victorian production of wheat and barley from the previous 2015/16 season. This was all the more notable, given the crop losses incurred through the tail end of the season due to flooding and storm damage. Victoria has ended up with a record finish to the season producing approximately 4.6 million tonnes of



wheat and 2.5 million tonnes of barley.

the already low market for feed grains.

It was one of the latest harvest finishes on record, with some still harvesting in February. Coupled with an unprecedented large production volume, growers and marketers continue to be faced with the logistical and pricing challenges that are evolving as a result of the record production season.

The VFF has actively worked to overcome many of the road and rail challenges impacting the transport sector of the supply chain. Notable successes regarding supply chain transport have included the work of the VFF towards:

The larger than normal harvest has forced much grain on-farm, not only into silos and bags, but also sheds and in some cases makeshift bunkers on the ground, simply to cope with the sheer volume of harvested grain. Logistical problems have started to emerge such as heat restrictions on rail, slowing the movement of grain and the Geelong terminal blocking out due to vessels failing survey. Low market prices have also been a predominant feature of the 2016/17 harvest. The perfect storm of large carry-out of world grain stocks, coupled with phenomenal overseas and Australian winter crop production volumes, has seen the global grain market in a price slump. Further weather damaged crops, specifically barley, only worked to worsen

• S  ecuring 10 per cent of the Port of Melbourne sale in 2016 to fund the Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund •  Achieving funding for the Murray Basin Rail Project •  Rezoning multiple roads in the Mildura Council, to allow for higher mass vehicles • Working with VicRoads to provide a Gazette Notice for Class O Field Bins, exempting the need for a permit VFF Grains are continuing to work with industry, government and producers alike to address the pricing, marketing, quality, hygiene and logistical challenges for the year ahead. It is also probable that this will be the first year in many, where farmers will carry-out production into the following year and have yet to start cropping for 2017/18.

Off-label under threat Proposed changes to current chemical use regulations could see farmers and vets disadvantaged, with their ability to use chemicals in an ‘off-label’ manner under threat. The VFF is lobbying for the need to preserve the rights of Victorian agricultural and veterinary users, with adequate training and knowledge, to

The right to use chemicals in this ‘offlabel’ manner is critical to maintaining farm profitability and efficiency for all Victorian farmers.

considering the national co-ordination of functions such as training and record keeping within the chemical use regulations, to increase transparency and traceability across all states and jurisdictions.

The Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Regulations which currently protect the rights of Victorian farmers, is being reviewed in 2017.

However, the ability to use chemicals in an ‘off-label’ fashion is not a national regulation. The right to do so is protected by Victorian state regulations.

An extensive review is now underway to look at improvements which will better cater to the needs of agriculture and veterinary chemical users, state-wide.

The outcomes of the current review process for the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Regulations will be confirmed and circulated to the VFF membership in mid-2017.

use chemicals in ways that differ from that specified on the actual label.

The Victorian Government is currently

SPONSORS The grains group is proudly sponsored by: CORPORATE PARTNERS






marvelous, it’s show time! Melbournians are well aware, when the fences are put around the Carlton Gardens and the iconic orange gerbera logo is placarded around the city, the flower industry is in town and ready to put on a show!

the-scenes footage of growers and their farms. An equally exciting exhibit with a difference is the Sky Full of Blooms, a competition where teams of growers and florists will produce aerial hanging installations. This part of the show is particularly important as it encourages and promotes a healthy working relationship between the growers, suppliers and florists. The visiting public



29 Ma r c h – 2 A p r il 2017 Royal Exhibition Building & Carlton Gardens Ins p ira tio na l L a nd s c a p e D e s i g ns • Bol d Fl or a l Ins t a l l a t i ons Fre sh Cul i na r y A d ve nt ur e s • Innova t i ve Ga r d e ni ng Pr od uc t s

Immerse Your Senses is the theme in 2017, with the obvious visually and fragrantly attractive floral exhibits, as well as delicious high tea sessions and flower-arranging workshops on offer.

is invited to vote for the best work, with the assistance of roving Flowers Vic ambassadors. This promises to be a unique display that is sure to impress.

This year Flowers Victoria is particularly excited to showcase local flowers with several elements throughout the hall aiming to educate and engage with visitors.

Following from last year’s successful flower market, ‘The Petal Project by Flowers Vic’ will give visitors the chance to purchase fresh locally grown flowers as a keepsake.

This includes the launch of the Flowers Vic YouTube channel in the Growers Greenhouse, which will screen behind-

Flower recipe cards will be included with the purchase of bundled blooms, giving visitors the chance to extend


Students from Box Hill TAFE will also be involved in ‘The Petal Project’ as part of Flowers Vic’s commitment to ensure the future of the industry is also supported. The idea behind each planned element is to highlight to consumers the importance of supporting local growers and florists in order to maintain and grow the industry - and our members.

Now in its 22nd year, The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, also fondly known as MIFGS, will stage the latest in trends and design to over 100,000 visitors from 29 March to 2 April. With the Royal Exhibition Building playing host to Flowers Victoria and the Nursery and Garden Industry Victoria (NGIV) occupying the surrounding outdoor grounds, the show is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere.

the experience of the show into their homes via the art of hobbyist floristry. This market fulfills a number of objectives by highlighting the quality, range of flower lines and where they are grown, as well as raising funds for Flowers Vic to promote flower-buying activity throughout the remainder of the year.

G a r d en s by Twilight, Friday 31 Marc h 6pm – 9:30pm

Tickets from: r a c v. c o m . a u / t i c k e t s m e l b f l o w e r sh o w. c o m . a u @melb flowershow #melb flowershow

The objective of Flowers Vic in 2017 is to ensure every business or organisation sponsoring or offering their products at the show, see the long-term commercial benefit. It’s also a chance to celebrate and display the many talented and hardworking characters that make up the floriculture industry. Part of this celebration is the very popular annual industry cocktail party, which will be held during the evening of Thursday 30 March. All of the industry is invited, with the added incentive for Flowers Vic members to receive a discounted ticket price. Members should expect to receive invitations in the mail closer to the date, however any queries should be directed to Anastasia Volpe at Flowers Victoria via email,au or mobile 0418 282 875.


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A taxing way to start the New Year Victorian horticulture producers have scrambled to reassess their staffing requirements after the year kicked off with the Federal Government’s new 15 per cent tax on working holiday makers.

“The agriculture sector has faced unfair stress because decision makers in Canberra played politics with our livelihoods for so long that many farmers have been unable to find labour for this season’s harvest.”

Farmers employing backpackers for seasonal labour had to register as employers with the Australian Tax Office (ATO) before January 31 to avoid withholding tax at the larger nonresident tax rate of 32.5 per cent on 417 and 462 visa holders, as well as other penalties.

As part of the deal, the government agreed to reduce the tax on backpacker superannuation from 95 per cent down to 65 per cent and allocate $100 million to the environmental Landcare program.

Victorian Farmers Federation Horticulture Vice President Emma Germano said the industry was relieved to see an end to the backpacker tax saga after 18 months of bitter political debate so farmers could prepare their businesses to accommodate working holiday makers. “We’re pleased to finally have a result that will restore certainty to the agriculture industry, although there has been significant damage already that will take months to repair,” Ms Germano said.



The struggle over the tax came to a tense climax on the final parliamentary sitting day last year, with Federal Treasurer Scott Morrison doing a horse-trade with the Greens to get a 15 per cent tax rate across the line after the Government’s original tax plan was railroaded by Opposition and crossbench senators.

The VFF and its partner organisation the National Farmers Federation consistently fought for a compromise tax rate on backpackers as a way to ensure Australia doesn’t lose a reliable labour source to neighbouring countries. More than 40,000 visa holders work in the agriculture industry each year and bring in around $3.5 billion to the Australian economy. But the number of working holiday makers coming to Australia took a hit while the saga dragged on and

Ms Germano said the horticulture industry now faced the frustrating task of rebuilding its reputation among backpackers as a desirable destination. “We have seen a decline in backpacker numbers to Australia since the tax was announced in the 2015 budget and now we have to pick up the pieces following this mess. “It’s not ideal, but it’s the reality we’re faced with,” she said New registration forms for employers are now available on the ATO website. Important to remember: 1. You must register with the ATO in order to provide the 15 per cent tax rate to 417 and 462 visa holders. If you have not registered then you must use the foreign resident withholding rate of 32.5 per cent from the first dollar. 2. You must provide a statement to all employees on termination or at the end of the financial year with the two different tax rates listed. For more information go to the ATO website: business/your-workers/ employers-of-working-holidaymakers/

Risks do not outweigh the benefits Recent media reports and court cases have highlighted the risks associated with utilising labour hire providers who undercut statutory wages and conditions of workers they supply to farms. The VFF Workplace Relations Department has been active over the past two and a half years warning members of the legal risks associated with commercial labour hire arrangements that may lead to noncompliance of workplace laws. The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) is routinely demonstrating its willingness to use accessorial liability provisions under the Fair Work Act to penalise rogue labour hire operators in Victoria and in turn prosecute host farms. Recently, a Victorian business in the cleaning industry had to recoup more than $130,000 dollars in underpayments and a sole director and HR Manager of the host company were

handed more than $25,000 in individual penalties, despite the underpayments relating to the contractor. The contracting business had made illegal deductions and falsified documents to conceal the deductions. What this decision shows, is that the FWO will use accessorial liability provisions of the Fair Work Act to penalise host employers and to individually target directors and staff of businesses who engage in illegal practices. Recent media exposure has also highlighted that negative media coverage on the issue can have a detrimental impact on your business. The FWO and the court system hold an extremely dim view of labour hire arrangements that result in workers not receiving their statutory entitlements. What VFF members should take away from recent court decisions and media exposure is that: The FWO is increasing their use of accessorial liability provisions to target employers who use unscrupulous labour hire suppliers In order to act as a deterrent, the FWO is specifically targeting and fining individuals who are party to

the underpayment of workers The FWO and other parties will  name and shame businesses under suspicion of non-compliance. They will pursue any businesses that involve themselves with labour hire operators who do not pay statutory entitlements to their own workers. VFF members must be aware that even though you are not the legal employer of workers supplied by labour hire – accessorial liability provisions can rope you into the non-compliance of a labour hire provider. Members must also be aware that reputational risk is also associated with unscrupulous labour hire providers. It is essential to exercise caution whether or not commercial service fees and charge rates issued by the contractor/ labour hire provider are adequate for the contractor to meet their obligations, under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) to their own staff. Be wary of charge rates offered to you by contract labour suppliers- and remember - if it sounds too good to be true then it probably is. For more information all members are urged to contact the VFF Workplace Relations Department hotline on 1300 442 481 or



t e e w s o s t o n Strawberries Underpaying workers is not worth the risk, as proven recently in a Queensland court. A Queensland strawberry farmer was penalised nearly $70,000 and ordered to improve their workplace practices by the Federal Circuit Court, after legal action by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) was taken. The FWO found that six overseas workers who were on working holiday



visas, had been underpaid a total of $2,601 when the company’s farm was audited. The company had a history of underpayment - in 2013 the FWO required the company to back pay nine employees more than $21,000. Caution letters were also received by the company from the FWO. In the letter of caution it placed the company on notice that any further breaches could result in enforcement action. Of the six employees who had underpayment claims, one employee

was not paid for 39 hours of work and five employees were not paid the double time rates they were entitled to, for working on public holidays over the Easter holiday period. The random audit that discovered the underpayments was part of the FWO’s national Harvest Trail Inquiry, which is currently still in operation throughout Australia. For any further information about pay rates or entitlement for your employees please contact the Workplace Relations hotline on 1300 442 481 or email

Scrap slow review Two large employer groups have joined forces with the ACTU requesting the Federal Government to scrap the legislative requirement for the four yearly review of all awards. The review commenced three years ago and is still in progress, with common issues such as the ACTU claim for 10 days domestic violence leave to be inserted into all awards. The penalties common issue is still to be heard, with other common issues still not finalised. The review of the awards is very labour intensive and the VFF and NFF and other employer groups are constantly trying to defend the existing conditions

in the Horticulture and Pastoral Awards during the award review process. The VFF believes that the four yearly review should be scrapped. One of the decisions that was handed down in July 2016 concerned annual leave provisions. The new provisions include: A  right for employers to direct employees to take annual leave if they have accruals exceeding eight weeks The ability for employees to take leave in advance with agreement from their employer (and where an employee’s employment is terminated before they have accrued the leave taken in advance, the right for an employer to make an appropriate deduction from the employee’s final pay) T he inclusion of a cashingout provision, which will permit employers to agree with an award employee to cash out accrued annual leave if they have assigned

written agreement and have a balance of at least four weeks annual leave remaining after they have cashed out and don’t cash out more than two weeks in a 12 month period. Currently, in the Fair Work Commission a clause concerning annualised salaries is being proposed to be inserted into the Horticulture and Pastoral Awards subject to certain safeguards. This new provision, if approved by the Fair Work Commission, will allow an employer to offer an annualising salary for an employee. Time in lieu provisions in Pastoral and Horticulture Awards are also being discussed and shortly a new provision will be determined by the Fair Work Commission. Employment Handbook subscribers will be notified of changes to their relevant awards during the review process. Members can contact the VFF Workplace Relations Department hotline on 1300 442 481 or



workplace relations Stay up to date with the latest workplace relations and industrial advice and information. If you employ labour, you need the management tools to make the right decisions, for you and your employees. No matter your business size, large or small - the VFF has a package that's right for you.

VFF WORKPLACE PACKAGES EMPLOYMENT HANDBOOK PACKAGE $137 INC GST PER ANNUM (Fully tax deductible) 12 month subscription to the VFF Employment Handbook Package ONE HOUR telephone or written advice (total per annum) VFF workplace relations e-newsletter Discounted service rates Access to the 'Your Business Package' and 'Tailor Made' upgrade options for ongoing workplace support.

your business package $475 INC GST PER ANNUM (Fully tax deductible) VFF Employment Handbook Package THREE HOURS tailored advice (total per annum)

tailor made package $795 INC GST PER ANNUM (Fully tax deductible) VFF Employment Handbook Package UNLIMITED telephone advice FOUR HOURS representation and advice (total per annum)

VFF WORKPLACE PRODUCTS induction kit $77 PLUS GST General Farming Induction Kit Quadbike kit Telehandler kit

for more information: p: 1300 442 481 e: 52 VICTORIAN FARMER | Summer 2017

engaging a contractor kit $39 PLUS GST Letters to referral agent Independant contractor agreement templates

general farming induction $69 PLUS GST Includes induction checklist

quadbike induction $9 PLUS GST

telehandler induction $9 PLUS GST

Exclusive member offers Our partners understand the needs of farmers and are there for the long term. They offer great deals for members and also support regional communities.

Beaurepaires 10% off full range and seasonal discounts.

ALLIANCE PARTNERS WFI Tailored policies – options include Early Bird Crop policy, Rural Plan, Commercial Plan, Private Plan, Landlord Plan.

FeedTest 10% discount off testing.

Wide Span Sheds 10% off non-promotional products.

Momentum Energy Exclusive pricing on residential and business meters. Electricity and gas. 100% Australian owned.

TRUSTED PARTNERS Prime Super Low fees, tailored investment options, flexible insurance options and access to an online account. Nissan Fleet National fleet pricing, fleet finance and capped price servicing, plus 24 hour assist. Morgans Access your own stockbroker, with specialised reports on companies and the economy.

PARTNERS Rural Industries Co-operative Limited (RICL) Bulk gas deals - minimum annual usage 20,000L and tank size minimum 2000L. Elgas Save on domestic LPG - Melbourne/ Geelong area 85c/L + GST. Other areas 95c/L + GST. Conditions apply.

Express Insurance Tailored comprehensive audit insurance cost protection.

Falcon UAV Aerial Imaging Discounted rates on aerial imaging of your property. Telstra Business solutions and communications advice.

NIB Health Insurance 8% off health fund premiums. Conditions apply. Tomcar Australia Free accessories and delivery. 100% Australian manufactured.

The Herd Online Livestock listings, upcoming saleyard dates and links to bull and ram sale catalogues in one place.

Ritchie Bros Auctioneers Special rates on auction day, buying and selling.

Rydges Melbourne Hotel Discounted rates on accommodation, with extras including breakfast, wi-fi and parking.

Chandler Agribusiness Labour hire, staff solutions, payroll services and cash flow management.

Rossi Boots Special pricing on women’s Musk and men’s Endura work boots.

Dial Before you Dig Information on locating underground utilities anywhere in Australia.

Manoir – fabulous pieces for the home and garden 15% off homewares

All Sat Communications On-farm security systems and GPS vehicle security.

Hard Yakka Special discounts and free delivery.

ChemCert Special pricing on accreditation and re-accreditation courses. Mecardo Agri-market analysis. Advanced Analytical 20% discount off sampling and testing.

Qantas Discounted rates on both joining and membership fees. Schaller Studio Bendigo – Art Series Hotel Special accommodation rates in Bendigo’s newest hotel.

LEGAL PANEL Shiff & Co Lawyers

Whitnell & Co

Berry Family Law

Harwood Andrews Magdwicks Lawyers

Mendelsons in ass. with Prushka

Nevett Ford

Oldham Naidoo Lawyers

Russell Kennedy Lawyers


Melb CBD


Melbourne CBD and Williamstown

Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Melb CBD

Melb CBD

Mitcham and Regional

Melb CBD

Melb CBD

Melb CBD

Contact name

Michael Levy

Rod Withnell

Heather Cook

Rod Payne

Cassie O’Bryan

Sylvia Mattiaccio Andrew Lumb

David Wills

Andrew Teague

Contact number

(03) 8611 0404

5725 2400

(03) 9397 2488

(03) 5226 8541

(03) 9242 4744

(03) 8872 5982

(03) 9614 7111

(03) 9640 0002

(03) 8640 2356

Contact email


admin@ withnellandco.

hcook@ berryfamilylaw.

rpayne@ harwoodandrews.

Cassie.OBryan@ Madgwicks.


alumb@ nevettford.

david@ oldhamnaidoo.


For more information visit or call VFF Member services on 1300 882 833. VICTORIAN FARMER | Summer 2017


News and life reviews News VFF Horticulture conference Horticulture will also not be holding an annual conference in 2017. Instead there will be dinner format policy forums and workshops held across the state, throughout the year. The Horticulture Council believes this is a way to engage more effectively with a larger proportion of our membership. As such, the election for 2017 Office Bearer positions will be held by postal and online ballot only and members are formally advised that nominations are open for the position of: VFF Hort President VFF Hort Vice President VFF Hort Executive Member x 1 Nomination forms close 5pm, 22 March. More information can be found on the VFF website or contact Lis Blandamer on 1300 882 833.

Power disconnection for animal welfare Recently, one of our members had an issue with their retailer on electricity disconnection and its potential to cause an animal welfare emergency. Momentum Energy, was consulted to give advice to our members on how to reduce the risk of power disconnection and offered their contact procedure for member information. It should be pointed out that they were not the retailer in question. Momentum Energy contact procedure: • One phone call during business hours • Two phone calls outside business hours • Letter in post – intent to disconnect If the contact number on account is disconnected, a field agent attends the property to hand-deliver the intent



to disconnect letter. If no-one is home, the letter is placed under the door/door mat etc. Momentum Energy is then advised of this action. Momentum advised that they go to great lengths to resolve the issue and avoid disconnection, particularly when if it is felt animals may be at risk. If the account still remains unpaid, the company will arrange for a contractor to attend the site to disconnect the power. A handy hint was to advise your energy retailer to create detailed file notes for all the meters that may impact animal welfare if disconnected. Thanks to Momentum Energy for providing this advice.

Photo competition winner Bill Cleeland from Phillip Island is our photo competition winner, from the last edition of Victorian Farmer. Bill proudly displays his Victorian Farmers Federation member’s sign on his property, set on the main road to Phillip Island, where thousands of visitors see it each year. Bill wins a $250 BP fuel voucher and other great prizes.

Life reviews Anton Neal, former Victorian Farmers Federation land policy councillor and land management and firearms advisory committee member, died in July at the age of 80 years young. Anton was extremely active in the community and was a life member of the Gisborne Fire Brigade. A touching tribute from the Gisborne Fire Brigade for their member of 58 years read: ”Rest peacefully, you have done your duty. We will take it over from here.” On a brighter note, last October Mark Shaw, the grandson of former VFF president Wally Shaw, married Stock & Land’s livestock sales and administration representative, Jennifer Chen, at the Shaw family property on the Mornington Peninsula. The property was founded by Mark’s late grandparents. Originally a dairy farm, the family began a commercial broiler chicken farm operation in 1961, which operates to this day.

This new section is aimed at giving you news and reviews, hints and tips. Send your items of interest to


Albury / Wodonga




Jenny Nagle a Level 2B, 111-113 Hume Street Wodonga 3690 m 0428 350 196 e

Graeme Bates a 161 Barkly Street Ararat 3377 m 0428 501 342 e

James Gilmore a 77b MacLeod Street Bairnsdale 3875 m 0418 587 688 e

Brett McKinnis a 137 Gillies Street South Ballarat 3350 m 0409 331 749 e


Bendigo Brent Hargreaves a Shop 13, 172 McIvor Road

Bendigo 3550 m 0427 698 623 e

John Trainor a Shop 13, 172 McIvor Road

Bendigo 3550 m 0437 356 197 e

Geelong 3220

Bendigo 3550 m 0409 512 786 e

Adam Wray a 34 Malop Street

Geelong 3220

Simon Ryland a 1 Nexus Court

Mulgrave 3170

m 0408 174 411 e

m 0412 117 458 e

m 0467 764 152 e




Phil Brewer a 236 Coleraine Road

Lucretia Moroney a 7 Golf Course Road

Simon Ryland a 15 Roughead Street

Hamilton 3300 m 0407 426 414 e

Adam Wray a 526 Princes Highway

Colac 3250 m 0412 117 458 e


Geelong Wes Costin a 34 Malop Street

Stuart Powney a Shop 13, 172 McIvor Road

Horsham 3400

Leongatha 3953

Jessica Roberts a 1 Nexus Court

Mulgrave 3170 m 0448 337 996 e

Brad Hosking a 15 Roughead Street

Leongatha 3953

m 0417 578 526 e

m 0467 764 152 e

m 0429 062 258 e

Sammi Thomas a Level 12, 414 La Trobe Street

Mary Livori a Level 12, 414 La Trobe Street

Brett Johnston a Level 12, 414 La Trobe Street

Melbourne Paula O’Hare a Level 12, 414 La Trobe Street

Melbourne 3000

Melbourne 3000

Melbourne 3000

m 0417 099 576 e

m 0418 940 538 e

m 0409 856 056 e



Swan Hill

Daniel Cawood a 234 Deakin Avenue

Ben Drummond a Shop 4, 164 Welsford Street

Graeme Coe a 359 -361 Campbell Street

Mildura 3500 m 0439 960 298 e

Shepparton 3630 m 0418 597 814 e

Traralgon Jason De Ligt a 2/41 Breed Street

Traralgon 3844

Barbra Hayes a 2/41 Breed Street

Traralgon 3844

m 0438 932 590 e

m 0437 110 435 e



Brad Hosking a 2/24 Mason Street

Lance Lloyd a 164 Liebig Street,

Warragul 3820 m 0429 062 258 e

Warrnambool 3280 m 0418 125 132 e

Swan Hill 3585

Melbourne 3000 m 0437 562 579 e

Ian Downes a 359 -361 Campbell Street

Swan Hill 3585

m 0419 747 089 e

m 0407 346 207 e



Paul McCully a 4 Mason Street

Danny Answerth a 2/24 Mason Street

Wangaratta 3677 m 0417 183 587 e

Warragul 3820 m 0408 757 385 e

Andrew Heffernan a 164 Liebig Street,

Warrnambool 3280 m 0417 948 267 e

Why not call us for a quote? If you would like to arrange an appointment for an insurance review or to request a quote, simply contact your local Area Manager.

P 1300 934 934 F 1300 797 544



MEET MARK, OUR NEW VFF MEMBER CONSULTANT Mark enjoys a chat with VFF members and is passionate about helping farmers save on energy costs. Based in Tasmania, he’s been with Momentum for 2 years and proud to be a part of an Australian business and Australia’s largest generator of renewable energy. Call Mark today, he’ll give you a quote on our special VFF rates and answer any questions. Join over 1000 VFF members and make the switch to Momentum Energy.

To get a quote or to find out more about your VFF member benefits, call Mark on 1800 628 644 or visit 56


Victorian Farmer Magazine - Summer 2017  
Victorian Farmer Magazine - Summer 2017