Page 1



Workplace relations updates p14 – 17 Working for you p19 – 26 Rural health p34 – 35 Commodity news p37 – 50 News p54

Focus on safety and crime

p6 - 7


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Meet Graeme, Simon and Andrew. They’re good people to know for insurance. Graeme Coe, WFI Area Manager, Swan Hill Graeme services the dryland farming areas to the west and south west of Swan Hill. In his role of WFI Area Manager he enjoys getting out and about, meeting good country people and building strong relationships with his clients. Before joining WFI, Graeme ran his own small business and also worked in rural health for many years. This hands-on experience makes it easier for him to understand the needs of his clients who live in country Victoria. If you would like to review your insurance, or for an obligation-free quote, contact Graeme on 0419 747 089.

Simon Ryland, WFI Area Manager, Hallam Simon was born and raised in country Victoria, hailing from Moe in the Latrobe Valley. Having started with WFI in the Hallam Client Service Team he is now out on the road seeing his clients face-to-face as an Area Manager. Simon services the South East Melbourne region which includes Rowville, Clyde, Beaconsfield, Hallam, Berwick, Ferntree Gully and Belgrave. As a WFI Area Manager Simon enjoys getting out and about and having the opportunity to visit places he would otherwise not come across. He says that meeting with his clients, assisting them with their insurance requirements and bringing them peace of mind is what he enjoys most about his job. Contact Simon on 0467 764 152 to discuss your insurance requirements.

Andrew Heffernan, WFI Area Manager, Warrnambool Growing up and working on a dairy farm in Terang makes Andrew ideally suited to helping farmers in south west Victoria. After more than ten years with WFI, Andrew still believes that helping farmers manage their commercial business needs is the most rewarding aspect of his job. Andrew spent more than five years as a dairy farmer himself and loves the fact that he now gets to spend every day working with and helping other farmers grow their business For farm and business insurance with a personal touch contact Andrew on 0417 948 267.

To see if our products are right for you, always read the PDS from the product issuer, WFI (ABN 24 000 036 279 AFSL 241461).


President’s report

ment with rural communities ways to improve our engage for g kin loo ays alw ’re we , At the VFF produce. consumers buying Australian and spread our message to up agriculture. proactive approach to talking a ing tak ’re we r yea this y That’s wh h a new team dedicated reach this goal, starting wit to res asu me l era sev ce pla We’ve put in the farm sector. public on the importance of entirely to engaging with the ir food is produced, as w or be interested in how the kno not ht mig o wh ple peo VFF are achieving. We’re targeting be aware of what we at the not ht mig o wh es niti mu well as rural com y of bringing our policy ms across the state as a wa foru icy pol 17 t hos to d ide r feedback and we We have also dec , our members. We want you you – st mo s act imp it o wh ideas to the people want us to champion. want to know what issues you rth it to get our but the end result will be wo rt, effo of lot a e tak will it It’s a big challenge and at they want from us. members thinking about wh n, because we re active role in policy formatio mo a e tak to ers mb me our . We want to encourage know what’s important to you resentatives, so we need to rep r you be to e her are lly rea nt best way to boost engageme Annual Conference, that the VFF r’s on yea e t vot las to at e d urn ide lbo dec s Me It wa hours into t to expect farmers to travel lain with rural communities wasn’ can connect with you, exp we ere wh s team to the region our e tak to but s, tion olu res policies and get your ideas. ions about vital issues in your reg all to engage in discussions us for ty uni ort opp . at ant gre ort a This is are still imp focus of in depth analysis, but – issues that aren’t always the and conversation. Farmers torming sessions with dinner ins bra as red ctu stru are The events you’re invited to share your our VFF representatives and and er oth h eac h wit t rac get to inte cutive members and staff. then discussed with our exe s tion ges sug the h wit as, policy ide dback we’re getting. I’m and we’re thrilled with the fee nts eve se the of e som run have throughout the year. We’ve already ting ideas and priorities you res inte the ring hea to ard looking forw And I hope to see you there. ers and we haven’t lost l driven by its heartland memb stil is icy pol VFF our t tha w It goes to sho sight of that. we want you to our members and our team and en we bet n atio nic mu com up We want to open let us know how we’re going.

David Jochinke

David Jochinke, VFF President


CEO’s message There’s a lot happening here at the VFF for 2017. As David has mentioned, we are dedicated to talking up agriculture and getting your thoughts on what we should be doing for you, our membres, through our state-wide public forums. Farm safety, farm crime and education are a major focus. We have recently appointed a full time training person so we can partner with teaching facilities to offer you even better training and information. Over the next 10 to 15 years, we can also expect significant development and use of sophisticated digital technology in the agriculture sector. Drone technology will allow for faster and more accurate monitoring and assessment of crop and pasture health, low disturbance monitoring of livestock during calving and lambing, and remote checking of water supplies and fences. In the future, biometric implants in livestock would see data sent on the health, feed intake and activity of individual animals - and sensors sending you data on pasture and crop growth, nutrient levels and moisture levels. The benefits are huge, but unless we have the right infrastructure and regulatory environment, we won’t be able to take advantage of them. The current aviation regulations restrict the use of drones to line of sight, which severely limits their agricultural use. A drone fitted with GPS, could automatically fly daily to check on water, or monitor calving or animal health. This is prevented by the line of sight rule. Line of sight flying makes sense in the cities, but much less so in an agricultural landscape. We recently responded to a drone regulation inquiry around their use being based on potential problems in an urban environment, rather than considering the restrictions this places on agricultural use. We also submitted that the risk of drones being used by third parties to monitor farming activities is a form of trespass, which should not be permitted unless the landowner agrees. The other arm of this technology is timely transfer and effective use of data. We have campaigned hard around improving the connectivity and reliability of data services in rural areas. Australian farmers have been quick adopters of new technology and continue to make significant investment in developments to make them more efficient and deliver better products to consumers. It is not unreasonable for us to expect that investment in infrastructure and review of regulations supports, rather than hinders, farmers to access this advanced technology to remain competitive in world markets and meet the growing needs of consumers.

Graeme Ford Greame Ford, VFF CEO

Contents VFF President and CEO’s messages

p4 - 5

Focus on farm safety and crime

p6 – 7

Project updates

p9 – 11

Meet the team


Workplace relations

p14 - 17

Working for you

p19 – 26

Event calendar

p28 – 29

Community contributions


Women leaders in ag

p32 – 33

Rural health

p34 – 35




p38 - 39


p40 - 42


p44 - 45


p46 - 50

Flowers Vic

p51 - 52

Exclusive member offers


News and reviews


Cover photo: Members, Sarah and Raymond Parker from Undera, near Kyabram, are vitally aware of the importance of farm safety and are pictured with their new side-by-side vehicle, purchased with a grant through our VFF Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme.

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 Creative & Print - Tamara Wardell Cover image: Anthony Webster - Imagine Pictures 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.


A hands-on approach to farm safety We are leading a push to increase awareness for farm safety following a series of horror accidents in recent months. There were four fatalities on Australian farms in March, including two child deaths in quad bike accidents. Our Vice President, Brett Hosking, said farm safety was a key priority for us. “Ten farmers every week are injured seriously enough to make a worker’s compensation claim,” Mr Hosking said. “It’s incredibly serious and it’s all of our responsibility to take proactive steps in safeguarding against the risks of injury on our farms.” According to WorkSafe statistics, almost 30 per cent of workplace deaths in Victoria occur on farms, despite a mere 3 per cent of workers being employed in the agriculture industry. Mr Hosking said the VFF was taking a proactive approach to changing attitudes towards farm safety by encouraging education and training in addition to current incentives such as the Victorian Government’s Quad Bikes Safety Rebate Scheme. “At the VFF we believe you can’t change attitudes to farm safety by imposing regulation, but we can improve the statistics if all farmers make the commitment to ensure safe farm practices are a priority for their business,” he said. “This year we’re driving across the state in a strategy to connect directly with our members and as part of


that strategy, we’re making sure they remember the risks you take just by working on a farm,” he said. “It’s vital that farmers protect themselves, their families and their employees from the risks of using farm equipment.” “Part of what we’re doing is encouraging all farmers to conduct risk assessments and take all the necessary steps to minimise the risk of accidents when they or their staff are operating farm equipment and make farm safety something that we all tackle together.” Backing up its position on farm safety, the VFF has partnered with WorkSafe Victoria to roll out the $6 million Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme. As part of the scheme, we have so far handed out more than $1 million to people to fit their quad bikes with operator protection devices or upgrade to an alternative vehicle, with the scheme due to run for two years. Mr Hosking said the impressive figure showed farm safety was a priority not just for the VFF but for farmers across Victoria. “The uptake in the program has been very encouraging and shows farmers really care about ensuring they run a safe operation.” “But this year we want to really ramp up our efforts in getting people thinking about how to improve their farm safety measures by starting conversations with neighbours and friends to make a change.” See more on agricultural injuries at hotspots#/agriculture

Our guide to preventing farm crime Check out these tips we’ve put together to make sure your property remains safe and secure: Take stock of your stuff

Farm crime on the rise

thieves, through to semi-trailer loads being stolen by well-organised groups targeting rural areas.

FARMERS are being warned to keep a vigilant eye on their property, as new statistics reveal Victorian farms were victim to $2.5 million in livestock theft last year.

Mr Jochinke appeared at a Victoria Police conference in Bendigo recently, where he called on the police to ensure rural crime squads fully understood the nature of agriculture-related crime, including recognising the difference in types of livestock.

The figures, compiled by Federation University, come on the back of Crime Agency statistics showing a sharp spike in crime across the state during the same period. The crime rate in eastern Victoria rose by 11.7 per cent, while the state’s western district saw an increase of 13 per cent, with property offences accounting for the majority of incidents. “This is a sign we need to look after ourselves, our neighbours and our farms because it’s become clear we’re unable to rely on goodwill anymore,” VFF President, David Jochinke, said. Mr Jochinke said the increased value of livestock has led to an increase in livestock theft, which can range from a single ute load by opportunistic

He said livestock producers needed to ensure their animals were marked with electronic identification (eID) tags. “Ear tags are the closest thing we have to permanent markings on most livestock and are vital to ensuring animals can be traced if they’re stolen,” he said.

But he said that a lot of crime could be prevented if a more watchful eye was kept over farm property, and encouraged farmers to take responsibility for their equipment by keeping farm machinery locked in secure areas. “I understand most farmers have a lot going on and it’s easy to forget to lock their sheds, but they are becoming an easy target and can cost you thousands of dollars in lost equipment if you’re not careful,” he said. “It’s pretty hard to stop determined thieves but your chances are a lot better if you make life as difficult as possible for them.” We, at VFF, are currently working on a package to allow farmers to set up their own farm security system, safeguarding against potential thefts of livestock and property. If you are interested in hearing more about this package, please contact us on 1300 882 833.

Machinery, tools and equipment, including any removable parts, should be engraved or permanently marked and stored in the same secure area. If you need to leave machinery in the paddock, make sure it can be seen from the house and is out of sight of public roads. Locks and lights Locks: To cheat the bolt-cutter, weld a metal cover over the hasp to protect padlocks from being cut. Lock storage areas with padlocks, hasps and deadbolts. And don’t just have locks –- use them. Lights: Thieves hate bright lights. Are you illuminating the right places - fuel tanks, grain bins, sheds. Keep outside lights on automatic timers. Prune bushes that block light sources. Fences and gates Regularly check and repair boundary fences and gates. Mount gates to strong posts at entrances and other high risk areas. Close and lock gates with heavy duty chains and padlocks - use good quality locks. Farm watch Start a neighbourhood watch program - get together with neighbours and local police to keep an eye on local properties. Electronic surveillance For best results, use cameras, monitors and records with detection devices like motion sensors that trigger an alarm and activate the recorder. Install security lighting for sheds, equipment and surrounding areas and enclose with a lockable security fence/gate. Mark livestock All livestock should be marked with approved permanent identifiers such as earmarks, brands, tattoos and National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) devices.


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Delivering for your industry S top delaying and protect your families today We continue to issue strong numbers of rebates for the Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme. To date there have been 1415 applications approved, totalling $1.258M. Of these, 533 (37.7 per cent) are for side by side vehicles and 882 (62.3 per cent) for Operator Protection Devices (OPD) rebates.

the quad bike’s total sum insured.

Discussions with potential applicants have discovered a perception that fitting an OPD could potentially interfere with insurance claims on a quad bike. In response to this, we have had discussions with our alliance partner WFI insurance. Their position on aftermarket OPDs is that there is no issue in insuring them, or insuring any other accessories that may be added to a quad bike ie, a spray unit.

Armed with this clarification our Program Manager Craig de Paola strongly urges ALL members to now apply for the rebate we lobbied so hard to government for, on your behalf.

WFI advised that if a client retrofits an OPD device to their existing quad bike it’s recommended that they contact their insurer. A retrofitted OPD device is considered an additional accessory and it’s important that the OPD is included in

If an OPD is considered factory fitted or standard on a new quad bike, then this should already be factored in to the sum insured. As the type of cover can be different across insurers, it’s recommended that members contact their insurer to confirm the appropriate insurance for their individual needs.

“It is vital for ALL farmers to get in and apply for the rebate as soon as possible. This scheme is all about making farmers lives safer. “It’s simply about having farmers come home to their families at the end of each day – no more and no less. With the terrible spate of disastrous incidents in NSW and across Australia recently, you need to stop delaying and protect your family today!” he said

Keeping our roads safe The cattle underpass scheme (CUPS) has been progressing very well and to date we have had 33 applications for cattle underpasses, with rebates totalling $1.115M. At this point, five underpasses have been fully completed, with letters of completion inspection from council lodged and applicants paid out in full. The scheme has already delivered significant safety and productivity gains for these farmers and we urge potential applicants to ring and enquire, as this is a great opportunity to make real gains to your farm business. M  aking a real difference At the close of the recent third round, almost 300 applications had been received. Round one gave away $1M, gifted by Coles, to 70 applicants and round two distributed around $250K, from the sales of Farmers’ Fund milk, to 19 successful applicants.


Each year, 15-20 people are killed and more than 1,000 are seriously injured in quad bike accidents across Australia.

Danger on our farms Did you know that quad bikes are one of the most dangerous pieces of equipment on our farms? Each year, 15-20 people are killed and more than 1,000 are seriously injured in quad bike accidents across Australia. But there are a number of ways we can make workplaces safer for ourselves, our families and our employees and reduce the risks of quad bikes accidents: Take part in the VFF Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme: Eligible farmers can apply for a rebate of up to $1200 (GST exempt) for the purchase of an alternate vehicle such as a side-by-side vehicle or a small utility vehicle or up to $600 (GST exempt) for the purchase of up to two operator protection devices to install


on existing quad bikes. Wear a helmet: Every time you jump on your quad bike always remember to wear a helmet. Head injuries from quad bike accidents contribute to 25 per cent of quad bike related deaths in Australia. Wearing a properly fitted helmet while riding a quad bike can greatly reduce the risk of head injuries. Tell someone where you are going: Notify people of your whereabouts if you intend to work alone on your quad bike. Organising regular check-ins with family, friends or employees means they will know something could be wrong if you don’t contact them around the expected time. Give training: Make sure anyone who will operate a quad bike on your property has the information and training necessary to safely operate the vehicle. We, at the VFF, have quad bike induction kits

available to help employers with their legal requirements to ensure a safe workplace. Do a farm safety plan: Conduct a risk assessment and develop a set of rules for quad bike use on your property including no-go areas for quadbikes, speed limits and conditions for safe use. And remember, quad bikes are no place for children: Children under the age of 16 should never ride adult-sized quad bikes. Children should also never be carried as passengers on quad bikes as this can greatly increase the risk of rollovers. For further information on the Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme please go to or alternatively call 1300 945 030 For further information on quad bike induction kits please contact the VFF Industrial Relations Hotline on 1300 442 481.

Farmers’ fund gives very real results You can show your support for dairy farmers with every purchase of Farmers’ Fund milk. 40 cents from every two litre bottle sold goes into the Farmers’ Fund to promote a resilient and sustainable dairy industry.

As one dairy farmer said - it tells us that the wider community appreciate the effort and dedication we go to in providing a quality product. Our VFF Farmers’ Fund has so far given away more than $1.2M in grants to 78 dairy farmers. Here are some of their stories: Tim Cashin: Tim is a third generation dairy farmer from Leongatha South. Despite the recent tough seasons, he continues to be passionate about the industry. He loves being his own boss and the variety of skills involved in running a dairy farm day to day. Tim applied for a Farmers’ Fund grant to improve his property’s effluent management infrastructure. In 2015 he had installed a mainline to irrigate effluent; however with the milk price down turn he was unable to complete the project. After receiving a Farmers’ Fund grant he was able to purchase a pump and motor for the system allowing him to distribute effluent across approximately 140 acres of his property.

Wendy and Anthony Eccles: The Eccles run a dairy farm just outside of Purnim in Victoria’s Western District. They love dairy farming and are passionate about promoting the industry and developing future generations of dairy farmers. The Eccles applied for a Farmers’ Fund grant to refurbish their irrigation bore. Late last year they discovered the limestone section of their bore had caved in and would require re-drilling. With irrigation being central to their farming business, this was yet another challenge in what had already been a very difficult year for the dairy industry. Anthony Eccles said that receiving the grant has allowed them to re-drill and re case the bore. “It’s a real boost to our confidence in our business and in what we do,” he said.

Pictured is a very happy Eccles team in front of their refurbished irrigation system.

Tim describes the results as fantastic. “The new system has greatly improved the quality of the pasture, while saving money on the cost of fertiliser,” he said.


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.

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:


Part of Kim’s ability to chat easily with farmers of all ages has been formed through her background in telecommunications and consultancy.












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A fair app Underpayment of young workers and migrant workers around the country has long been a persistent problem. To help combat these issues, the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has released a new app, Record My Hours, making it quick and easy for employees to record and store the hours they work (plus other information about their employment). Between 1 July and 31 December, 2016, FWO issued 347 Infringement Notices (on the spot fines) ranging from $540 to $2700 to employers for issues around record-keeping and pay slip laws. Record My Hours uses the phone’s location services and ‘geofencing’ technology to let users set their workplace location and automatically


record when they start and finish work, based on their location.

their own records, rather than replace them entirely.

Automatic recording will not work for all job types, such as people working in places with no mobile or Wi-Fi coverage, or people who travel a lot for work. Manual recording has been incorporated to cater for this.

This app also has important implications for members who employ staff. If you fail to meet your legal obligations as an employer, this app is a tool that may be used by your employees to substantiate any claims. As an employer, it is your legal duty to maintain time and wage records for seven years.

Piecework arrangements have also been catered for. Users can record information about the number of pieces achieved within a time period and use their smartphone’s location and mapping services to pinpoint any places of work. Record My Hours has a number of features that will also benefit the business community. It allows rosters and work-related notifications and reminders to be imported to a worker’s phone, reducing the number of late starts and absenteeism. It is also available in 12 different languages which is very useful for those members who employ workers from migrant backgrounds. Businesses have the option of using the app to complement

Such records have to be readily accessible to a Fair Work Inspector, legible and in English. If records are not kept or are incorrect, Fair Work Inspectors can issue an infringement notice. Members are strongly urged to adopt best practice record-keeping and we can help you with this. The Record My Hours app is available free for iOS or Android, from iTunes or Google Play stores. For advice on the type of information that must be kept in employee records, please contact the VFF Workplace Relations Department on 1300 442 481.

Domestic violence leave up in the air “Family and domestic violence is a widespread issue in Australian society, associated with implications for community safety, policing, law enforcement, family and other relationships, education and workplaces.”

This is a quote from Deputy Vice President of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) Graeme Watson who recently rejected union claims for the inclusion of ‘a domestic violence clause that relates to leave’. He said that employers should be aware of the problem and adopt approaches that assist affected employees and limit the impact of the problem on their business. Watson has issued his final decision in relation to union claims to include domestic violence leave as an entitlement in modern awards. Employer groups including the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF) with input from us, responded to the claims of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) – with the hearing of final oral submissions in late 2016.

However, Watson rejected claims that a right to take domestic violence leave, as put by the ACTU, is part of developing an appropriate solution to the problem. He said that a better approach was to build awareness of the issue and to encourage a considerate, collaborative and flexible approach by employers and affected employees. In his decision, the Deputy Vice President found the ACTU claims did not meet the Modern Awards objectives and that the claim should be rejected. The Deputy Vice President released his decision one day prior to his resignation from the FWC taking effect and ahead of other members of the Full Bench making their decision. Deputy President Gooley and Commissioner Spencer are yet to hand down their findings as part of a three member Full Bench and members will be notified as soon as their findings are released. Deputy Vice President Watson, formally resigned from his position on 20 January 2017. His resignation came into effect on 28 February 2017. Experts in their field – our VFF Workplace Relations Department has over 30 years combined experience in dealing with Industrial Relations and Human Resources issues. Members with any enquiries on this issue or any Workplace Relations matter are encouraged to contact the VFF Workplace Relations Department. Make use of your VFF membership and get expert assistance today by calling 1300 442 481.


Vulnerable workers’ bill comes at a cost

The Federal Government announced in September last year its policy to protect vulnerable workers. The government has kept its promise this month, by introducing the Fair Work Amendment (Protecting Vulnerable Workers) Bill 2017. This bill introduces new penalties for ‘serious contraventions’ of the Fair Work Act, with penalties at 10 times the existing. Serious contravention is defined as one that is ‘deliberate and part of a systematic pattern of conduct’. Penalties are doubled for all record keeping and pay slip breaches. Business franchisors are targeted in the bill. Franchisors will be liable for breaches of franchisees and holding companies will be liable for breaches of their subsidiaries under the Fair Work Act, unless they have taken reasonable steps to prevent the breach (for example by providing training, conducting audits or requiring regular reports). Deductions are also mentioned. The bill prevents modern awards, enterprise agreements and contracts, including terms about unreasonable deductions


for the benefit of the employer, a third party, or any deductions for employees younger than 18 years, who are not authorised by a parent or guardian. If the bill gets passed, the Fair Work Ombudsman will have new coercive powers to require anyone to make a statutory declaration about what they know in response to Fair Work Ombudsman’s questions, without the right to silence and only excluding documents by legal professional privilege. We at VFF, while supporting measures to improve protections for vulnerable workers, have concerns over some of the proposed clauses. We do not support new coercive powers for the Fair Work Ombudsman and the removal of the right of silence or selfincrimination. Nor do we support the general doubling of penalties for record keeping and payslip errors, which may occur due to the complexity of the workplace relations laws, or making holding companies generally liable for the actions of their subsidiaries. If this bill is passed, new powers will be created with no checks and balances to make sure the new powers are used appropriately. The bill in its current form needs to be amended and be more reasonable, but still achieve the goal to protect vulnerable workers in our society.

“The bill in its current form needs to be amended and be more reasonable, but still achieve the goal to protect vulnerable workers in our society.”

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: 17 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


Your Telstra Update from Area General Managers, Steve Tinker and Loretta Willaton White Paper on Regional Australia’s Technology Future Investment in faster networks, drones, precision agriculture, e-health and robotics is driving Telstra’s innovation agenda for regional Australia and has been detailed in a White Paper into ‘Regional Australia’s Technology Future’. The White Paper highlights the world of opportunities that new technologies can bring to regional and rural communities across Australia and how Telstra is working with industry partners across the country and around the world to bring them to life. Telstra is investing now to deliver the kind of technology that can transform the lives of people living in regional communities over the next 20 years. Whether it’s mobile networks that are larger and faster, high-tech agriculture that makes farms more profitable, e-health solutions that bring world-class care to regional communities, or decentralised energy networks to make communities more independent - technology has the potential to create huge opportunities for families and businesses in regional Australia. You can download your copy of the White Paper into ‘Regional Australia’s Technology Future’ here:

Mobile Black Spot Program Culla, in Victoria’s Southern Grampian, recently became home to our 100th mobile base station under the Federal Government’s Mobile Black Spot Program (MBSP). This marks a significant milestone in our efforts to expand state-of-the-art mobile technology to more parts of rural and regional Australia. We are rolling out new mobile coverage to 577 locations nationally under the Federal Government’s MBSP and we expect to surpass 200 online by the end of 2017.

Contact your local Telstra Team:

Through our rollout of the MBSP, thousands of people in rural and regional areas can now talk to family and friends and run their businesses more effectively with our 4GX service. We’ve also rolled out 34 of up to 250 innovative 4G small cells to other communities to ensure more of regional Australia has access to fast connectivity. Our rollout of the Mobile Black Spot Program represents more than $486 million of co-investment in country Australia, with the federal and state governments and local councils.


Loretta Willaton

Steven Tinker

Gippsland and Eastern Victoria

Northern and Western Victoria

Protecting your farm IP interests Farmer attitudes to their intellectual property (IP) may be on the verge of a major change over the next five to 10 years. And it’s important that farmers start protecting their interests along the way. Big data is changing the way we understand farms and the way we value them. All the data collected about livestock, land and growing conditions has value. Good data helps a farmer build more efficient and profitable farming systems. In time, poor data may be the reason a farm loses its competitive edge. Traditionally there has been little reason for farmers to protect their IP and it hasn’t been thought to have great value. The financial value of business processes and farming methods has been difficult to quantify. That may be changing and the long term consequences could be significant. So just what IP does your farm actually possess? Modern farm IP can be thought of as falling into two categories of data: • T he first is the business information of the farm itself: sales history, profitability and the data that helps a farmer decide which business decisions to make • T he second is the technical, scientific and agronomic data about the farm itself. This is valuable as a single set of data, or as part of a larger collective set. The value of the IP builds each year and our ability to store and collate data gets better too. Business information and technical data can be used in tandem to cut costs, increase efficiency and raise profitability. As the average size of farms continues to grow, the use of data can create a

more efficient way to manage at scale. VFF Vice President Brett Hosking has a strong interest in big data as Chair of the VFF Farm Business Committee. “As our ability to collect and the ease of collection increases, then we are going to see more and more opportunities for farmers to be producers of information as much as producers of commodities. The real challenge is getting the balance between protecting our IP and sharing for the collective benefit of our businesses.” In the long term it’s conceivable that IP information about a farm could directly influence its value. Neighbouring farms could develop a competitive advantage and potential purchasers with access to farm data could better differentiate one property from another. Understanding the long term value of farm IP and data is still in its infancy, but farmers need to be thinking about their rights today. Our Vic President adds his thoughts around data ownership. “The real challenges around data ownership and sharing are rights based. We need certainty about who the data belongs to before and after it has been shared.” The takeaway message is that farmers need to have exclusive ownership of the IP and the right to protect their data for the long term. Some tips for managing your IP on the farm: • T hink of your IP as a new asset with growing value • B ig data and IP are not just for technicians • B e very careful when signing any agreements about your data, particularly where terms and conditions look one sided • S eek advice about who owns your data • If you are sharing the data, make sure you and the farm are the ultimate owner.



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Deserve a better deal Telecommunications is one of the main topics brought up as a major concern at our recent regional forums and we are lobbying strongly to support members in the push for better technology.

Issues discussed included mobile black spots and the universal service obligation (USO). The USO is the obligation on providers to ensure that standard telephone services, payphones and prescribed carriage services are reasonably accessible to all people in Australia, wherever they reside or carry on business. The USO needs to be looked at, said our Vice President.

Our VFF Vice President, Brett Hosking, visited Canberra in March to speak with Federal Ministers and senators to support our involvement with the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition (RRCCC).

“The USO is out date, it needs to be updated to recognise the way farms do business and their needs. Things have changed as technology has improved. I don’t think farmers mind paying a reasonable share, but as we use more technology, what we pay for telecommunications will become hard to sustain.”

The RRCCC is a group that has been formed to champion better communications services for consumers and small businesses living in rural, remote or regional areas. We will advocate with government for much improved services in these areas.

Improved communications will deliver benefits across regional health and education, as well as improved safety outcomes. We will use data obtained through our VFF 2016 Telecommunications Survey of members to support our claims.

Brett Hosking has some straightforward views on telecommunications.

The RRCCC is pursuing five goals with government which we support:

“It’s simple really. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, or ABARES, recently said farm production is forecast to increase by 8.3 per cent to a record $64 billion in 2016-17. Better data and mobile coverage in rural areas is going to lead to an even more efficient and productive state and country and Telstra and other providers need to be responsive to farmers, or become a drag on national productivity,” said Mr Hosking.

1. A  universal service obligation that is technology neutral and provides access to both voice and data 2.  Customer service guarantees and reliability measures from providers and NBN 3. Long term public funding for open access mobile network expansion in rural and regional Australia 4.  Fair and equitable access to Sky Muster satellite services for those with a genuine need for the service

5. Fully resourced capacity building programs that build digital ability, and provide learning and effective problem solving support for regional, rural and remote businesses and consumers. We will continue to lobby Federal and State Government on telecommunications. About the ABARES report The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), recently released its agricultural commodities forecasts for the March quarter 2017. Key data included: • T he gross value of farm production is forecast to increase by 8.3 per cent to a record $63.8 billion in 2016-17 • T he gross value of livestock production is forecast to increase by around 4.4 per cent to $31.2 billion in 2017-18, following a forecast decrease of 2.6 per cent in 2016-17 • T he gross value of crop production is forecast to decrease by 11.3 per cent to $30 billion in 2017-18, after a forecast increase of 20.2 per cent in 2016-17. The decrease follows record production of wheat and barley in 2016-17, which resulted from favourable seasonal conditions during winter and spring • In 2021-22 the gross value of farm production is projected to be around $59.6 billion (in 2016-17 dollars), 8.6 per cent higher than the average of $54.9 billion over the five years to 2015-16. The full report can be found at: warehouse/agcomd9abcc004/ agcomd9abcc20170307_0S6mp/ AgCommodities201703_v1.0.0.pdf


Tell us what you think Regional forums up and running

We’ve said we want to engage more with you and hear about issues and problems that affect your farm.


That’s why we are having 17 forums across the state, to find out how we can best represent you to government and protect your farming rights. And we’ve done what we said we would do, with the first two regional policy forums being held recently in Tallangatta and Mansfield. These forums are a key focus for us this year, with our team visiting the length and breadth of the state and they want to talk to you. The two recent events had excellent attendance, with discussions being both animated and productive. We got some great feedback about what matters to the Tallangatta and Mansfield communities and we look forward to hearing about your community. Discussions at both these events raised the key issues of telecommunications, freight, rail, native vegetation and road quality. We know these important issues affect just about all of you, but please come along to an event near

you and tell us what concerns you, or contact us direct. More forums are being held through the first part of the year in Bendigo, Cobram, Mildura, Cohuna, Mornington Peninsula, Leongatha, Bairnsdale and Omeo, then Warracknabeal, Hamilton, Ballarat, Terang, Yarra Valley, Geelong and Werribee through until August, when the series of forums end. It’s vital you let us know about your local issues, so we can go to government and campaign on your behalf to make real changes and give you real value for your membership. We will report back to you at the end of the year, once all the forums are completed, so you can hear first-hand what we found out and what we plan to do. Should you have any feedback, issues or concerns you would like to send us now, please email us on members@vff. or phone us on 1300 882 833.

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A fight for our land Native vegetation was another strong message brought forward in our recent regional policy forums and we assured attendees at the time that we are working hard on this issue.

We recently made a strong submission on behalf of all our members opposing the proposed Native Vegetation guidelines from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). The clearing permit process is both complicated and costly to you, our members. We know that this difficult process makes farmers wish they could avoid it altogether. Our members have over and over again called for a fairer, simpler system that


recognises their efforts in protecting the environment. We have sent this message to government loud and clear - farmers will not roll over on this issue. We have repeatedly met with DELWP officials and held workshops and onfarm visits to highlight challenges in managing native vegetation in both cropping and grazing. VFF President David Jochinke and Vice President Brett Hosking recently had the opportunity to show Minister D’Ambrosio first-hand these practical challenges, face to face on a recent farm visit. The proposed guidelines particularly emphasise the need for offset requirements for protecting, or avoiding removal of existing trees and less value on revegetation. They are both costly and complex for farmers who are genuinely trying to do the right thing. The whole process is an unnecessary drain on their energy, time and financial resources. Red tape actually damages the conservation effort. It restricts the farmer’s ability to effectively oversee his land and holds back the economic growth of Australian agriculture to meet the increased global food demand. We submitted that the guidelines need to be simplified, particularly the ratio

of cleared-to-protected trees and that Victoria needs a regulatory framework which: • A  llows farmers a clear, simple, timely, option to clear vegetation, in exchange for a commitment to provide offsets • I s focussed on delivering ‘No Net loss’ in the longer term (50-100 years). • I s NOT focussed on short-term protection at the expense of longterm loss (decline) • Exempts or significantly streamlines permit process to clear scattered paddock trees in the farming zone. Including removing the requirement for on-site habitat hectare assessment • Encourages a simple process for registering offset • E ncourages good faith for land care, instead of making young trees a liability • Exempts farmers from the same costly, regulatory requirements that corporate developers face. We acknowledge the hard work of our VFF Land Management Committee in bringing the 56 page report to the Victorian Government.

Reviewing the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 We responded to the government’s review of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988. Concerns have arisen that the responsibility to protect biodiversity has increasingly been handed over from the Crown to private land holders, with limited funding by government. We took four issues, as follows, to government that were of particular concern: 1. F urther requirements on private land should not be the solution to proper management of biodiversity by the Crown. We are particularly concerned by the creep of responsibility to the private land owner. Many of the issues outlined in the review stem from the failure to resource the requirements of the act rather than a failure of the system. Increased requirements on farmers is not the answer. 2. Third party appeals Third party appeals are a particular issue for farmers and we have a strong view that they should never be relevant to private land holdings once a permit has been granted by council. Nonetheless, farms must work with these challenges. If a review of the act resulted in increased uncertainty for private landholders through delay caused by external objectors and increased cost, this is not acceptable. The impact on property rights should be balanced by a fair and simple system. 3. D  eclaring critical habitat and threatened species We are concerned by the potential expansion of listed protected species under the proposed reforms. Under the streamlined proposition to combine national and state level protected list, we would seek clarity on how species threatened at a national, but not state level, will be treated when assessing an application. It is also concerning that the notion functional roles ie water filtration of habitat, are now criteria for protection and that species that are data deficient to science may also be protected. Agricultural productivity cannot be restrained by an extreme cautionary principle in conservation. 4. Penalties We are concerned that there is a proposal to utilise one act to implement native vegetation controls and another act, the FFGA, to enforce it. We also reject the proposed introduction of civil penalties to punish noncompliance. These carry a lower burden of proof by the complainant and can be applied with more ease than a criminal offence. The proposed revisions to the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act do not address the reasons for noncompliance in the past. These are mainly from lack of resources to fund sound land management on Crown Land. This has transferred to an unfair responsibility in managing the act to the private landholder. We again thank our VFF Land Management Committee for their hard work in putting the submission together.

Incubating young Australian farmers Victorian regions are well suited to small to medium-scale market garden farming and may be a prime location for the first long term/live-in Australian farm incubator program. Farm incubator programs aim to remove start-up barriers that might discourage aspiring farmers from joining the program such as: • Access to land, equipment, business planning assistance, and markets • Access to a community of knowledgeable growers • Isolation. Farm incubators have been around for decades in the United States, yet there are no long-term programs actually up and running here in Australia, though there are organisations trying to get this idea going, with a shorter term model operating just out of Melbourne. The Intervale Center in Vermont (USA) is a thriving example and one of the oldest in the country. Each year, between one and three new farm businesses join the program as incubators, receiving subsidised rental rates, business planning support and mentorship from established growers. The co-operative runs 325 acres of reclaimed agricultural land, with resident farms producing fresh produce, eggs, meat, and flowers. New farms are offered five year leases to grow their business, at a lower rent in years one to three. During this time, full time staff are there to support with technical trouble, business planning and getting produce to market. The centre also leases to five to seven established farm businesses, who act as mentors and leaders in the agricultural community. After the five year term is up, the incubator farms are helped to access land off-site and make it on their own. Established in 1990, the Intervale Center has supported the success of over 40 farms. Each year it provides over 273,000 kg of fresh produce and contributes about 60 full-time, part-time and seasonal jobs to the local economy. Our aspiring young farmers need something just like it. Examples: • Intervale Center (Vermont, USA) • Breeze Farm Enterprise Incubator (North Carolina, USA) • Farmer Veteran Coalition (Arizona, USA): offers farm business training to returned servicemen


Water efficiency measures The Murray Darling Basin Plan (MDBP) has been a bone of contention with farmers and conservationists alike for some years now. We have been working hard on this issue and are pleased to report on some positive findings from the recent Murray Darling Basin Plan Ministerial Council meeting, in Mildura. Ministerial council meetings are important in setting the direction of issues such as the MDBP, so we have devoted a considerable amount of time and advocacy efforts into discussions with both DELWP and the Victorian Minister’s office, to ensure the voice of Victorian farmers is well represented at the negotiating table. The council agreed to an independent socio-economic study into the southern connected basin, including the efficiency measures. Other key recommendations included


a package of supply measures under the SDL adjustment mechanism, which seek to achieve the complete savings in the mechanism. Complimentary measures were also recognised with the council noting ‘complementary environmental projects can provide real environmental benefits’. They agreed to seek options to better embed complementary measures as a key element of achieving Basin Plan outcomes. Issues being contested were around the finalisation of the SDL adjustment mechanism required in 2017 and South Australia continuing to push for efficiency measures (also known as the 450GL upwater), explained below: • The SDL adjustment mechanism allows Victoria to propose ‘supply measures’ which reduce its recovery targets and prevent the detrimental impacts of buyback. We have continually advocated for achieving complete finalisation of the mechanism to avoid buyback • Efficiency measures - allow South Australia to draw up 450GL for the environment. The legislation says these measures can only be recovered where the impact

of the recovery would be socioeconomically neutral and we have advocated strongly to ensure this criteria is met before any recovery occurs. Our efforts have been rewarded with constructive outcomes for Victoria. Importantly, the independent study joins a range of other socio-economic work, recently completed or underway and we are confident the independent study will again show the negative impact of water recovery. Other studies include: • V ictorian State Government Socio – Economic Study into the Murray Darling Basin Plan. Released at the VFF MDBP Forum in Echuca, available at and following the link ‘social and economic impacts of the basin plan in Victoria’ • MDBA Socio-Economic Report Card – into the impact the MDBP is having across the whole of the basin (underway, expected early 2018). Recommendations from the meeting will be assessed by the Council of Australian Governments in June 2017, with the independent study expected to be released in late 2017.

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MAY Date 9 May 2017 Location Mildura Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 10 May 2017 Location Cohuna Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 10 May 2017 Location Bairnsdale Theme/Title Your cattle: a seasonal guide to what’s next

17 0 2 R A D N E EVENT CAL 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

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


Date 13 May 2017 Location Melbourne Theme/Title AFL Country Game (Essendon v Geelong) Date 24 May 2017 Location Yea Theme/Title Your stock: a seasonal guide to what’s next

Date 31 May 2017 Location Meredith 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

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 VFF Grains Group Conference 2017

Date 19 June 2017 Location Kaniva Theme/Title Your sheep: a seasonal guide to what’s next Date 20 June 2017 Location Bairnsdale Theme/Title Regional policy forum Date 20 June 2017 Location Sea Lake Theme/Title Your sheep: a seasonal guide to what’s next Date 21 June 2017 Location Omeo Theme/Title Regional policy forum

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



Farming a career of choice The aspiring farmer Farming sits towards the bottom of the career’s list for a lot of young Victorians. This doesn’t mean that young people don’t want to be farmers - it’s just too expensive. Why would anyone attempt a dream career that is nearly impossible to realise? One solution is to aid the transition of land, across generations, allowing farming to become a career of choice for young Australians once again. And if the cards are played right, it’s also possible for retiring farmers to continue to earn from their years of hard work, while supporting young farmers and bolstering their local community. We know aspiring farmers are up against it. Unless you inherit a farm, or are wealthy, you generally won’t have much of a chance of owning a farm. But, here’s a thought - treat your farm dream like it’s a start-up - be a farm entrepreneur. Here’s some tips to get started and hopefully achieve your goals. Write your plan down, tell everyone your farm dreams, talk to retiring farmers who you know are looking to step back and seek investors. There are farmers of retiring age out there who are maybe just waiting for you to ask them - will you sell me half your farm? There are also plenty of people out there seeking opportunities to invest in farming. The retiring farmer The current options for retiring farmers looking to step back are either sell it all, or stay till they die, which often doesn’t provide positive outcomes for their family, or the community. • S  ell it – you, the retiring farmer, get all the cash, but lose the connection with the soil you have

spent your life cultivating • D  ie on it - sounds romantic, but you will have completely worn yourself out and the farm may not still be operating at its full potential. But imagine if there was an option that allowed you to get cash to retire, have an ongoing income, support a new family and ensure your community thrives. This is a possibility if you looked at those options a little differently. What if you sold half the farm to a new farming family who really want to take up farming? It frees up cash for you to retire and your farm gets a new lease on life. Remain the equity owner of the farm and arrange to stay on the farm for as long as you want. While there, offer your wealth of knowledge to the new family; become the chairperson, rather than the CEO and help see the farm succeed. The only thing left to do now is to make it easy for aspiring farmers to find retiring farmers, a type of matchmaking service. Where both parties have the space and time to ensure everyone wins and are satisfied with the outcome. With hundreds of dating websites and new disruptive businesses changing how we buy and sell, matching aspiring and retiring farmers will be the normal way of transitioning land in the future and farming can once again be the realisation of a dream for aspiring farming families. Sam Marwood Co-founder of Cultivate Farm. A farm match–making, social enterprise, aiming to rejuvenate regional communities by bringing young families back to regional areas. For further information go to


Women leaders in agriculture HELEN VAUGHAN 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. In this edition, Liane interviews Regional Director Barwon South West Helen Vaughan, pictured, a senior member of Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). Raised on the land and driven by a goal to improve the well-being of local communities, Helen shares her vision for the future of Barwon South West and environmental services. Tell us about your original connection to agriculture – Have you always wanted to work in the environment and sustainability space? I grew up on a dairy farm in West Gippsland and developed an intrinsic connection to the land from my early years. I always wanted to be a land manager and as being a farmer was not an option for me, I decided to be a public land manager and became a forester. I really wanted to work within the public service where we are able to bring about significant changes that I consider make a real difference


to people and communities. I love what I do and I now have a broader departmental responsibility than forestry - where there is always some sort of challenge that I haven’t come up against before, whether it be with stakeholders, community members or staff. What do you love most about working in this field? I love being able to bring different people and therefore perspectives, together to work through some difficult problems. A project I am involved with is working with the Anglesea community following the closure of the Alcoa mine and power station. There are considerations for river, future land use and Anglesea Heath, (a 72 km² area of natural heath, woodland and forest) that all need to be factored into a new vision for the township without the mine operating. A number of government agencies, including local government, are all contributing to assist with the transition.

What have been your key learnings from your role as Regional Director Barwon South West? That we can achieve a lot by working with our communities to deliver better outcomes; whether it is in fire management, coastal management, major project delivery like renewable energy, or transport projects. Leading cultural change within staff where they feel valued and trusted to get on with their jobs, has also been key for Barwon South West, as well as hopefully creating an environment where stakeholders see that we understand their issues and are working to incorporate those issues into decision-making. How important do you think innovation is in regards to our approach to the environment and agriculture? Innovation can come from a number of different places, sometimes high tech, like using drones in coastal management sand mapping, or

low tech like just streamlining a cumbersome administrative process. For me it is about providing staff with the space to try new things without fear of reprisal. Our department has had a great program instigated by our Secretary, Adam Fennessy, called Thinkshake, where staff pitched an idea they thought would be useful for the department to invest in and then the department made the top 10 happen. Innovation is important and often people just need to be allowed to try something new. What challenges have you faced through the course of your career? Are there any insights you can offer for overcoming adversity? Any senior management role has its challenges - that is the attraction in my view. Having the ability to consider my options objectively at a point in time, has been beneficial for me. I find it is helpful to think about change as constant, whether that be natural changes like climate change, coastal

erosion and accretion, or social changes like communities having different values over time. I also think trusting yourself and your staff is vital for building resilience to change – together we can get through most things. What would you say has been your greatest achievement and why? Being part of creating a department that is helping to deliver really tangible outcomes on the ground for communities is DELWP’s collective achievement. We understand our communities, we have the courage to take on some difficult problems and hopefully we are respected for what we do. I am proud of my contribution to that. I think the public service has a lot to be proud of and helping staff to appreciate their role is a great achievement.

What kind of leaders inspire you most? There are so many leaders that really inspire me, from our DELWP Secretary through to the natural leaders that contribute to their community following emergency events. But I think the common thread is be true to your values and yourself – ultimately you need to be able to live with your contribution and own your decisions. If you know a female agribusiness leader who we should interview, please contact liane@saucecommunications.


Protect against the #1 carcinogen on the farm A study found ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the most common cancercausing agent in agriculture – but just 10 per cent of workers are protected from it. The 2016 Australian Workplace Exposure Study from Safe Work Australia, looked at common carcinogens in the agriculture industries. It found a whopping 99 per cent of workers were exposed to UV radiation, yet only 10 per cent were considered to be adequately protected with the use of shade, clothing, a hat and sunscreen. Although the temperature has cooled, UV is still at damaging levels and SunSmart is reminding farmers to keep UV protection on the agenda. SunSmart Manager, Heather Walker, said farmers and other workers in the agriculture industry have an increased risk of skin cancer because of the long hours spent in the sun over their lifetime. Because of this increased risk, Ms Walker said the lack of UV protection among the agricultural industry was especially alarming. “These findings should worry all farm workers, especially employers and those whose families work alongside them,” Ms Walker said. “You may not realise just how much UV radiation you are being exposed to, but it’s estimated this can be as much as 10 times more than an indoor worker might receive over their lifetime. All this UV damage adds up to increase your cancer risk.” It’s estimated that at least 200 melanoma and 34,000 other skin cancers diagnosed in Australia each year, are the result of UV exposure in the


workplace and nearly all are preventable. “All those who work outdoors on the farm need year-round sun protection. That includes covering as much skin as possible with clothing, a broad-brimmed hat, sunscreen and eye protection, as well as control measures like shade to reduce their amount of UV exposure. “It’s also important to check your own skin regularly for any spots that have changed in shape, colour, or size, or for any new spots. If you notice anything unusual, you need to see your doctor as soon as possible.” Ms Walker said all outdoor workers – including farmers – need to know more about the impact of UV damage, their responsibilities in managing it as a

hazard, and what is good UV protection policy and practice. “It is also important that employers remember they have a legal obligation under Victorian occupational health and safety legislation to provide a safe working environment. ”Without adequate protection in place, UV radiation is a risk that can cost your business – and the health of your workers.” SunSmart offers support, training and advice to workplaces on UV risk assessments, policy and control measures. For more information visit sunsmart.

Is your mindset your greatest asset? According to research, what we think and what we focus on has an enormous influence over our physical and emotional wellbeing. The process of focusing our attention is called mindset and combined with our belief systems and attitudes about the world, our mindset influences our perception and shapes our reality. In 1954, two men made history in running a mile in under four minutes. The first was Roger Bannister from the UK. Just over a month later, John Landy became the second man to run under four minutes and cemented his place in history as one of Australia’s greatest runners. Interview accounts demonstrate that John Landy did not believe that the fourminute mile was within his capabilities. The difference in the two men was mindset. Roger Bannister believed that it was possible. For John Landy this potential was only unlocked after Roger proved that it could be done.

According to Carol Dweck, psychologist and author of Mindset: the New Psychology of Success, the way we look at the world is influenced by two types of mindsets. A fixed mindset sees talent, intelligence and ability as a set of fixed qualities that you either have or don’t. When we operate from a fixed mindset, we often find challenges and obstacles to be threats, we feel that we lack the talent or the smarts to work through a problem and as a result, we may withdraw our effort or simply give up. A fixed mindset can mean that trying something new can feel overwhelming particularly if we feel that we will risk failure. Our ability to grow, learn and seek new challenges is often very limited when a fixed mindset is grabbing at our ankles and holding us back. A growth mindset on the other hand, takes the view that attributes such as intelligence and talent can be cultivated through determination, effort and instruction. Growth mindset appears in those who see challenge and failure as feedback. Setbacks are seen as an opportunity to learn and to refine skills along the pathway to a desirable outcome. This mindset is all about training our brains like any other muscle. Persistence, grit and resilience are key factors in determining success. How to change your mindset Step one: Identify when your fixed mindset shows up Tuning into our self-talk is a powerful way to recognise when we are being

held back by our fixed mindset. It’s that voice that says, “I’m no good at maths”, “I can’t dance”, “I am hopeless at learning new things”. Recognising that these words, are just words, is an important step to change. Step two: Make a choice It is inevitable that there will be set backs and challenges along your journey. Remember that you can choose to see each set back as an obstacle of epic proportions or you can decide to ramp up your effort, dig deep and explore multiple ways to get your desired result. Step three: Tackle your inner critic with a growth mindset voice One of the most powerful words that you can use to put your growth mindset into gear is the word “YET”. It takes 10,000 hours to became an expert, so remember that skill, expertise and talent are only acquired with time and practice. Mindset appears to be either an asset or liability, when it comes to exploring our full potential. But rest assured, the brain is very malleable and with training and effort, we are all capable of cultivating our talents and skills. Believing that success is possible appears to be the key! Suellen Peak Burst – Exploring Human Potential



New Horticulture Code of Conduct 1 April 2017 The current mandatory Horticulture Code of Conduct (the Code) has sunset on 31 March. From 1 April a new Code will be implemented which will include penalties for the first time. The Code covers trading arrangements between a grower and wholesaler (either an agent or a merchant). It does not cover grower agreements with processors, exporters or retailers. It means both parties will need to enter into a Horticulture Produce Agreement (HPA) prior to doing business. The HPA should outline details such as delivery, payment, commission, rejection conditions and other requirements for clear trading terms, easily understood by both parties.

with Executive Members, Bill Bulmer and Gaye Tripodi, and the Horticulture Council to ensure our issues are being heard at all levels of government. Emma is General Manager of the family mixed farming operation I love farms in Mirboo North. Emma is a 2014 Nuffield Scholar, has studied export opportunities for the vegetable sector, as well as participating in a number of government roundtables. “Employment responsibilities, competition policy and red and green regulation, can all add significant costs to a business. I want to make sure governments understand that implementing new policies can have an impact on the viability of our billion dollar horticultural sector,” Emma said.

Those trading under agreements prior to 1 April 2017 will have until 1 April 2018 (12 months) to ensure their agreements are compliant with the new Code conditions. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) regulates the Code. The ACCC will be drafting guidance materials, is responsible for ensuring compliance and can seek penalties when the Code has been breached. Look out for our newsletters for more information, or see our website: www.vff.

Young guns to lead horticulture Emma Germano and Stephen Dever will lead the lobbying activities of our VFF Horticulture Group from 1 May. Emma has been elected President and Stephen, Vice President. They will work closely

Emma Germano, new President VFF Horticulture Group. Stephen Dever is General Manager Marketing and Operations at Romeo’s Best, Australia’s largest privately owned table grape producer. He is also chairman of the Queensland Tablegrape Association, as Romeo’s Best has businesses across multiple states.

thank Owen Brinson for his contribution during the past four years as President and look forward to his continued contribution on the Policy Council. Owen is about to start the Australian Rural Leadership Program and we wish him well.

In brief A new X-ray irradiation treatment facility is to be built in Epping. Stay tuned for more news.

New North East truck curfew victory We have scored producers a major win, after lobbying successfully for the weight restriction to be raised for large trucks travelling along key roads in Melbourne’s north east at night. The curfew has restricted vehicles weighing more than 4.5 tonnes from travelling on arterial roads between the Eastern Freeway and the M80. Changes now mean vehicles weighing up to 16.5 tonnes can travel on roads, making it safer for farmers to reach the market. Horticulture President, Owen Brinson, said raising the weight restriction means flower, fruit and vegetable growers will again be able to use the most direct route from their farms to the Melbourne Wholesale Market.

The Horticulture Group would like to


Kicking goals with grains Our VFF Grains Group once again kicked off the new year with a very successful conference. The 38th Annual VFF Grains Conference, held at the Horsham Town Hall in February, attracted a large number of

The key outcomes from these discussions, as well as via resolutions posed by the VFF Grains Council and the members present at the conference, were:

Harvest efficiency - the conference called upon: • V  icRoads to work in conjunction with us to conduct truck roadworthy awareness sessions at major grain delivery towns prior to harvest commencing • VicRoads to enable defect notices to be lifted through local institutions other than VicRoads offices on a permanent basis • The VFF Grains Conference calls on wider industry to agree and establish an agreed industry standard process for objectively and independently establishing grain grades/ segregations not only before harvest, but develop the means of managing non-standard grades during harvest.

members and industry representatives alike, resulting in discussion and resolutions that will shaped the focus of our Grains Group for 2017. Key-note speaker John Fraser, Secretary to the Australian Treasury, opened the series of conference panel sessions, with an interesting discussion on foreign investment, global and national financial trends, wealth in farming and navigating the farming profitability challenge.

• O  ur VFF Grains Group to pursue a standard time limit for testing and assessment of grain samples at all BHC receival sites Infrastructure - the conference resolved to call on: • S  tate Government to advise of the Murray Basin Rail Project timeline and to ensure that the project will meet necessary industry needs, namely the standard gauge track, maximum freight axle load capacity and hot climate operation capacities • V  /Line to re-assess rail operation bans in above 33 degree temperatures • The Minister for Roads and Ports to develop and announce a road expenditure plan specifically targeting investment in rural grain supply chain pathways, to improve efficiencies and Victoria’s overall export competitiveness.

A number of other industry speakers continued the theme of risk and farm profitability, portfolio diversification, global and national grain market trends, supply chain infrastructure investment, harvest challenges, financial risk mitigation via new block chain technology, effective fumigation strategies and the feasibility of an optout levy systems, as seen in South Australia.

VFF Grains members further called for the Minister of Roads and Ports to investigate investment opportunities, to upgrade the facilities and subsequent efficiencies of Victorian grain export ports in Geelong, Portland and Melbourne. Opt-out grain levy: Our VFF Grains members supported the investigation of an ‘opt-out’ grain levy system for Victorian grain growers, as is currently in place in South Australia. Fodder counter-party risk: Our members requested we work to ensure similar counter-party risk mitigation measures be developed for the Australian Fodder industry, in conjunction with AFIA, as is being developed for the grains industry.

Conference participants had a great time and it was hailed as being one of the best conferences yet, so accolades to all involved. Thanks to everyone who joined us at our 2017 VFF Grains Conference and to those who helped out along the way, including the great local support from the organising committee, the Town Hall staff and Café Jas. A big thank you also goes to the sponsors for their support of our VFF Grains Group in 2017.

Year of change for your VFF Grains Council 2017 marked a year of significant change for the Grains Council with a number of councillors having served their maximum terms.


We would like to thank outgoing councillors, Garry Bibby, Colin Coates and Brett Hosking, as well as Noel Bar and Ashley Marshall, for their many years of dedicated service to our VFF Grains Council.

We would also like to welcome new councillors: Ross Johns - Grains President; Ashley Fraser - Grains VicePresident; Craig Henderson - Southern Mallee; Jason Mellings - Charlton and Anthony Mulcahy - Southern Region.

Grains for life Bob Watters has been a dedicated and involved member for many years, serving as a Councillor of our VFF Grains Group and board member during that time. Bob was on the board when the now Federal Member for Mallee, Andrew Broad, was president and helped the organisation through financial difficulties at that time, which resulted in constitutional changes in 2010. He spent long hours representing our interests and his dedication and commitment were second to none.

The 38th Annual VFF Grains Conference saw our VFF Life Memberships awarded to both Robert (Bob) Watters and Ian Hastings for their commitment and contributions to our organisation, which were far above and beyond the norm. his outstanding level of personal voluntary contribution and commitment. Ian is still actively involved in the industry, representing farmers on a number of industry committees, including chair of Mallee Sustainable Farming.

Congratulations to both Bob and Ian for receiving our VFF Life Memberships awards and we thank you both once again for your tireless commitment to the success of our organisation.

Ian Hastings not only represented our VFF Grains Group as President, but also sat on our VFF board. He has also held numerous industry representative and local community roles, demonstrating

Looking to the future

Our VFF Grains Group was delighted to award two up and coming agriculturists, Julia Ash and Hugh Macague, with the VFF Grains Group/ Birchip Cropping Group 2016 - 2017 Longerenong Agricultural Student of the Year Scholarship, at this year’s conference.

Both Julia and Hugh are very worthy recipients of this scholarship and we wish them well for the future. We know they will go on to showcase their skills and knowledge and be a great asset to the agricultural industry.

The grains group is proudly sponsored by: GOLD SPONSOR





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Lessons from 2016 and the way forward


UDV will hold its 2017 Annual Meeting and Conference at the MCG on Wednesday, 12 May, 2017. The meeting will focus ‘Lessons from 2016 and the way forward’, commencing with the Annual Young Farmer Breakfast and finishing with the UDV President’s dinner that evening. This year’s conference dinner speaker will be Anthony Everard, head of the highly successful Big Bash League cricket. The following day is the Essendon Vs Geelong Country Game at the MCG and all farmers attending the UDV Conference will receive free tickets to the match.

Conference topics will include: • A  CCC Dairy Inquiry Outcomes • A  SIC Dairy Inquiry Outcomes • M  ilk Supply Agreements and Code of Conduct • M  ilk Price Index • M  ilk Price Structure Review • E nergy Activity Update • D  airy Advocacy Review The meeting will also receive reports and deal with member resolutions. To register, please contact Ashlee Hammond on 9207 5556 or register online at: udvconference

Study tour gives back The tour also visited different industry organisations/farming groups, including Federated Farmers of New Zealand, Dairy NZ, Dairy Women’s Network and Wyndham Young Farmers. Since the tour ended, the participants have all implemented changes on their dairy farms, a fantastic outcome which shows the motivation and commitment of these young leaders.

For its tenth year running, the Gardiner Dairy Foundation UDV New Zealand Study has again motivated six young dairy leaders to make a difference in the industry. On the eight day tour in February, participants visited 10 dairy farms, a sheep dairy, a dairy wintering block and a cropping operation. This allowed for a broad cross section of farming systems, climates and business structures.

Janelle Fisher is a 50/50 sharefarmer with her partner and also works at Westpac Agribusiness in Warrnambool. Since arriving back in Australia, Janelle has worked to improve her relationship with dairy clients, better understanding their budgets and numbers and helping them set and achieve their financial goals. Alistair Harris is a manager and partner of a 600 cow dairy farm and said the tour has helped him to realise the importance of staff to his dairy business. Alistair has now put more focus on offering training to staff, taken on a new school-based apprentice and ensures all staff wear helmets on ATVs, which are also fitted with roll-over protection. He also started spreading dairy effluent the week he returned to be more tactical with fertiliser use.

Lauren Peterson currently manages a 140 cow dairy farm she leases with her partner, built up from just 30 cows in 2014. Lauren said the trip reinvigorated her passion for the industry. She has since introduced better recording for everything that happens on farm and held a meeting with their accountant to discuss business structure and equity options for moving forward in the industry. These are just a snapshot of some of the fantastic learnings and outcomes of the 2017 study tour. Participants each had to write a study tour blog post, summarising one day of the tour, which can be seen on the blog website at All 2017 New Zealand Study Tour participants will also be presenting at the UDV Annual Meeting and Conference, at the Young Farmer Breakfast on Friday 12 May, 2017. The UDV Conference is free for farmers and the Young Farmer Breakfast will come before a day focussed on ‘Lessons learnt from 2016 and the way forward’. More details are available on the website – udvconference.


UDV sparking energy investment Rural power networks are no longer serving the needs of farmers and it is crucial the State Government step in and upgrade the outdated infrastructure. It is crucial Victorian farmers have access to reliable, fairly priced power and emerging technologies, particularly energy intensive farms, such as dairy and horticulture. Dairy farmers across the state have been reporting various power issues, including power delivery, particularly in the state’s South West. A group of dairy farmers in the Tyrendarra region have been calling for three-phase power upgrades to attract investment and boost productivity of their region. Wannon UDV Branch has been leading the charge, putting forward resolutions at the UDV Annual Conference and previous VFF conferences and keeping the issue alive locally with government. To further support the need for three-phase investment, our dairy commodity UDV, explored the use of battery storage as an energy option for dairy farmers ,with consulting firm Negotiaction, through a feasibility study with funding from the New Energy Jobs Fund.


The feasibility study found that the lack of adequate power is affecting the dairy industry in the Tyrendarra area, preventing dairy farms from increasing cow numbers, due to the restrictions of vat storage imposed by the Single Wire Earth Return (SWER) line which provides power to the property. The feasibility study also highlighted the compromises people are making in milk harvesting and cooling to ensure only the dairy is running at milking time ie: turning off irrigation or cooling to ensure adequate power to run the dairy equipment. Further to this, in discussions with farmers, it is concerning that those who are servicing the power needs of our farmers are not always applying the benefits of a broad, integrated approach to equipment, technology and power supply, but instead operate on a ‘quick fix’ to ensure dairy farmers are ready for the next milking. The lack of investment in energy is a priority issue for farmers across Victoria and we are heavily engaged with government to secure funding. There is currently no long-term vision for investment in regional and rural Victoria by the State Government. We are working hard to secure funding for investment in long-term projects that will ensure our farmers remain productive, profitable and competitive and agriculture remains attractive for future investment and growth.

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.


Your guide to intruders Here is a quick guide of what you should do if you find someone on your property.

Farm invasions In recent weeks there has been, once again, a marked increase in farm invasions across several industries.

Finally, if you have been subject to a farm invasion and either you or one of your family members needs to talk it through, we recommend you call Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636. To find out about recommended legal advisers, call us on 1300 882 833.

2. Ask them to leave your property 3. If they do not do so, or you feel unsafe, call the police 4. F ilm them if you can and write down any number plates if they have a vehicle 5. O  nce the police arrive explain what happened. Even if that person has since left the property 6. C  heck your property for damage or loss of stock and report this to the police

In some cases stock has been taken, including 42 chickens stuffed in bags by animal activists, while in others, trespassers have just been seen.

At night 1. Ensure your own safety first

All members are eligible to have access to the ‘Trespass Guide’, which was written in conjunction with the Victorian Police.

3. F ilm them if you can and write down any vehicle number plates, but don’t put yourself in danger to do so

We are starting a cross-commodity incident log to track all farm invasions. If you have had trespassers on your farm in the last three months, please let us know. We want to track every farm invasion, whether it be to steal stock or to put up cameras, because this gives us the evidence we need to go to the government to demand change. So


if it happens to you call us direct on 9207 5610.

During the day 1. Ensure your own safety first

2. Call the police immediately

4. O nce the police arrive let them handle the trespassers 5. C  heck your property for damage or loss of stock and report this to the police

Note: Those on official business such as a postman, workplace inspector or an authorised officer of the law do have some rights to enter your property to undertake their official business, which is not considered trespass.

Toolbox sessions Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) is important for every business, particularly one with employees. For John Bourke, our VFF Pig Group President, managing farm safety and communications is easy - he runs a toolbox meeting. Every morning, John’s staff gather in the break room for around 15 minutes to go through what’s happening on the

farm for the day and any problems or dangerous practices. Any problems are recorded in a farm diary throughout the day and then looked at in the next morning’s meeting. All of John’s employees participate, with a different person chairing the meeting each day. A toolbox meeting is a relatively easy way to keep everyone up to date and fulfil some of your OH&S obligations the key is to do them regularly. Taking just 15 minutes at the start of the day, or combined with smoko, your toolbox meeting can easily fit around the farm’s schedule. John started the meetings on his farm about five years ago and says the biggest benefit has been stopping people doing stupid things.

“The meetings are a reminder every day for my employees to think about safety. It stops them from getting lazy about how they do things,” he said. Toolbox meetings are also a good time to get everyone together at once, do any safety training and then have your employees sign a sheet to say they understand what has been talked about. WorkSafe wants to see that each employee has signed off to say they understand all relevant safety procedures. If you put the sign off sheet in your OH&S or employee records, you’ve got something to show WorkSafe next time an inspector turns up. If you would like more information about running toolbox sessions for your farm let us know on 1300 882 833.


Livestock president’s report – a quarter of change It’s been a very busy first quarter of 2017 for the Livestock commodity, with many issues and opportunities on the agenda. As the peak body representing you to State Government, Agriculture Victoria and industry, we are ensuring your voices are heard. January 1 saw the implementation of mandatory eID in sheep and goats in Victoria. We continue to highlight issues to improve the rollout of the new eID system, ie: policies of no added cost to producers and no change to on-farm management practices. The ACCC released their final report into the beef sector with the watchdog clamping down on transparency and competition issues. We were disappointed that no recommendation on pre-sale weighing was made. This a fundamental competition issue for producers and we intend to force change in our favour in the political arena. The Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee handed down their final report on 30 March following the federal senate inquiry into the effect of market consolidation on the red meat processing sector. We will review the recommendations of this report and fight for the best outcome for farming businesses in Victoria, leading the way and bringing about positive change in the supply chain. Farm animal welfare is under the spotlight with the State Government announcing their plan to overhaul the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Act. We continue to fight to have farm animals separated under the new Animal Welfare Act, with the argument that if all animals are included in an umbrella legislation, there will be adverse animal welfare outcomes on farm. Farm animals need different welfare outcomes to domestic or zoo animals, wildlife, or those used for sport and recreation.


The RSPCA is also under scrutiny regarding its operations. They have conflicts of interest around activism and enforcement and must be held accountable. There is no place for the RSPCA in the extensive livestock industries and we will ensure that our working relationship with Agriculture Victoria as our enforcement agency is kept and that they operate appropriately. Cattle Council of Australia is conducting a Rural Awareness Tour (RAT) in Victoria in April. We have been influential in structuring this year’s tour, which gives government officials and industry stakeholders involved in development and implementation of federal policies, an understanding of the Victorian beef industry and the effect of government policy on-the-ground.



On behalf of industry, we manage the Livestock Health & Biosecurity VICTORIA project. This project delivers value to producers by holding events which provide information from industry’s most respected experts, with a focus on endemic diseases that impact farm profitability, animal welfare and Victoria’s biosecurity status. We are proud to deliver this project, which is co-funded by the Cattle Compensation Fund and the Sheep and Goat Compensation Fund, because we know how important it is for all producers to be informed, to ensure their business is operating to its full potential. Our focus is on representing your best interests with government and through the supply chain. We run regional forums to hear what issues are affecting you and how we can best use our influence to improve the situation. If you are interested in a policy forum in your area please contact us at the VFF on 1300 882 833. Thank you for your ongoing support. Without you, livestock producers have no recognised voice in Victoria. Leonard Vallance President, VFF Livestock







andering with Rydges Melbourne




Phone: (03) 9662 0511 Email: Terms and Conditions Apply Subject to Availability


Cause to celebrate transparency A landmark report was recently released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) with recommendations to clamp down on anticompetitive behaviour across the livestock industry.


is on notice, but we are disappointed the issues around pre-and post-sale weighing at saleyards, which was a significant issue in the lead up to the inquiry, were not recommended in the report,� he said. Mr Vallance also said the industry needed to take on pre-sale weighing of cattle to increase competition and transparency and that it was frustrating the ACCC did not give a resolution on this matter.

Our Livestock President, Leonard Vallance, welcomed the report on behalf of the VFF and Victorian cattle producers, saying that we broadly support the 15 recommendations contained in the report .

The major themes of transparency and accountability were repeated throughout the report and we are very happy that it recommended the industry prioritise implementing objective carcass measurement technology in abattoirs, which will help increase trust between processors and producers, increasing farm production benefits through precise carcass feedback.

“It’s up to us to work with the Federal and State Governments to make sure these recommendations are followed. The ACCC has made it clear the industry

Improved voluntary market reporting was encouraged in the final report, but mandatory price reporting was not recommended. We support improved

voluntary price reporting to give added transparency and improve decision making on farm, but Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) needs to conduct a cost benefit analysis on this proposal. It was also pleasing to see the ACCC recommended that all livestock agents across the country be licensed as there is no room for misleading or underhanded behaviour in the industry. MLA will join us in holding forums around Victoria to give producers information on the changing technology and how it can help boost returns. The Red Meat Advisory Council (RMAC) has been given the responsibility to oversee the implementation of the recommendations, and must report to state and federal agriculture ministers on its progress. We will work with RMAC to ensure the recommendations will benefit Victorian livestock producers. After two years of fighting for more transparency in the livestock industry, this report shows we are finally making an impact.

It’s simple - get vaccinated against Q fever

The Q fever vaccine is recommended for those at risk of infection – people working with livestock. Once you decide to take action against Q fever, the pre-screening and vaccination process is simple to follow.

Find a GP The first step is to find a GP to complete the pre-vaccination screening and vaccination against Q fever. Contact your local GP or visit where you can ‘Find a vaccinator’, see image 1.

Results and vaccination A second visit to the GP will be for the results of the pre-vaccination screening.

Pre-vaccination screening The pre-vaccination screening test is used to exclude people who are already sensitised to Q fever antigens and who therefore may experience serious hypersensitivity reactions if vaccinated.

Immunity to Q fever typically develops 15 days after vaccination - so ideally, vaccinations should be given at least two to three weeks before a person starts working in an at-risk environment.

Skin test: The first visit to the GP will be for a skin test. The main purpose of the skin test is to make sure people will not have a reaction to the vaccine. Results take about a week to show. With a negative result, the test area of skin will remain clear. With a positive result, the skin will become red and slightly raised.

Q-VAX® Q fever vaccine can only be administered to people with a negative skin test and blood test.

Vaccinated for life Once you receive the vaccine you are guarded against Q fever for life.

Image 1: Australian Q Fever Register homepage highlighting where to ‘Find a vaccinator’:

Blood (serology) test: From the first visit you will be sent to get a blood test to determine if you have been exposed to Q fever in the past.


For more info contact Catherine James or Kimberley Henman on 03 5444 9777


Anthrax – be alert not alarmed

affected carcasses to be a source of infection for other stock. In a recent interview with ABC news on the outbreaks in Swan Hill, Victoria’s CVO Charles Milne spoke about the outbreak. “Seasonal conditions are to blame for the outbreak because the disease spread through soil, not animal to animal,” he said. This highlights that it was not a quarantine failure resulting in the spread of the disease, however, it is still important that precautionary measures be taken. Such measures include looking out for signs of the disease. Unfortunately the first sign of disease is usually unexplained sudden death, however blood may be present around the nose, mouth and anus of an infected carcass. Charles Milne also spoke about the risk of humans being infected with the disease during recent outbreaks.

The recent outbreak around Swan Hill serves as a timely reminder that Anthrax is present and there are measures you can take to reduce the risk on your property. Anthrax has been in Australia for over 150 years, known to have spread along old stock routes through central NSW into Northern Victoria. Today, the majority of confirmed cases in Victoria are in the northern regions, with a number of locals in the area referring to it as Anthrax country. It spreads through bacterial spores which can lie dormant in soil for decades. These spores can also be found in hair, hides and processed skin of infected animals. Spores can be disrupted by earthworks, heavy rain or deep grazing, particularly over summer months when stock graze closer to the ground. Disturbed spores can then be eaten by livestock, causing


“There is a very small risk of human infection, you actually need to handle the infected material. The risk of the general public catching Anthrax is extremely low,” said Mr Milne. The last reported case of human anthrax in Victoria was in 2007, where a knackery worker came in contact with an infected carcass. The symptoms were caught in time and the worker was treated, making a full recovery. Once again, even though the risk of human infection is low, it is important to take the necessary precautions when dealing with livestock. This includes good personal hygiene and the appropriate handling of infected animals and carcasses. Remember, do not handle, move or open suspect carcasses. Any suspected cases must be reported to the 24-hour Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888, to the local vet, or to Agriculture Victoria animal health staff. For more information, contact Livestock Health & Biosecurity Victoria’s Catherine James or Kimberley Henman on 1300 882 833 or email

A showcase of beauty This year’s 2017 Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show was a tremendous success, showcasing the highest quality flowers and design from the cut flower and horticulture industries.

Milder temperatures and crisp fallen leaves made for an ambient setting, enticing over 100,000 visitors to the show, an increase on previous years. The show forms a linchpin for Flowers Victoria, as revenue raised from ticket and flower sales is used to promote flower buying campaigns and networking events for the remainder of the year. Exposure for members through such a large public platform is invaluable and makes the show one of the most important events on our annual VFF calendar. The Petal Project by Flowers Victoria was a retail market designed to promote locally grown flowers and the quality associated with Victorian farmed flowers. Several members donated their product to this market, which allowed us increased profits and we were happy in turn to educate and inform the public about their product. Most notably, warm and sincere thanks must be given to the following members for each donating upwards of $1000 worth of flowers for the market. Chrysco Flowers Sunny Hill Flowers Tesselaar Flowers TNB Tulips - We encourage all members to support their generosity, by looking out for

these names on the sleeves of flowers when making your next purchase. A short Flowers Victoria produced film, which was screened at the show also features further information on these businesses and is available to view via our YouTube Channel. The Sky Full of Blooms was a people’s choice competition, which saw 10 teams of growers and florists collaborate to display a hanging aerial installation. The standard of floristry and design attracted large crowds to this area of the show and we are happy to announce the winning entries as follows: F irst place – Halit Flowers by Love Alice & Co.  econd place – Banool Gardens by S Merryn Maher T hird place - Tesselaar Flowers by The Eleventh Flower The success of 2017’s flower show was a result of many people’s efforts but special thanks should be given to the following: Vend, a company that Flowers Vic wholeheartedly recommends. The Petal Project could not have been the profitable and smooth running operation it was, without this software and the support of Lucille Webster and Jordan O’Loughlin. Box Hill TAFE Floristry students, who assisted with the smooth running of the flower market at the show for the second year running and we are honoured and proud to have such talented students volunteer their time for our organisation.


Flowering glamour The Flowers Victoria Industry Cocktail Evening was a glamorous occasion, set in the magnificent Royal Exhibition Building amongst fresh and fragrant floral displays. The red carpet was rolled out for our members and staff to kick up their heels and celebrate yet another successful year at the Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show. Images: 1. V  FF Vice President Brett Hosking, VFF CEO Graeme Ford and Hon Peter Walsh, Leader of the State National Party, enjoying the evening

2. Sky Full of Blooms, Halit Flowers by Love Alice and Co - awarded first place 3. S  ky Full of Blooms, Banool Gardens by Merryn Maher awarded second place 4. The industry’s finest enjoy a champagne amongst friends 5. The VFF crew enjoying the evening 6. VFF Vice President Brett Hosking and VFF Executive Assistant Linda Tomassi have fun under the Bloomin Koomen installation 7. Flowers Vic’s Anastasia Volpe welcomes guests.



2 5


3 6


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


News and reviews Heart of Victoria dinner

Meeting our VFF staff

It’s back for a fifth year! Victorian agriculture’s night of nights…

Our staff are a talented group of people who are here to help you. They are dedicated and innovative and love working for the VFF.

The AGRICulture Heart of Victoria Gala Dinner is on again – make sure you lock it in your diary - Thursday 11 May, Members Dining Room in the Heart of Melbourne’s sporting precinct – the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Come along and once again help us celebrate all that is great about Victorian agriculture – our food, wine, fibre and flowers will all be on show on the night along with great entertainment and plenty of time to network with your friends and industry colleagues! To book a table – contact VFF member services on 1300 882 833.

AFL Country Game 2017 Essendon vs Geelong Come along to a great game as the AFL Country Game, paying tribute to the rural community, marches into its second year.

There’s staff who administer our projects such as Farmers’ Fund and the Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme, our membership team - who will encourage your neighbours to join us and become part of the family. And of course there’s the behind-the-scenes people who support us, to support you - they are all valued and they are all working for you. Next month we’ll start a feature to profile some of our staff so you can really get to know them. The people you talk to when you call us, plus all the people working for you, here at VFF.

Essendon and Geelong have already played a rural preseason game at Bendigo’s Queen Elizabeth Oval, where the Bombers went down by 22 points.

Look out for staff profiles in the Winter edition, due August, 2017.

Last year, the Cats defeated the Bombers by five goals in the inaugural AFL season match, in front of close to 50,000 spectators.

Our staff actually came up with the idea to include information on support resources on this page, to help you to have easy access to some important resources, that may just make a difference in your life.

It will be a very different Bombers team this year with an already impressive start to the season, as they welcomed back 10 players after an enforced year-long hiatus. Captains, Bomber’s Dyson Heppell Leongatha and Cat’s Joel Selwood – Bendigo were both junior champions in their local clubs and share a country background with many of their team mates. Our VFF dairy arm UDV’s conference attendees receive a free ticket to the game.


They can help you with a range of queries, from employment issues and industry updates, to issues with government. They can even talk to government on your behalf.

Helping you with the stress of farming

If you are feeling stressed, anxious or need financial help, here’s some numbers which may help. Remember: if you need urgent medical help, ring 000, or for urgent mental health issues, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, or one of the 24 hour numbers following.

Mental health/healthcare services 24 hour services Lifeline Australia 13 11 14 Beyondblue 1300 22 46 36 Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467 Kids Helpline - 1800 55 1800 Suicide Help Line 1300 651 251 Online resources Young people Headspace 1800 650 890 www. Young Carers 1800 242 636 Men’s health Mensline Australia 1300 789 978 Australian Mens Shed Association 1300 550 009 Women’s health Womens Health Victoria 9664 9300 Mind Health Connect Jean Hailes for Women’s Health 1800 532 642 Sexual assault – family violence 1800 RESPECT 1800 737 732 Healthcare Free after hours services Nurse on call 1300 606 024 After hours doctors on call – check online in your local area Dial 000 for urgent assistance Free financial services National debt helpline 1800 007 007 Consumer Action Law Centre 9629 6300 Free online assistance Salvation Army Moneycare program financialcounselling Asic’s Moneysmart - au/managing yourmoney/managing debts/ financialcounselling Australian Government - assistance/rural financial counselling service Agriculture Victoria - management/ debt mediation/financial counselling

See more at


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 - Autumn 2017  
Victorian Farmer Magazine - Autumn 2017