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Workplace relations updates p14 Your health p34 Commodity news p37 News p52

Focus on opportunities not threats



HARVESTER FIRE Reducing the risks

Seven percent of harvesters will start a fire each year. Of these, one in ten will cause significant damage to the machine or surrounding crop. Losses can be minimised with hygiene, inspection and maintenance. The Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has developed the following checklist, which can help reduce the risk of harvester fires. Restrictions on harvesting during a total fire ban differ from state to state. See the guide over leaf to find out how they apply to you.

FRONT HYDRAULICS Periodically degrease hydraulic motors as oil can attract dust and create a flammable mixture that is difficult to remove.

SIDE PANEL SPOT CHECKS Frequently inspect under panels, guards and covers. If the machine is stopping then take the opportunity to check for signs of trouble. Inspect all fuel and hydraulic lines thoroughly for leaks and repair these immediately.

BEARING CHECKS Use an infrared thermometer to check the temperature of bearings and other moving parts and monitor the temperature of problem bearings by keeping a daily temperature log. Some bearings run hotter than others. If the temperature of a bearing increases by more than 50 percent, investigate further.

BRAKES MINIMISE FLAMMABLE MATERIALS Minimise flammable material by following a rigorous clean down regime. Clean-down intervals should be guided by observing the visual build-up of flammable material.

START AT THE FRONT Always check the harvester front by inspecting under guarded areas, where dust and chaff build-up can go unnoticed. Pay attention to knife drive gearboxes and bearings as they can overheat.

Ensure brakes are inspected for overheating and are well maintained.

EXHAUST SYSTEM Keep exhaust pipes and mufflers clean and free of chaff. When modifying exhaust pipes and mufflers, avoid creating additional entrapment points. If the engine fan is directed over the exhaust, ensure air flow is sufficient to keep it clean.

TURBO CHARGERS Use heat-resistant paints on exhaust manifolds and turbo chargers to create a

more slippery surface, which will prevent dust from settling on hot parts and assist with cleaning from the engine fans.

CLEANING DOWN Use a large air compressor for blowing down the machine, starting at the top. When cleaning the harvester, open the appropriate panels but leave the engine cover closed. When clean, repeat the process with the engine cover open to avoid blowing excess dust into the enclosure. With the top of the harvester blown down, work around the machine, opening all panels and blowing out.

FIRE CONTROL Make sure you’re prepared if a fire starts: • Check all fire extinguishers are in place and fully charged. • Familiarise all operators with procedures for extinguisher use. • Always have a mobile fire-fighting unit on-hand. • Powder extinguishers must be recharged whenever partly used as powder will settle on the seal and partly used extinguishers will lose pressure.

INSURANCE Make sure your farm property is adequately insured and contact your insurer whenever you purchase new machinery or equipment to include it under your policy. This can help you get back up and running as quickly as possible and minimise the disruption to your business. If you would like to review your insurance policies contact your local WFI area manager on 1300 934 934, or visit

This information has been provided as a guide only. WFI makes no warranties about the accuracy or completeness of this information. WFI, including its directors, affiliates, officers, employees, agents and contractors, do not accept any liability for any loss, damage or other injury resulting from its use. This information doesn’t take into account your objectives, financial situation and needs. You should consider these matters and the

2 Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) before you act on any advice. You can get a copy of our PDSs from our website at or by calling 1300 934 934. If you purchase any WFI product we will charge you a premium, plus any taxes and charges, based on your risk profile and circumstances.

Need someone who knows insurance? You need to know your local WFI insurance specialists.

Jason De Ligt, WFI Area Manager, Traralgon Jason joined WFI in July 2015 as an Area Manager servicing clients, from Traralgon to Sale and South Gippsland, from Yarram to Toora. He was attracted to the role as he is able to work for a well-respected company, whilst giving him the opportunity to get out and about to meet many wonderful clients. Jason enjoys meeting new people and building upon the strong relationships WFI has with its clients. Growing up in Bunyip, along with his previous insurance experience in the Warragul area, makes it easier for Jason to understand the issues faced by locals in regional Victoria and the importance of insuring valuable assets. Call Jason on 0438 932 590

Mary Livori, WFI Area Manager, Melbourne and Bayside Mary services the Bayside and Melbourne metropolitan areas. Having extensive experience as a member of the WFI team, Mary is no stranger to assisting clients with a broad range of insurance needs. Mary enjoys the flexibility that her role provides and values the opportunity to meet new people in the course of her work. Call Mary on 0409 856 056

Caroline Shand, WFI Area Manager, Deniliquin Crossing the border between New South Wales and Victoria is not unusual for Caroline. Although she services clients from Echuca, Victoria to Ivanhoe, New South Wales and places in between, it is the town of Deniliquin that Caroline calls home. From humble beginnings in 1994, Caroline began her career at WFI as a Client Service Officer. During her time, she has progressed into the role of Authorised Representative and has never looked back. Her friendly, personal service and longevity in the position has enabled her to develop strong business relationships, some of which have lasted more than a decade. Call Caroline on 0427 035 036

To see if our products are right for you, always read the PDS from the product issuer. Visit Mary Livori (AR 252736) and Caroline Shand (AR 252770) are authorised representatives of WFI.


President’s report

ns floated by several n involved in a battle over pla bee e hav we , now by w kno As most of you with higher rates. rural councils to slug farmers fair share of more than happy to pay their are and ies nom eco al loc ir ducers and Farmers contribute to the ble rate burden on primary pro ona eas unr an for nd sta n’t council rates. But we wo ple. State Government and the peo we’ve taken the debate to the ny local councillors don’t air rating burden. What too ma unf an h wit ed fac ady alre Farmers are ue bears little relationship to ans of production and its val me a is d lan farm t tha is d understan to pay. a farmer’s wealth or capacity vices like Airbnb, the their property by offering ser from ney mo ke ma can one e it’s a productive In a time when any ed more on their land becaus tax be uld sho ers farm t tha common argument asset doesn’t stack up. y are on a large block of land, the because a farmer is sitting t jus t nded tha ed pou um com ass has be ’t It can viable and this reased in size just to remain inc e hav ms Far fit. pro a g makin the rating burden. the differential rating ernments from abandoning gov al loc p sto to ting figh ft the rates burden We have been y, which would completely shi teg stra ng rati form uni a of as other ratepayers. system in favour to the same level of services ess acc e hav ’t don we en onto farmers wh tle with their , who have been in a bitter bat ers farm rat Ara by de ma ng was made by This is a key argument bei ng strategy. The same point rati form uni a h oug thr ram to local council over a plan ir council tried to follow suit. Gannawarra farmers when the uiry into the Ararat Council’s ointed a commission of inq app now has nt me ern Gov to force a uniform rating The State ncil has abandoned its plans Cou arra naw Gan and y teg rating stra differential rate. strategy and will now keep a similar methods er rural councils are eyeing off oth ny ma bt dou No r. ove But the fight is far from for local services. as a way to grab more funds ns, ment minister Natalie Hutchi Andrews and his local govern iel Dan r ge mie tila Pre cur to and put se has The VFF on the hou charge municipal rates only to be uld wo n utio sol er fair that a d. (house block) on a farmer’s lan isn’t sustainable and in g share of the rate burden sin rea inc r eve an pay to ltural land. Forcing farmers state’s most valuable agricu the of e som off ers farm ing some cases is driv r. You have t if we are to win the rates wa por sup r you d nee we But . the We cannot let that happen ause together we can make toria. Please stay involved, bec Vic in ce voi l erfu pow st mo the system fairer for farmers. David Jochinke President


Working for you

CEO’s message T he article in this edition, Opportunities not threats are the future for Australia’s farmers, by Jessica Purbrick-Herbst canvasses many of the technological and business changes that are heading the way of farmers. In some cases they are coming at a rush. The nature of Australian agriculture has made our farmers highly innovative and embracers of new technologies. A great strength of the sector is an ability to adapt and use technology and knowledge to constantly refine and improve the farming system. Often this can be a very different utilisation of the same innovation across properties. This is building innovation onto innovation. New technologies becoming available should be seen as great opportunities. History will show that without innovation and adaptation any business model can and eventually will, be disrupted. Agriculture is no different. To remain competitive in a world that is innovating at a rapid pace, we must have the settings that aid Australian farmers to be at the forefront of adapting and implementing technologies. This means that we must have access to fast, reliable and affordable data services, reliable and affordable energy supplies, a transport network that is improving its efficiency and a regulatory regime that facilitates innovation not impedes its introduction and use. It’s fair to say that across the state we do not have these elements in place. The task for the VFF is for us to continue with our leadership in the fight to get these settings right. We have been pushing hard on data services, supply chain costs and energy supplies and the long and ongoing battle to secure more favourable regulatory settings. We will continue to lead and we encourage members to join us. Let the community and politicians know what we need to provide food for all Australians and the global economic contribution made by food and fibre producers. Greame Ford CEO

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: Marc Bongers – Wangaratta Chronicle 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.

From the editor I’m excited to welcome you to our latest new-look magazine. I’ve heard your feedback and I’ve listened. See a snap-shot of what’s new below: Get to know our staff, the talented, dedicated people who work so hard for you - p30. Read about your fellow members, sharing their knowledge, ideas and experience - p8, 10, 52. Stay up to date and get involved, see our how to and recommended reading sections - p9, 22. Please the family, whip up some Somerville pies. There’s more delicious recipes on our website and each week in our e-news - p53. Meet the new President of Wangaratta and District, our branches and their communities are the lifeblood of the VFF - p52. Farm safety, it’s literally the lives of our members. Each edition will feature new tips to help keep you and your family safe - p52. Chat to us, we’ve included our authors’ names and contact details under each article, plus staff contacts, so feel free to get in touch - p53. Finally, if you have any suggestions or feedback on our magazine, I’d love to hear from you. Loretta Gibson Editor

Contents Workplace Relations

p 14

Event calendar


Flowers Victoria














Exclusive member offers


Cover photo: New Wangaratta and District VFF Branch President, Natasha Lobban, pictured with her husband Dean and baby Harriet – see profile page 52.


Opportunities not threats are the future for Australia’s farmers Special thanks to Tony Gregson, Snow Barlow and Joanne Daly – eminent thought leaders and practitioners in understanding the future of Australian agriculture, climate change and farming. Many thanks also to the Academy of Technology and Engineering for permission to create this piece from articles published in ATSE Focus. Understanding the opportunities now and taking action will ensure a profitable, sustainable and secure Australian farming and agribusiness sector to face global challenges. In the years leading up to 2030, a focus on emerging markets and increasing consumer interest in tracking food from paddock to plate, provides the Australian farming and agriculture sectors with significant opportunities. Then add in the changing landscape of consumer expectations in the domestic market and the varying expectations of the ‘clean and green’ credentials of Australian produce. Consistent and clear information across the supply chain will be essential for consumers, industry players and investors to confidently participate in the market. While technology improvements won’t solve all the challenges the agriculture sector faces, the adoption of available and emerging technologies presents many potential benefits. The Australian agricultural sector will need to embrace new science


Working for you

as it becomes available, including biotechnology and robotics, to remain globally relevant, competitive and to maximise profitability. To achieve this, our workforce will need to be digitally competent with appropriate business skills. Investment will be necessary to advance the desired changes in this capital-intensive industry and to generate profits for investors, processors and producers. And we cannot ignore the major issues of climate change, biosecurity, the role of foreign investment and food security – they are essential in shaping Australia’s agricultural future. Farming the future Technology developments have the potential to provide significant benefits to the agribusiness sector, including reducing uncertainty, boosting productivity, lowering input and production costs and reducing environmental impacts. Automation will bring costs of production down around the world and will change the models of agribusiness. Physical changes to work practices through the introduction of robotic and drone (UAV) technology are already part of Australian agricultural practices with precision agriculture and driverless machinery. This will increase. Robots, drones, satellites (GPS technology) and fixed sensors are already improving land and water resource management and determining the location and health of livestock or crops. Infrastructure that supports the capture, sharing and extraction of this data is essential. The market for data analysis, via brokers or experts in specific fields, will probably lead to an excess of available service providers. Some producers are already embracing these changes, as many innovative and potentially revolutionary technologies

are commercially available and more are in the research pipeline. But so far adoption is limited to a small proportion of the agribusiness sector – by scale, access to capital and – in some cases – disinterest, or an unwillingness to take the next step. Fast, sustainable internet access will increasingly be a key business requirement to enable producers to operate efficiently. Access to infrastructure, capital and tailored programs to assist smallerscale producers will help facilitate sector-wide innovation. We need skills in science, technology, engineering and maths to drive innovation. But we face some key issues: Biotechnology The development of advanced precision gene-editing technologies has potentially revolutionary prospects in agriculture. Conventional breeding has been used to introduce useful traits into plants and animals for centuries. Gene editing now allows us to specifically alter gene segments with high precision. This allows us to introduce desired genetic qualities (or suppress undesirable ones) and has the potential to improve drought and disease resistance, decrease the use of fertilisers, herbicides and pesticides and increase nutritional profiles. A balanced and adaptable policy and regulatory framework will be necessary to enable Australia to reap the benefits of agricultural biotechnology, while respecting the concerns and values of the public. A regulatory approach that considers the product rather than the technology (that is, the characteristics of a novel crop rather than the specific technology used to create it) would be desirable.

Climate change The climate is a major factor in all aspects of agricultural production. With the regarded further 2°C warming, climate change poses very real threats for agricultural producers including rising sea levels, increased frequency of extreme weather events and land use changes. Addressing the challenge of climate change will be industry specific, however there are some generic opportunities: • I mproved seasonal weather forecasts, including extreme weather events will be critical to allow farmers to manage their climate risks, particularly as the regional seasonable weather patterns are changing • Improved genetics will be needed to allow adaptation to weather extremes, changes in season duration and changing pest and disease regimes • Addressing decreasing plant protein due to increased CO2 concentration will be essential to maintain or improve the nutritional value of crops and pasture for humans and animals •  Integration of big data, remote sensors and internet connectivity onfarm will allow real-time information, accuracy and insights. The availability of reliable internet services of acceptable bandwidth will be crucial to the implementation of these technologies. Australian agribusiness has the opportunity to turn climate change

adaptation advantage.




By proactively addressing the agricultural challenges that are predicted from climate change, Australia can help to secure local production and export this knowledge internationally.

green’ may have different meanings for consumers in China and India compared with Australia and how these messages are portrayed is vital. There is a big divide between food and agriculture’s role in nutrition and what that means for consumers.

And the development of new technology solutions for the challenges of climate change will be essential to support adaptation responses.

Health information on diseases such as diabetes and obesity is often given separately from food purchasing decisions and consumption, representing a significant disconnect.

Collaboration Developments in digital technology means there are new ways of collaborating and sharing information.

Better links need to be made between what is produced and what is consumed and its relationship to health.

This presents a range of opportunities in improving research engagement, sharing data, streamlining regulatory processes and developing new business models.

Households are also increasingly seeking information relating to the provenance of the food they purchase.

It also presents many challenges, with issues of data ownership and security, and the use and quality of data. A sustainable agriculture sector will link agribusinesses, researchers, service and technology providers, consumers, investors and government. Consumers Understanding what drives consumers is based on factors such as ethics, environment, financial status, cultural background and health – which in turn determines what goods they purchase and from where. How the agriculture sector responds to consumer needs will be driven by which market they are targeting. For example, the concept of ‘clean and

There will be opportunities to use digital technologies, such as blockchain technology*, which track the provenance, processing and transportation of food products and provide this information at the point of purchase. This will contribute invaluable data to the agribusiness sector. To maintain its social licence, the agribusiness sector - along with the scientific community and decisionmakers- must listen to and understand broader community views and values. And then consider how to use new technologies in food production in ways that are socially and environmentally responsible. Jessica Purbrick-Herbst Engagement and Communication

*Blockchain technology A system that digitally records economic transactions, so they can be shared, continuously edited and reconciled. Imagine, in the future, truly knowing your food journey – we could map the DNA footprint from a calf born in a paddock to a steak on a plate. We would then know the exact nutritional, environmental, health and wellness journey your steak has had before arriving on your plate.

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Focus on our members Charlie de Fegely, a farmer from Dobie near Ararat, is a wellknown member of the VFF community, having lead the recovery from the fires that caused major devastation twice in the last 10 years. He’s been featured numerous times in local media and has recently been heavily involved in the rates fight in Ararat, which has now led to a State Government inquiry. Charlie, together with his wife Liz and three sons, Will, Richard and Alastair, run predominately prime lambs on their family property, Quamby. This year they are running 7,000 breeding ewes, will produce around 9,000 lambs, with the aim of reaching a flock of 10,000 in the near future. They also run a small cropping program. Quamby supplies lamb to Coles, which led to a brief superstar moment, where Charlie was featured on the recent


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Heston Blumenthal Masterchef tour around Victoria. I recently chatted with Charlie on his thoughts on farming in today’s society, the rates issue and what the future holds. Why did you decide to take the lead on the Ararat rate differential issue? The rates issue was like a bomb going off in the district. As I’d previously been the representative for the VFF on fires and other support, I seemed to just fall into the role.

Your business needs to be able to handle long dry spells and you need to build in resilience, be a reliable supplier, whether there’s a drought or not. We have built cropping in to make us more resilient. In the past we produced stuff and then sold it, just like many traditional farmers. We had to learn to be a supplier and move towards stock being commodity or product based.

It all started when the VFF called a meeting in Lake Bolac. An action group was then formed and I ended up with the role of chairman.

What does the term modern farming look like to you and does technology feature heavily in this? We are involved in using the latest genetics for pasture and livestock and this is vitally important to our business.

We put together a vibrant, new committee, with a mix of young people who put their hands up to be involved. Bringing with them a range of different skills and lots of great ideas.

All breeding ewes are electronically tagged and have been for 10 years. I don’t believe we are using this to its full advantage as yet, but in five years we certainly will.

How do you see the future of farming developing? I believe the future is positive. We need to manage the new variable - climate change and the demands of the consumer and processor; and also be a reliable, sustainable producer.

There’s a lot of talk about technology. But we’ve got to evaluate what’s of value to us, by delivering profits and what will successfully move our farming practices into the future, so we can meet the growing demands of the modern consumer.

All of these things will make farming step up to be more profitable in the future. The old style of farming - produce and sell - just won’t survive.

Loretta Gibson Engagement and Communication

Stand up for your community How to lobby council

The recent rates review has highlighted the wisdom of Thomas Jefferson’s words “the price of freedom is eternal vigilance”. There are many groups seeking councils to provide services which are increasingly removed from ‘roads, rates and rubbish’. When these services are provided at a ‘rate rise’ there is often less of a willingness to pay. Farming might not have the electoral numbers but farming is critical to rural economies. We need to get smarter at having our voice heard ‘early and often’. Councillors need to be aware of the consequences of their actions. Although councils must seek public comment on budgets (rates), council plans, changes to planning controls,

preparation of strategies and the like, it is rare that you will receive direct notice of these changes. We can work smarter not harder. Get to know the key documents and the cycles. Council plans guide the rates policy – but also may guide the council’s attitude to farming – or issues that impact on farming. Council must prepare one after each election and then review annually - usually by 30 June. Budgets are usually advertised around March – May. Other processes like policy changes and major permits can occur at any time, but normally appear in the ‘council page’ in your local newspaper or on the council’s website. Some councils let you subscribe to issues. At a branch level you could seek a volunteer to read the council page and the monthly council meeting agenda, to see if there are any items that might impact on farming. It doesn’t hurt to be proactive – others

are. Seek a regular meeting with your council’s CEO to discuss the importance of farming to the local economy and the challenges that council can help you resolve. Many other groups are good at asking for more environmental controls or programs that will require a rate increase to implement. When you find an issue, share it in your network and contact us to see how we can offer support – as in the recent example of our Ararat rates campaign. We supported the community on this rates differential issue, resulting in a State Government inquiry. Keep an eye on our website for new ‘how to’ tools which should be available in the next few months. These can guide you through the different consultation processes. Lisa Gervasoni Policy

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Focus on our members Sarah Parker, along with her husband Raymond, are dairy farmers from Undera, mid-way between Echuca and Shepparton. They re-established the stud, Glencliffe, when they moved to the Goulburn Valley in 2004 and were Australian Dairy Farmer of the Year finalists in 2013. Raymond has a long family history of breeding Illawarra cows and has judged at shows across Australia, including the Toowoomba and Sydney Royal Shows and is Secretary/Treasurer of the Victorian State Branch of the Illawarra Cattle Society. Originally from Brisbane, Sarah has a background in children’s services and community development and now works as a milk supply/field services manager with the Fresh Cheese Company. A boutique Italian company, sourcing all its milk in the Goulburn Valley. They have been working continuously to improve the stud genetic base and performance (production per cow). Their success has meant winning International Dairy Week Intermediate and Reserve Illawarra Champion in 2012 and having a bull, JP Jedi, available from Semex International. Apart from the farm and working in the dairy industry, Sarah is president of Australian Women in Agriculture, Company Secretary for the National Rural Women’s Coalition and is on the VFF Industry Association Executive, Workplace Relations Committee and the Farm Business and Regional Development Committees. She is also a member of the Greater Shepparton/Northern Victorian Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Committee.


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You are a very pro-active farmer, what are some of your strategies and plans for future success? To continue to review our situation on farm, work with advisors and other sources of information to continually improve, watch expenditure and monitor budgets. I’m always looking for the next opportunity for knowledge development, improvement and/or diversity. If you are not looking, an opportunity can pass you by. We will continue to focus on improving our per cow production. It is not necessarily a question of milking more cows, when you can make improvement to the way you grow feed and develop better cows to milk. You need to work with the asset and resource base you have to get the most out of it. We will also be looking to continue working on soil improvement – at this stage soil recovery due to the wet conditions in 2016. Where do you see the future of farming going? Hopefully in a positive direction for cash flow across all commodity groups, as well as seeing some new sectors and/ or industries developing. I think diversification in whatever form it takes will be part of our future. Adoption of new technology and promotion of agriculture to consumers will continue to grow on social media and other platforms, provided access to reliable and fairly priced mobile phone, internet and data services are available to primary producers. I also think some of our greatest gains in productivity will come through genomic research and genetics. What does modern farming look like to you? A farm where income is sustainable for the operators/owners. Where there is a work-life balance in place, and women

and men are considered equal in their contributions to the farming enterprise, regardless of what their specific roles are. Many partners and families work well together because strengths and passions complement one another. Does technology play a big part in your farming now, or in your plans for the future? Yes it plays a major part. Technology has been a major focus for Raymond and I in order to improve fodder production and milk production. We have a pipes and riser irrigation system, we have used and continue to use advances in genetics and genomics to breed cows of improved type, production and profitability. Soil testing is done regularly and we have just completed an effluent management plan for our farm, through Agriculture Victoria. We store and analyse data and records using technology. Our biggest challenge is access to reliable and fast internet. I would say that and the current operating conditions within the dairy industry are our greatest challenges. You’re a member of a number of organisations, how would you encourage other women to become more involved and have a voice in agriculture? Start where you feel comfortable. It could be an online discussion, Facebook group or a local discussion group. It does not have to be time consuming. You also do not need to be directly involved in an agricultural committee/ board/group to make a difference. Being a member makes a difference because it adds your voice to the voices of others. Being involved in your local community or school also makes a difference. You could help introduce agriculture to a school curriculum by talking about what you do as a farmer.

My husband Raymond and I have been involved with Dairy Australia’s Cows Create Careers program at two schools for a number of years. This has allowed primary and high school age students to develop an understanding of dairy farming, the dairy industry and all the employment opportunities it offers. There are a number of online and face-to-face leadership development opportunities available – I would encourage women to apply for them, even if you are not accepted first time. The application process itself is a learning experience. Examples of these include AWiA’s AGendHER program and the National Rural Women’s Coalitions’ e-leaders. The re-launched Victorian Rural Women’s Network is also a good place to start, along with AWiA and NRWC Facebook pages. Finally talk to those who are in leadership or were in leadership. I have found women who have walked the pathway of leadership before me are the most supportive and encouraging. They can help guide you. What do you do in your downtime? I love to travel, cook, grow my own vegetables and sew. I don’t get a lot of time to do these, so at the moment I watch the occasional cooking show and read a good book when commuting for work and the committees/boards I am on. Raymond and I also do rock-nroll dancing classes on a weekly basis. Loretta Gibson Engagement and Communication

Working for you


Linking our communities With the Membership Development team averaging over 6000kms a week throughout Victoria, many readers will already be familiar with Lisa Guille, Mick McCarthy and Kim Tupper. If you haven’t met them in person, then there’s a good chance that you may have been on the other end of the phone for one of their more than 8000 calls in the last 12 months. Operating out of Bendigo, the team was established in early 2014 to boost VFF member numbers. After a couple of months learning the intricacies of our organisation, it was time to let them loose on Victoria’s farming sector. By October 2015, we had achieved unprecedented membership growth. The membership strategy is a simple one, based on us listening to you, what your interests and issues are within your region, then organising a gathering to present on and discuss these topics. Kim spends her days travelling the length and breadth of the state connecting with a wide variety of agricultural groups and communities, as well as fielding enquiries from members and non-members alike.

Lisa Guille


Working for you

Our VFF network is vast and provides a platform for farmers to have their voices heard at all levels of government, but this relies on maintaining a strong lobby base.

which prompted Kim to contact our policy team and the gathering was quickly pulled together with the help of key members.

It is here where Mick and Lisa excel as they engage with event attendees and other interested farmers and proudly spruik the work of the VFF and the value our organisation brings to its members.

As a result the council received 189 submissions through the VFF sponsored Australian Farmers website and over 300 farmers attended the council’s submission hearing. We were there to do the heavy lifting and the community showed their appreciation through a strong uptake in VFF membership.

The team has attended in excess of 100 events over the last twelve months with some very rewarding results. The importance of a strong lobby base was on display at one of our roundtable discussions at Lake Bolac, to address the proposed abolition of the Ararat Rural City Council’s farm rate differential. In excess of 155 local farmers turned up to express their opposition to the proposal, which if passed, would mean farmers within this shire would receive a 45 per cent land rate increase.

It is the personal contact from a team that understands the hardships of farm life and who are genuinely empathetic in times like these, that will unite farmers and instil the importance of the VFF family to communities across Victoria.

The event came about through a call from a concerned Lake Bolac member,

Tim McKenzie Membership Development

Mick McCarthy

Kim Tupper

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Vital changes to all modern awards The Fair Work Commission has granted a 3.3 per cent increase to minimum wage earners via the 2017 Minimum Wage Decision. This change affects all Modern Awards, so this information is vital to you and your business. Our Workplace Relations department provides important advice and information which keeps your business complaint and profitable. If you have workers on your farm, subscribe to our Employment Handbook today.

We have recently supplied all the necessary information and details to our current VFF Employment Handbook subscribers, to make sure they are aware of all changes. Did you receive yours? Our Workplace Relations department provides an update service on a number of Modern Awards, including:

• P  astoral Award 2010 – Broad acre and livestock • Pastoral Award 2010 – Pigs • Pastoral Award 2010 – Shearing • Pastoral Award 2010 – Eggs/poultry • Horticulture Award 2010 • Wine Industry Award 2010 • F ood, Beverage and Tobacco Manufacturing Award 2010 • C  lerks – Private Sector Award 2010 • N  ational Training Wage • N  ursery Award 2010 • Retail Award 2010 • Road Transport Award 2010. If you haven’t received your information, you’d like to confirm your subscription, or you’d like to become an Employment Handbook subscriber to this vital service, contact Rob or the Workplace Relations team today.


Working for you

Rob Martin Workplace Relations 1300 442 481

Changes to 457 visas On April 18 2017, the Federal Government announced the changes to the 457 visa program and transition to the new Temporary Skills Shortage (TSS) Visa. The new TSS visa will commence in March 2018. Under the TSS visa there will be two streams. The first stream is a shortterm stream of up to two years and the second is a medium –term stream of up to four years.

butcher and small goods maker, blacksmith, helicopter pilot, shearer, stock and station agent, wool classer, goat farmer, deer farmer and turf grower.

Occupations on this list have been assessed as being of high value to the economy and aligned to the government’s longer term training and workforce strategies.

Of the 435 occupations that remain, there are 24 occupations which relate to farming and agriculture - these occupations have been restricted to regional Australia.

The VFF/NFF have forwarded its submission to the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and the Department of Employment on the Employer Sponsored Skilled Migration Programme Reforms.

We have called for the reinstatement of 24 occupations.

The government has released two fact sheets on the changes. You can download these on the Department of Immigration and Border Protection’s web site at, they cover as follows:

Occupations that are included in the 24 are crop farmer, dairy cattle farmer, livestock farmer, mixed livestock farmer, poultry farmer, pig farmer, sheep farmer, vegetable grower and shearer.

Fact sheet one: Reforms to Australia’s temporary employer sponsored skilled migration programme-abolition and replacement of the 457 Visa

Regional post codes are directly linked to the 24 occupations in Victoria. They are 3211 to 3334, 3340 to 3424, 3430 to 3649, 3658 to 3749, 3753, 3756, 3758, 3762, 3764, 3778 to 3781.

Fact sheet two: Refers to Australia’s permanent employer sponsored skilled migration programme.

The Consolidated Sponsored Occupational List is now named the Short-term Skilled Occupations List and this list will be updated every six months on advice from the Department of Employment.

What is changing? From April 19 2017 the occupational lists that underpin the 457 Visa have been reduced from 635 to 435. Certain occupations have been removed, such as aeroplane pilot,

Other lists that were used for skilled migration, such as the Skilled Occupations List have been renamed the new Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List.

In our joint submission we have called for the reinstatement of various occupations that have been removed, such as food technologist, shearer, maintenance planner and other dairy industry occupations. Skill shortages are widespread across all agriculture industries. This is due in part to the location of many agricultural workplaces which makes it difficult to attract workers. The demand for skilled workers is likely to grow into the future. Skilled migration is one of the options that was available to fill critical roles. The removal of the access to certain occupations will have flow on impacts on business viability for agricultural businesses, especially when it is predicted that there will be an increasing global demand for food. Members can call our workplace relations hotline on 1300 442 481 for a copy of the submission.

Patricia Murdock Workplace Relations and HR

Working for you


Sound advice is crucial

The Federal Circuit Court has sent a stark warning to organisations providing incorrect workplace relations advice. An accountancy firm providing support to a Japanese restaurant employer has recently been found liable for the employer’s workplace contraventions, involving underpayment of workers. Judge John O’Sullivan found the accountancy firm was involved in, or aware of, the vast majority of these contraventions, which carry penalties of up to $54,000 per contravention. The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) who was the applicant in the matter, has in recent times shown they will actively pursue third parties who are involved in contraventions, or who are providing incorrect advice which results in a contravention.


Working for you

Any organisation providing incorrect advice to businesses on workplace laws, or who turns a blind eye to contraventions, will be held accountable. The decision means individuals involved in the contraventions will be ordered to rectify the amounts personally, as well as a facing a fine. Severe fines, media scrutiny and back payments can be disastrous for a business, that’s why you need to make sure you are getting the right advice. Our VFF Workplace Relations Department has over 30 years’ experience in providing sound, professional, workplace relations advice to our members. Call the workplace relations hotline on 1300 442 481 and ask about the resources and information we have available for your business. Get the right advice today. Rob Martin Workplace Relations 1300 442 481

Human resource advisers, business advisers, consultants and now accountancy firms are officially ‘on notice’ about giving incorrect advice, as well as the Fair Work Ombudsman’s willingness to prosecute third parties involved in workplace contraventions.

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






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Engaging with the community • Penalty interests on assessments • Water authority powers • A  ccountability and general water issues. • Labour supply: • Including supply of managers • Training • IR issues and • Risks associated with o/s employees. • Succession planning and the associated risk with labour supply • Peri-urban issues - ensuring they are managed properly • Council rates • S  uperannuation payments and foreign workers • E nergy. We know that feedback to members is critical after these events. This includes not only our VFF response to these issues, but also what local action members can take themselves, to support and partner with us.

Our Farmers’ Forums have been a huge focus for us this year, with 17 events being held throughout Victoria through to August. Thank you to all who have attended the forums to date. As you are reading this, we will be winding up the forums, with our final events being held in Geelong and Werribee. The forums have been very well received to date and it’s been great to engage with our members, and hear about the issues they are facing in their own communities. Shared issues of concern to farmers at events have included telecommunications, freight, rail, native vegetation and road quality. More in depth issues were raised at other forums, such as: • Water security: • Including carryover rules •  The merits of an elected board for Lower Murray

A report will be produced later this year on what we saw and heard when working with you over these 17 events and we will also update you further in the next Victorian Farmer magazine, due out in November. Our engagement team is also putting together an interactive map of the top issues arising from the forums, which will be housed on our website. A link will be sent to members, once it’s up and running later this year. The Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, has invited us to meet with her in September to present the findings from the forums, so we look forward to discussing these further with the minister.

Final Farmers’ Forums, lock in the date! • August 8 Geelong • August 9 Werribee. For more information visit Simon Arcus Policy

Working for you




relies on today’s seed

Investor cash waiting on the sidelines Volatility in markets is an interesting thing. There’s a number of ways to measure it. We often know what causes it, and at times, we can even predict it. However, preparing for it is the key. This is where opportunities can be exploited. Over the years, the sheer amount of money invested in the stock market has increased dramatically. The international component, the increasing popularity of Self Managed Super Funds (SMSFs) and the sheer volume and power of fund managers has been proportionately matched by the increased access and flow of information available. Furthermore,

there’s new products and quicker ways of accessing (buying/selling) the market, all culminating in a greater ability to react quickly and sharply. Since the Global Financial Crisis (GFC – 2008), our market has been continually plagued by events that have created uncertainty and opportunity. Whether it be sovereign debt issues in Europe, our political backdrop or changes in currency values, the reasons have been many and varied. Currently BREXIT, the Trump administration and rising US interest rates are being negotiated. An important component to remember – with every decline,

Cash deposits as a % of Superannuation balances (Morgans) 20% 18% 16% 14% 12% 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 0% 1998

there’s been a corresponding ‘bounce’. Actually since the darkness of the GFC, the Australian stock market has nearly doubled (Feb 2009 – approx. 3320 points, June 2017 – approx. 5800 points). However, throughout this period, Retail investors (the mum’s and dads of the investing community) have been accumulating cash within their superfunds – reaching a current level of approx. 16% (see below chart). This is nearly double the long term average. While this cash component isn’t subject to volatility, it’s likely generating a very poor return, compared to current dividend yields, right when our ‘baby boomer’ retirees need it most. Increasingly, we are seeing this ‘hoarded’ cash being leaked back into the market. Actually, with every volatility event, more cash is re-entering as investors look to outperform term deposits. As is evidenced by the below graph, it’s already decreased from approx. 18% in 2012 and is continuing to fall.








Source: Morgans


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Stockbroker Telephone 03 9947 4130 melbourne From this we learn, volatility isn’t something to necessarily be scared of, actually we can potentially profit from it. We need to look through the short term ‘noise’ associated with the share market and understand that there are large cash balances ‘lurking’ in the background that will re-enter the market on weakness. Providing the economic backdrop continues to improve, this will, in part, continue to help stabilise market growth.

Roaming restricted Farmers all over Victoria, attending our recent Farmers’ Forums, have raised inadequate telecommunications as one of the major impacts on productivity. We are taking a strong stance, rejecting the recent Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) preliminary decision on whether to declare domestic mobile roaming and have questioned the role of the competition watchdog in maintaining Telstra’s dominance in the rural market. The decision follows a 2016 ACCC enquiry and our VFF submission, which emphasised the need for quality mobile and telecommunications coverage for rural Victoria. The May 2017 decision not to declare domestic roaming, means that Telstra can maintain its policy of refusing to deal with competitors seeking roaming services. For farmers, it could mean no change in the quality and extent of their mobile coverage. The ACCC draft decision states “…the ACCC has found that competition in the national market is generally effective, we acknowledge there is often little choice of effective network operator for those consumers who value geographic coverage.” Vodafone Australia is taking the ACCC to court over its draft decision with the telco claiming the regulator needs to review the entire process. Data collected from the VFF Telecommunications Survey (2015) indicates that the market is largely operating as a monopoly in rural and regional Victoria. It is unlikely that the ACCC will alter its draft decision. It has recommended the government take steps to incentivise Telstra to enter commercial agreements on roaming and infrastructure sharing,

particularly in rural and regional Australia, where Telstra and the ACCC already acknowledge there is relative disadvantage for customers. We advocate that the ACCC should treat Telstra’s market position as privileged and it should therefore be subject to more regulatory pressure to demonstrate it is achieving high quality market service and consumer outcomes.

Domestic mobile roaming in rural and regional areas will help improve competition, price and coverage for those living and working in rural communities.

That includes independent benchmarks to ensure the quality of competition in rural and regional areas. Brett Hosking, VFF Vice President, said the ACCC must act quickly to find a solution that will give rural consumers the level of service they need. “We recognise the ACCC is an independent regulator, but we all know that competition leads to better outcomes for consumers and this decision has been a big letdown for rural communities that still struggle to get a decent service. “We believe the answer to the problem is to allow mobile roaming and bring competition into the market. If that’s not the answer, then the ACCC needs to tell us what is,” he said. Read more at: > regulated infrastructure > communications > mobile services

Simon Arcus Policy

Working for you


Keeping you up to date Our members always have plenty of reading to do, but for those who are interested we have narrowed down some recent offerings, to give you a quality read. Our research team has provided a sampler of the reports we review as part of our research and advocacy work. The full reports can be found on our website, under the policy tab.


Working for you

Deloitte’s ‘Building the Lucky Country’ These reports are well worth reading. From page 23 Deloitte describes agriculture as part of the next ‘Fantastic Five’ growth engines of Australia. Global food demand will rise alongside the world’s population, which is expected to grow by 60 million people a year over the next 20 years. Deloitte outlines why Australian agriculture is set to benefit from global demand and the fundamentals that give us an edge. BDO superannuation investment report A recent report released by BDO on investment in farming through superannuation received some media recently. Results challenge the assumptions about why Australians do not invest more in agriculture. There is a good executive summary in this BDO paper which finds that there’s a contradiction between the fundamentals of agriculture and the reluctance of fund managers to invest in this sector.

In Australia, there is approximately $1.2 trillion invested in all APRA regulated superannuation products. Only 0.3 per cent is invested in the agriculture sector, with the 1 per cent being the maximum exposure. Also, the lack of investable products and the lack of asset managers specialising in agriculture are important obstacles to investment in the sector. NAB on AgTech NAB’s recent whitepaper explores the opportunity for the financial services sector in supporting the Agribusiness industry. It talks about the kind of digital change some industries are experiencing from the use of crop and livestock sensors to optimise farm management, to the creation of market places connecting producers with distributors.

Simon Arcus Policy














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The last 12 months has been full of major policy review processes by the State Government. The following is an update on some of the key issues.

Our land Land management policy update Key issues Issue Status Native vegetation review Awaiting approval of final regulations. We are lobbying for wider reform. Submission made regarding Glenelg Environmental Significance Overlay (90 per cent of municipality in more restrictive clearing controls). Biodiversity strategy Strategy has been released. We are lobbying for more funds to support farmers. Flora & Fauna Guarantee Act

Awaiting response to submissions. We need to minimise impact on private land.

EPA review First of three phases of legislative reform commenced. We are continuing to advocate on fair/clear way to ensure industry standards are utilised in a ‘general duty’ to protect the environment. Councils and emergencies Submission made to improve planning and response for agriculture. Water catchments/riparian Correspondence to Ministers regarding need to ensure maintenance of voluntary fencing and ensuring planning provisions are not used for issues related to the Catchment and Land Protection Act.

Emerging issues Green Wedge Zone – investigation of how to ensure the zone promotes the primacy of agricultural uses. How to influence council - rates, planning strategies etc – see our article in this edition.

Lisa Gervasoni Policy


Working for you

Sharing quality local produce

Community Support Agriculture (CSA) is leading the change for smaller horticulture producers, with consumers lining up to sign up for a share of this season’s harvest.

flowers will often be added to a CSA box if the yield is low.

CSA is based around selling your produce direct to the consumer and is most common in small to medium horticulture businesses.

Include other material in your food box such as a farm newsletter, seasonal recipes, photos or even invite customers to an on-farm event to see the property.

Customers sign up for a ‘farm share’ and in turn receive a box full of seasonal mixed produce every week or fortnight for the sign-up period.

Through purchasing a CSA farm share, members also share the risk of production with producers. Members pay upfront at the start of season, somewhere around $450$650 and take on the risk that yields may be lower than expected due to weather or pests. Herbs and

CSA gives you cash flow ahead of the growing season to purchase seed, equipment or make repairs. Offering a CSA can be a great

way for a new and/or small business to test their capacity to supply and also to invite potential customers to be a part of their farm story. Harvest can often be variable, so positive-minded customers are needed, who will delight in variation and support your mission.

Great CSAs get online and know the power of good story telling in building relationships with their customer base. They let customers know what’s coming in this week’s box and are genuine in their communication. People who understand the system are less likely to complain if the box is a little light-on one week. How CSA boxes get to the customer varies by distance to market. Some

farms offer a farm gate pickup, while others might use a single drop off point at a regular time, in the nearest regional town. This can help get your product a little closer to market. While farm share produce is

usually collected from one farm, multiple farms could collaborate to form a combined package – adding eggs, bread, meat or even flowers. The result is a seasonal treat for the customer and a loyal customer base hooked on your farm story.

Community Support Agriculture is a way to share your wares and connect with a community which supports local farm businesses. Julia Waite Policy and YAPs

Working for you


Showing our initiative

The Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme is administered by us on behalf of the Victorian State Government. The scheme is scheduled to run for three years and has $6M allocated to rebates. More information is available at, email us at, or call 1300 945 030. Protect yourself and your family today and be quad safe.

Quad bikes are the leading cause of deaths on farms in Australia. Protecting our families Don't delay, get an operator protection device (OPD) or a safer alternative sideby-side vehicle, then apply for your rebate through our Quad Bike Safety Rebate Scheme. The scheme has so far approved over 2000 applicants at a value of 1.8M. That's 2000 Victorian farmers who are now far safer moving around their farms and 2000 families who can be reassured their loved ones now have more protection from injury or death. If you are in any doubt about why you should protect yourself, you only have to look at the frightening statistics on farm injuries and deaths throughout Australia. Log in to www.worksafe.vic. to see their safety and prevention farming recommendations and find out what you can do to protect yourself and your family. Remember quad bikes are no place for children. Get an OPD or a safer alternative sideby-side vehicle today - your family will thank you.


Working for you

Some local councils have requested additional safety railing, which has increased the cost of these underpasses by a considerable amount, so members are urged to speak to their local councils before applying for the grant. For more information, email us at If you have queries on any of our initiatives, or would like more information, please call us on 1300 882 833 or email






Succession planning

The strength of milk Our locally administered Farmers’ Fund grants have been going from strength to strength. Recipients have come up with some innovative grant application ideas and we have included an infographic outlining some of these. To date the scheme has helped over 100 Victorian dairy farmers by supporting sustainable business practices and growth within the dairy industry to a total of $1.453M. This is a fantastic result for not only the recipients, but for the whole farming community. Contact us at for more information. Safer roads The number of cattle underpasses completed through the Cattle Underpass Project since our last magazine has more than doubled, with 12 now fully completed.


Solar unit/heat exchange

4. Business consultant

Milk cooling system

- Whole of farm study - Education and training



Expert Agronomy advice

Artificial breeding program

- Health and safety/labour audit - Lasering


8. Wet area matting

9. Pasture improvement

Storage solutions

10. Automatic teat sprayer Automatic cup removers

For more ideas or advice contact us on 1300 882 833 Farmersfund@v

Craig De Paola Government Programs

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AUGUST Date August 7 & 8 Location Hamilton Theme/Title Sheepvention Date August 8 Location Geelong Theme/Title Farmers’ Forum Date August 9 Location Werribee Theme/Title Farmers’ Forum Date August 22 Location Willaura Theme/Title Stock up: a practical guide to biosecurity

17 0 2 R A D N E EVENT CAL

Date August 26 Location Mornington Peninsula Theme/Title Peninsula branch dinner

SEPTEMBER Date September Location Various locations Theme/Title Grains pre-harvest roadshow Date September 6 Location Newlyn Theme/Title Stock up: a practical guide to biosecurity Date September 14 & 15 Location Creswick Theme/Title Rural Women Uncovered Date Sep 23 – Oct 3 Location Melbourne Theme/Title Royal Melbourne Show

OCTOBER Date October Location Tallangatta Theme/Title Stock up: a practical guide to biosecurity

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

Date October 3 – 5 Location Elmore Theme/Title Elmore Field Days

NOVEMBER Date November Location Whittlesea Theme/Title Stock up: a practical guide to biosecurity

DECEMBER Date December Location Sale Theme/Title Stock up: a practical guide to biosecurity


Agriculture: The Heart of Victoria dinner


Staff profiles Get to know the people who work for you. Four staff members were asked these questions: Where has your interest in agriculture come from? What do you like best about your role at the VFF? Who or what has been your greatest influence in your life or your career? What do you do in your spare time/community interests?

Alastair Hilli Policy Adviser My interest in agriculture began in the beef industry. As a child, my parents finished steers and after much persuasion got into breeding beef cattle. As a teenager, I was involved in shows, sales and cattle appraisal. I like the people at VFF. I appreciate the passion of people in agriculture, this is a group of people that care deeply about their industry, it is more than just a job. Supporting that passion is some small way is what I enjoy most about working here. My greatest influence was attending agricultural boarding school at Yanco Agricultural High School which introduced me to agriculture beyond the beef industry and the financial and practical sides of agribusiness. On weekends I usually get down the beach and take the dog for a walk, take some photos or head to our neighbouring wineries for a local drop!

Rob Martin Senior Workplace Relations Adviser My interest in agriculture has been with me from birth. I grew up in rural Victoria, so in many ways have always been connected to ag.


Working for you

The best part of my job is the members I serve and the people I work with. The VFF provides a unique opportunity to regularly engage with members, which I thoroughly enjoy. The people I work with also make it enjoyable and provide great support. The greatest influence on my career has been Patricia Murdock, our Executive Manager, Workplace Relations. Patricia introduced me to Industrial Relations, supported my tertiary education in the field and is the reason I have forged a career in IR. I enjoy catching up with family and friends - I have been lucky enough to be involved with local footy in Melbourne for many years and also have a ‘toenail’ interest in horse racing.

Catherine James Livestock Project Manager, Livestock Health & Biosecurity VICTORIA I was born on a farm at Powlett Plains in central Victoria, although I grew up in Melbourne attending a school where I spent more time at its farm than I did in the classroom. I am constantly inspired by Victoria’s red meat and fibre producers to keep delivering value through our industry funded project. Producers influence me daily, and I will always look up to my grandma Elaine who was a composed, gentle woman with strong values. Any spare time is spent renovating, managing a short-term accommodation and I love to get lost in the garden when I get a chance.

Ashlee Hammond UDV Policy Adviser I grew up on a dairy farm in Northern Victoria and worked on a range of farms before studying a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) at La Trobe, Bundoora. Agriculture caught my interest at an early age and I feel lucky to have found an industry that provides fantastic career opportunities, both on and off farm, that I am passionate about, so early in my career. I love working with members and helping people – I find working here really rewarding! I am lucky to work on a broad range of projects and policy issues that I am genuinely interested in – including working with young farmers. My high school mentor, Bruce Anderson, was the greatest influence on my career. He taught me the ins and outs of showing and judging beef cattle. He has been a mentor and friend throughout the past nine years - of which I will be eternally grateful! I am passionate about agriculture professionally and personally so maintain involvement outside of work fairly heavily. I am completing my Masters of Agribusiness at Marcus Oldham. I’m on the State Government Young Farmer Ministerial Advisory Council and on the Course Advisory Committee for Agricultural Science at La Trobe uni. I also try and walk my little dairy farm-turned-city dog regularly and read the occasional thriller.

Exposing the potential of women in agriculture

PROGRAM Day 1 Mary Beth Bauer Value Enhancement Management and VFF board member MC and host for the day The Hon. Jaala Pulford Minister for Agriculture Celebrating rural women and re-establishing the Victorian Rural Women’s Network

Healthy business

Find your voice with Rural Women Uncovered, in the scenic setting of the Creswick state forest, near Ballarat. Enjoy world-class speakers, magnificent food and luxurious accommodation at the RACV Goldfields Resort, Thursday 14 September and Friday 15 September, 2017. Hosted by the VFF, we have designed the event for busy women, packing all the fun, information and enjoyment into a day which will leave you challenged, energised and motivated. After being inspired and touched by our amazing guest speakers, spend one luxurious night at this beautiful resort, enjoy a magnificent dinner, then treat yourself to our delicious buffet breakfast, featuring the best of regional food. Leave our event feeling refreshed and empowered. Opening the event is Jaala Pulford, Minister for Agriculture, who will celebrate rural women and their passion and dedication in bringing success to farming and rural enterprises; and the re-establishment of the Victorian Rural Women’s Network. This year, we explore the potential of women in agriculture. Each session,

inspire me, healthy me and healthy business will feature two inspirational speakers, who we guarantee will have you laughing and crying all at the same time, including Meghan Speers, a cancer survivor and ambassador for Ovarian Cancer Australia. The high tea ‘afternoon teal’ will proudly support Ovarian Cancer Australia and a portion from all ticket sales will be donated. Relax and unwind as we enjoy a magnificent, locally-sourced dinner, showcasing and supporting the region’s produce. The following morning join us for a delicious farewell breakfast, before exploring the heritage towns, spa country and renowned wine regions at your leisure. We want to empower our rural women and encourage you to have an active voice in government and community decision-making. Your voice is important and this year’s program will inspire and empower you. Special, discounted accommodation and conference packages are available this year. Prices are all inclusive. For more details or to book, go to Kate Rogers Events

Sandy McDonald Get It Right Online - author and storyteller Why our story matters Ros Harvey The Yield Ag technology delivering real-time, highlylocalised predictions using artificial intelligence

Healthy me Meghan Speers Ovarian Cancer Australia Survivor and ambassador - a story of ovarian cancer and the miracle of becoming a mother Champagne high tea ‘Afternoon teal’ - proceeds to ovarian cancer research Jenny O’Connor Indigo Shire Mayor Rallying against family violence in rural communities

Inspire me Nicola Pero CEO Lardner Park Connecting and supporting local communities – the value and empowerment of being a successful woman Hayley Purbrick Tahbilk Winery/Big Sky Ideas Finalist 2017 NSW-ACT RIRDC Rural Women’s Award - an award-winning rural woman’s journey on running a carbon neutral business Marion Macleod Core Management Solutions and VFF board member Our voice – what is our voice in our communities and what will we change when we get home? Mary Beth Bauer Closing the day’s events Drinks and canapes

Networking dinner Enjoy locally-sourced produce in an elegant, relaxed setting, while networking with other inspiring women

Day 2 Relaxed group activity, followed by farewell buffet breakfast

Working for you


Agriculture: The Heart of Victoria A taste of Victoria’s finest food was recently celebrated with the Heart of Victoria dinner, at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. The gala dinner was presented jointly by ourselves and The Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria. Connecting the state’s wider agribusiness community and friends, it presented a night of exquisite fine foods, fibres and of course, farming and friendship. A highly-anticipated night, it appeals to anyone with an affinity or interest in the Victorian agricultural industry, be they farmers, producers, processors, agribusinesses or consumers. Quality local produce was featured in the bespoke menu created by Epicure Sous Chef, Shane Freer, paired with Victorian wines and beers.


Working for you

MC, Channel Nine’s sports presenter Clint Stanaway, introduced a number of guest speakers, including Simone Kain, author of children’s book George the Farmer. George also made an appearance to the crowd’s great enjoyment. The Hon. Jaala Pulford, Minister for Agriculture spoke and Clint chatted to special guest superstars, AFL team captains, Essendon’s Dyson Heppell and Geelong’s Joel Selwood, who then went on to present a live cross to the AFL Footy Show from the event. We would like to take this opportunity to personally thank you, our farmers, who work tirelessly to grow fresh and nutritious produce. We are immensely grateful for your dedication and extremely proud to work beside such an incredible group of people.

Kate Rogers Events

The Heart of Victoria gala dinner celebrates and promotes the growing contribution of agriculture to the Victorian economy, which currently contributes $11.9 billion in exports annually.

Working for you


Bowel cancer Have you received this test in the mail? If so, do it. That’s the simple message from Cancer Council Victoria which wants to see more Victorians complete the at-home bowel cancer screening test.

Bowel cancer is Australia’s secondlargest cancer killer – but a majority of Victorians are not completing the free athome screening test. Kate Broun, Manager of Screening, Early Detection and Immunisation at Cancer Council Victoria, said that bowel cancer kills nearly as many Victorians as breast and prostate cancer combined.

“As many as 80 Australians die from bowel cancer every week,” she said. “The real tragedy is that many of these cancer deaths are preventable. If found early, 90 per cent of bowel cancers can be successfully treated.”


Cancer survivor, Don Ash, is lucky to be alive. likely to receive a positive screening result. 1 Ms Broun’s message for rural Victorians is clear: “If you’ve received the test in the mail, don’t ignore it or throw it away. It could save your life.” For Don Ash, the screening test was potentially a life-saver.

Cancer Council recommends that people aged between 50 and 74 complete the test every two years.

After receiving and completing the kit in 2016, the 55 year old was surprised to find out that his test result was positive.

“The home screening test picks up on abnormalities early, before signs or symptoms appear,” Ms Broun said.

“Bowel cancer is often called a silent killer, and in my case that resonates because I was 100 per cent asymptomatic [no obvious symptoms]. Prior to the screening I was living an active and healthy life,” he said.

“It’s free, quick and easy and can be completed from the comfort of your home. There are no excuses.”

Mr Ash was referred to his GP where subsequent tests identified a 5cm cancerous tumour in his bowel that needed to be removed.

Despite this, only 40 per cent of Victorians are currently using the home screening test.

Thankfully, it was found early. The cancer had not spread beyond the bowel walls and was classified as stage one.

Bowel cancer affects both men and women, with men less likely to complete the screening test and more

“The screening kit was, for me, a gift for living, the best and most significant gift I have ever been given,” he said.

Your health

Mr Ash received the screening test as part of the National Bowel Cancer Screening Program, under which the test is mailed to men and women aged between 50 and 74.

Cancer Council is currently running a new campaign to encourage more Victorians to complete the home screening test. For more information visit cancervic. or call 13 11 20. Cancer Council Victoria

1. National Bowel Cancer Screening Program Monitoring report 2017, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Australian Government.

Everyday resilience What does it mean to be resilient? When we think about resilience, we often come up with examples of people who have overcome extra ordinary events. Take a moment to tune in, everyday ordinary resilience is happening all around you. From the field to the factory, from your neighbour to the community, human beings are showing up each day despite adversity, tragedy, trauma and stress. At its most basic level, resilience is about your capacity to bounce back from the experiences that you find challenging. The richness of life means that it is inevitable that we will face events that are distressing and difficult, but it is how we adapt to these challenges that really matters. Resilience is not putting your head into the wind and simply soldiering on. It is about holding space for the complexity of our emotional responses and taking time to reflect, understand and learn from all our experiences.

Feeling resilient and being resilient are not exactly the same. When resilience is called on, we may actually feel like we are not moving forward, it may look messy and chaotic or we may be saying to ourselves and others, that we are not coping. When you look at how you are being resilient during these times, you may notice that you are drawing on core beliefs, values, strengths, hope, optimism, love and even passions to propel you forward. These values and character strengths are the foundations of who you are and why resilience is an everyday ordinary habit. Cultivating resilience is a personal journey. What works for you may not work for someone else. Being resilient is about trying different things for different times in your life. If something is not working, the most important thing is to try again. This is resilience in action. Suellen Peak Burst – Exploring Human Potential 0438 889 744

1. Brown, B. (2015). Rising Strong. Random House. New York.

Strategies for building resilience Tip 1 – Your values and strengths are not just by-products of your personality. They represent the compass or road map for how to live your best possible life. Take time to explore and get to know your values and consider how you can use them to help you through challenging times. Tip 2 – Remember that suffering and challenges are universal human experiences. Reaching out to people who have earnt the right to hear your story1 can strengthen your resilience and help to lighten the load. Tip 3 – Take action. During tough times, focusing on one small thing that you can accomplish and achieve each day, can help you to gain momentum. Over time, it is each small action that will move you toward your goals.

Your health



Everything’s coming up Vend It’s a Thursday morning and staff at The Road Stall in Melbourne’s CBD are a flutter, as buckets of fresh blooms straight from the market are delivered. Situated between The Spring Street Grocer and The City Wine Shop, this lovely little flower stall brings a flourish of colour and sweet fragrance to ‘the top end’ of Melbourne. Run by industry heavyweights Belinda and Guy McDermott, the stall is one of two – the other is in Monbulk and has been in operation since 1971. Additionally the couple also run a wholesale flower business which services the likes of the upmarket Leo’s Supermarkets. Throw three daughters and a hobby flower farm into the mix and it’s safe to say the McDermott household is very busy! So when Belinda first came across Vend

– a point of sale software program that promised to help save time and make life a little easier, she jumped at the chance to trial it in her store. Apart from making her staff look super professional, with a fancy iPad that acts as the point of sale, the program allows her to track - among many other features - which flower varieties are most popular, the time of day the store is busiest and her clientele’s average spend. Lucinda, one of the shop girls at The Road Stall said she much preferred it to their previous cash register point of sale. “It’s fast and efficient when running end of day reports”, she said. This allows her to spend more time serving customers or preparing the store for the following day’s trade. One of Belinda’s favourite features is its visual program - there’s an image of every flower sold in the shop, making it easy for staff to identify and less room for error. “It took a bit of time and effort to set up in the beginning, although like anything in life hard work pays off in the long run”, she said. The Vend point of sale system was also used by Flowers Victoria in The Petal

Project Flower Market at The Melbourne International Flower Show this year. The system allowed sales to be processed efficiently and made stock management a breeze in a fast-paced environment, where large units were sold daily. Therefore, it is with great confidence that Flowers Victoria would like to offer all our members and the wider VFF membership base a special discount (listed inset) as we believe there is great value in this product in the flower and agribusiness communities. Anastasia Volpe Flowers Victoria Marketing and Events

Exclusive offer to our VFF members: • 2  0% off Vend subscription for first three months • Free 20 minute session with our retail specialists • 3  0% off professional services – we help get the most out of Vend by doing the heavy lifting for you.

Flowers Victoria


OH&S for an entire industry The Chicken Meat industry is unique in Australia for its vertically integrated structure.

These workshops covered:

While this processor controlled supply chain has benefits and creates efficiency, there can also be confusion around responsibility for safety on farm, particularly around contractors the processor employs. If an accident did happen, who would be responsible?

The workshops were presented by OH&S expert Niven Leyland, and were run close to Chicken Meat farms on the Mornington Peninsula, near Geelong and in Bendigo.

Even though contractors coming onto the farm are not employed directly by the farmer, as the supplier of a workplace the farmer still has some responsibility for safety. In response to a farm incident, the Chicken Meat Council formed a subcommittee to investigate how farmers could best protect their workers, contractors and their business. In the end a specific workshop for Chicken Meat Growers was created, based on several assessments of different sized Chicken Meat farms.



• OH&S legislation • Hazard identification • Risk management • Incidents and investigations • C ommon OH&S issues affecting Chicken Growers.

Those who attended the workshops highly recommend OH&S training. With such positive feedback, the Chicken Meat Group Council is planning to run more workshops next year to cover as much of the industry as possible.

Caitlin Hirst Intensive Industries

Gas returns a benefit After several months of negotiating, the RICL (Rural Industries Cooperative Limited) board signed a new five-year contract with ELGAS for supply of gas. The co-operative is run through our office and has been supplying cheap gas for farmers for over 25 years. ELGAS provides low rates for LPG gas for co-operative members from many industries. The biggest users of LPG gas are Chicken Meat and Horticulture, but the low rates are available to all. Remaining with ELGAS was not just about the low price though, the work ELGAS has done in recent years to

ensure reliable service, was also a large factor in the RICL board decision to retain their services.

Energy is a high input cost. As a RICL member, farmers access bulk gas with bulk savings. If you are interested in becoming a RICL member, or if you have any ideas about other inputs to your business that could benefit from creating a bulk deal across several farms, let us know on 9207 5610. Caitlin Hirst Intensive Industries

Co-Op Bulk Gas Deal • Savings on bulk gas, particularly for over 20,000 litres • Great service from our supplier • Easy to join - contact us today Call Member Services on 1300 882 833 for more information


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

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

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Melbourne/Geelong 85 Other (Regional) 95 VFF LPG prices are reviewed quarterly.


Call you local ELGAS branch on 13 11 61 or VFF Member Services on 1300 882 833

Under the new system, certain food products offered or suitable for retail sale must display country of origin information.

Identifying your food Changes have been made to Australia’s food labelling requirements to make it easier for consumers to identify where products were ‘produced’, ‘grown’, ‘made’ or ‘packed’.

These require more detailed origin information. In most instances, priority foods will have to indicate what percentage of the food was grown or produced in Australia. Affected businesses have until 30 June 2018 to adopt the new labels. There are three possible country of origin labels for food that you need to be aware of, each with its own specific requirements:


These terms have specific meanings. Explanat ext Under the new system, certain food products offered or suitable for retail sale must display country of origin information. Generally, only packaged food sold at the wholesale level will require country of origin labelling. This means if you’re selling your produce at the central markets, it’s not mandatory that you comply with these new labelling requirements. However, if the buyer requests origin information to comply with their labelling responsibilities then you have to provide it to them. Country of origin labelling requirements ext will vary depending on whether Explanat a food is a ‘priority’ item. Fruits and vegetables, eggs, meat, seafood, bread and most dairy products are priority foods.

Made in Australia from at least 50% Australian ingredients

Three component standard mark - this label is mandatory for priority food items ‘grown’, ‘produced’ or ‘made’ in Australia. The label includes:

• T he kangaroo in a triangle symbol to easily and quickly identify the food’s Australian origin • The minimum proportion, by ingoing weight, of Australian ingredients, indicated by a percentage amount and shown in a bar chart, and • A text statement indicating whether the food was grown, produced or made in Australia. Two component standard mark - this label is mandatory for most priority food items ‘packed’ in Australia. It may also be used for imported priority foods that contain Australian grown or produced ingredients. The label includes: Packed in Australia from at least 25% Australian ingredients

• The minimum proportion, by ingoing weight, of Australian ingredients, indicated by a percentage amount and shown in a bar chart, and • A  statement indicating where the food was grown, produced, made or packed. Country of origin statement - at a minimum, non-priority food items and imported foods must carry a text statement that identifies where the food was grown, produced, made or packed. For imported priority foods the statement must be in a box. Made in Italy Packed in Australia

If you are wondering how the new labelling requirements apply to you, check out the ACCC’s website at www. The ACCC has also released a country of origin food labelling guide to assist businesses to transition to the new labelling requirements. You can find this at country-of-origin-food-labelling. For more information contact ACCC’s Small Business Helpline 1300 302 021 Dr Michael Schaper Deputy Chair Australian Competition & Consumer Commission



Around the region It was a relatively wet start to autumn, with most of Victoria receiving a near textbook autumn break.

Although some may say a touch damp as snatch straps came out, including in some cases using old combines to cope with wet ground.

However winter is shaping up with a very dry start, so it will be interesting to see how it progresses through into spring.

See inset photos of Grains Councillors Rob McRae towing with a snatch strap (1) and Anthony Mulcahy with his tractor and old combine bogged in the paddock (2).

Whilst our members have been in their tractors busily cropping, we at the VFF Grains Group have been working hard on some of the key issues facing Victorian grain growers:


Increasing mice numbers A bumper harvest, heavy ground cover and wet summer have resulted in a huge increase in mice numbers across Victoria. We have been working with Grain Producers Australia and the National Mouse Management Committee to ensure the available supply of licensed mouse bait to protect this year’s grain crops.

Rail delays We have also been working to resolve serious rail issues preventing bulk handlers and ultimately farmers, from getting their grain to port. During the peak of harvest, VLine’s heat restrictions significantly reduced rail movement and capacity. As much as 30,000 tonnes of grain was forced on to the roads because of VLine’s requirement that trains on some lines stop operating when the temperature rises above 33 degrees. These delays have only been further compounded by the recent dispute between Pacific National Rail and its employees, which led to a further 70 trains being cancelled. The grain industry is still counting the costs for these delays. One bulk handler estimates this has cost them in excess of $2.5M while GrainCorp is understood to be still only operating at 80 per cent capacity. Ultimately, it is the farmers who bear the brunt of these delays, dealing with not only the knock-on effects of lost revenue and increased port, handling and freight costs, but the additional cost incurred of longer grain storage and higher finance and carry costs. It is unacceptable to industry and we have lobbied hard to see Pacific National return to operations.



Our combined work has seen additional supplies of mouse bait brought in from licensed manufacturers in South Australia to help meet peak demand. This has minimised the risk of shortages, price blowouts and further damage to crops.

Roads and primary producer registrations

Trade issues

Improving the quality of country roads and ensuring farmer friendly road and transport regulations are a key concern for our members. We have been working with VicRoads to ensure this happens.

We have also been working with Grain Trade Australia to ensure growers’ rights are protected whether it be receival standards at delivery, which ultimately impact price, or during contract terms and conditions.

We have campaigned vigorously for the improvement of country roads, which pose a risk to both public safety and productivity.

During the 2016/17 harvest, there was considerable uncertainty surrounding the receival and classification of barley subject to discolouration (bin burn).

And we are also fighting to ensure that additional unnecessary costs and compliance burden are not placed on farmers from road and transport regulations.

This negatively impacted delivery against contracts and the price growers received.

As such, we have lobbied for a new Oversize Agricultural Machinery Gazette/Notice with updated size and mass limits to hopefully allow for larger equipment where feasible. A new Oversize Ag Machinery notice should be delivered by VicRoads and NHVR prior to the end of 2017. VicRoads will be conducting a review of Primary Producer Registrations. This is something we will fight fiercely to protect and will keep members appraised as this comes to hand.

We are pushing for agreed grade specifications and segregations to be established prior to harvest to ensure a more transparent trade environment for farmers. Similarly, we have fought to protect the GTA ‘Buyers call’ default period, to ensure undue risk is not placed upon grain producers when signing grain contracts. Steve Sheridan Annabel Mactier Grains Group


The Grains Group is proudly sponsored by: GOLD SPONSOR






United Dairyfarmers (UDV) 2017 Conference Our UDV Annual Meeting and Conference was held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, which saw an outstanding turnout of 186 dairy farmers and industry representatives. The theme of the successful 41st UDV conference focused on ‘drawing a line in the sand’ and the industry moving forward together. The conference saw an incredible 18 resolutions raised. It was pleasing to see such a good level of robust, informed debate.



Vin began working as UDV Manager six years ago and in that time has provided balanced, thorough leadership and service. Vin leaves the UDV in a much stronger position as a result of his efforts. A congratulations and thank you has to go to the active, engaged and passionate UDV members that attended our conference – let’s move forward together.

Ashlee Hammond Chris Paynter UDV




The conference also included an announcement that UDV Manager, Vin Delahunty, would be leaving the role.

Of these resolutions, there was a strong focus on energy supply, milk pricing and the availability of the Q fever vaccination. The conference also saw three new regional representatives elected onto the UDV Policy Council. Matt Gleeson (Boolarra), Janelle Fisher (Irrewillipe) and Lauren Peterson (Boorcan) are now the UDV Regional Representatives for Regions 7, 8 and 9 respectively. As Lauren Peterson steps into the role of Councillor for Region 9 she takes the place of outgoing Policy Councillor, Nick Renyard. Nick has been an extremely committed, long standing member of the council and we thank him for his service and wish him the best.



Conference images 1. Adam Jenkins, UDV President 2. C  hris Griffin, UDV Member 3. V  in Delahunty, UDV Manager 4. L eft to right: UDV Regional Membership Coordinators Peter Costello, Alison Lee and Ebony Arms. 5. UDV - Gardiner Dairy Foundation Young Farmer Breakfast. 6. Left to right: Gardiner Dairy Foundation UDV 2017 NZ Study Tour Group at the Young Farm, Ashlee Hammond, UDV Policy Adviser, Janelle Fisher, Oonagh Kilpatrick, UDV Policy

Cross commodity resolutions affecting all VFF members passed at UDV conference include:

Councillor, Evan Campbell, Mary Harney, Gardiner Dairy Foundation CEO, Bruce Kefford, Gardiner Chairman, Alistair Harris, Denise Jones, Nick Minogue and Lauren Peterson. 7. L eft to right: New UDV Policy Councillor for Region 9, Lauren Peterson and outgoing Councillor for Region 9, Nick Renyard.

• That the UDV demand a review of the impact of Feed in Tariffs and the UDV demand existing agreements are maintained and are not changed to the financial detriment of the user, even when additional/new forms of power generation changes are made

8. L eft to right: UDV Vice President, John Versteden and UDV Policy Councillors Daryl Hoey and Gordon Nicholas. 9. UDV members voting on resolutions.

• That the UDV call upon COAG to prepare and action an energy supply and delivery plan to support the dairy industry and all other Australian industries and rural communities, and economies. Ensuring that infrastructure is upgraded to not only meet and protect our current needs, but also provide the foundation for future thriving rural communities and economies for the next 50 years • T hat the UDV express condemnation of all political parties and politicians in these parties due to their lack of action in regard to the delivery of secure electricity • T hat the UDV continually lobby the Federal Government to reserve an appropriate amount of Australian drilled gas for use in Australia 6

• T he Macalister branch calls on the State and Federal Governments to take the issue of the impact of Q fever in the dairy industry seriously, by working together to: o P  rovide funding for a state wide program of pre-screening and vaccination clinics for dairy farming families and their employees and


o List the Q Vax vaccine on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme • T hat the UDV lobbies the Minister for Local Government to mandate that all rural shires have wards to ensure better representation for dairy farmers • T he UDV to look into an overhaul of the current agriculture education, with the view to facilitate the needs of our future generations



• The VFF develop a membership option for dairy farm employees.



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Livestock President’s report It’s been a very busy second quarter of 2017 with many issues on the agenda. You may have seen the Q fever awareness campaign material recently. We’ve been working hard to raise awareness of this serious issue for rural and regional communities, with the goal to have a vaccination program set up for the supply chain. The Livestock Health and Biosecurity VICTORIA team are also rolling out Q fever related events throughout 2017. We have approached the Victorian Health and Agriculture Ministers for funding and negotiations are taking place. Wild dogs pose a serious threat to farming communities and we need appropriate agricultural representation to ensure this is heard. The ministerially appointed Wild Dog Advisory Committee didn’t include the VFF national committee representative. However, it did appoint dingo advocates. We are concerned these advocates may have an adverse influence on the committee and have approached



the Minister for Agriculture to have our member appointed.

to be processed for pet food, is due to cease in March 2018.

The RSPCA is still under scrutiny. I recently presented at a state parliamentary inquiry, alongside the VFF Egg Group Vice President, Brian Ahmed. The inquiry is investigating their funding model and operations.

We are pushing for full commercialisation of the kangaroo pet food supply chain by engaging our members for evidence of the impact of kangaroos in Victorian agriculture. We will then forward a comprehensive case to the Minister for Environment.

Our focus is on representing your best interests to government and all sectors of the supply chain. The RSPCA have conflicts of interest regarding 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 Agriculture Victoria remains the enforcement agency and that they are operating appropriately. The State Government initiated kangaroo meat trial program, where the meat may be harvested from authorised wildlife control activities

There is the opportunity for a new product and additional jobs in the meat supply chain and revenue would be reinvested back into rural communities. All while limiting the burden of kangaroos on the environment and agricultural community. You will see more information about this in the coming months. We run regular regional forums to hear about issues affecting you, so we can determine how to use our influence to improve the situation. If you are interested in having a policy forum in your area please get in touch with us at or 1300 882 833. Thank you for your ongoing support, because without you, livestock producers have no recognised voice in Victoria. Leonard Vallance President Livestock Group



Stock up with Livestock Health & Biosecurity VICTORIA We want to thank you, Victoria’s red meat and fibre producers, for your support and input over the last 12 months and encourage you to get even more involved. It’s been a busy period with the addition of a new project officer, launching a website and delivering 15 events across the state, attended by over 530 producers. With change, such as the new reaccreditation process for Livestock Production Assurance (LPA), producers have an opportunity to take even more ownership in the integrity and strength of the industry - and that’s something that excites us. For those of you who don’t know who we are, Livestock Health & Biosecurity VICTORIA is a producerled extension project, funded by the Cattle, and Sheep and Goat Compensation Funds and proudly delivered by the VFF Livestock Group. The Compensation Funds were established under the Livestock Disease Control Act 1994 and collect duties on the sale of cattle, sheep and goats or their carcasses. The funds are controlled by the Minister of Agriculture who is guided by advisory committees of livestock producers. The committees oversee that producer’s money benefits the industry through research, subsidies and projects such as ours.


Livestock Health and Biosecurity VICTORIA

What do we do? Helping producers adopt animal health and production practises that improve farm profitability, animal welfare and Victoria’s biosecurity status keeps us coming back to work each day. We are passionate about keeping you in the know and up-to-date on the latest disease, animal health, welfare and biosecurity information. This includes Q fever, eID in sheep and goats, introduction of Johne’s disease Beef Assurance Score and changes to the LPA accreditation, endemic diseases and much more! How can you get involved? It would be great to have you involved because we rely on producers to help shape each event so they’re locally relevant. Get in touch if you have any ideas. Or, you can come along to one of our events and soak up the information from a range of expert presenters, or keep an eye out for Kimberley or I at your local field day or Farmers’ Forum. The website – – has a range of fact sheets, upcoming events and other industry resources, as well as links to our Facebook and Twitter sites. And perhaps most importantly, if you have a question about livestock health or biosecurity you can get in touch with us by phone, email or social media. Kimberley and I look forward to working with you across the next 12 months! Catherine James Livestock Health and Biosecurity VICTORIA

Lockdown on disease Figures from Agriculture Victoria reveal that on any given day, 100,000 head of cattle, 40,000 pigs and 30,000 sheep are on Australian roads. The topic of a livestock standstill (LSS) generates a lot of interest at Livestock Health & Biosecurity VICTORIA events. The presentation, given by Agriculture Victoria’s district veterinary officers, always results in a range of questions, so here’s a few that may be of interest to you. What is a LSS? A LSS is a total standstill on the movement of livestock when there is a suspected emergency animal disease (EAD) outbreak, including foot and mouth disease (FMD). How do I know if a LSS has been called? Agriculture Victoria is the lead

when a LSS has been called, with support agencies such as the police and VicRoads involved in the communication of a LSS. Industry representatives have communication plans in place to spread the word to producers. This includes the Victorian Farmers Federation, peak industry councils, as well as transport, saleyard, agent and abattoir associations. As part of these plans, the media are also engaged. Has a LSS been called in Victoria before? Yes. In 2007 the outbreak of equine influenza resulted in a standstill of all horses, gear and equipment. How long does a LSS last? The initial time period is 72 hours. This allows time for diagnosis to be confirmed and the identified animal(s) to be traced to its origin.

a current trip. If that trip can’t be completed or returned to the original pickup point in that four hours, transporters need to call 136 186 for instruction. No new journeys can begin, unless under a special permit and no livestock can be loaded from saleyards or feedlots either. In summary, make sure you know where you will get information from in the case of a livestock standstill. And, if you suspect FMD, or any other suspicious diseases, contact: Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888 Our tip is to put the number in your phone. Kimberley Henman Livestock Health and Biosecurity VICTORIA

If an EAD is confirmed, a standstill can be extended or transition to control and restricted areas will occur. What happens at the saleyards when a LSS is called? Saleyards are placed into lockdown, with saleyard management implementing their LSS action plan. Sales in progress will be stopped and attendees will be advised of their obligations. No livestock can leave the saleyard, they will be fed and watered on site until the standstill is over. All trucks must be emptied and washed down. What do livestock transporters do when a LSS is called? Trucks have four hours to complete

Livestock Health and Biosecurity VICTORIA


News and reviews

Focus on our members Natasha Lobban - President VFF Wangaratta and District branch Not only is Natasha Lobban one of the youngest presidents of any VFF branch, she is also a young mum, businesswoman and farmer.

“There’s so many different industries in the area now. It’s important that everyone feels welcome to attend and that they can all get something out of the events.”

Aged just 31, she is mum to eight-monthold Harriet and a freelance journalist and communications specialist. Together with her husband, Dean, they run Angus beef cattle on 600 acres at Eldorado.

Natasha feels it’s important for the younger members of the community to get involved so that the knowledge and experience of our older farmers can be passed down to the new generation.

Natasha was keen to get involved in the local VFF branch to honour her late father-in-law, Ian, who passed away four years ago.

“There is a wealth of knowledge and passion in the branch’s current members, it would be a shame if one day this valuable experience was lost,” she said.

Ian Lobban was a well-respected member of the community, heavily involved with the VFF over many years. It’s a family event with Natasha, Dean and Harriet all attending meetings.


“I’d also like to open the group up to members from all types of farming.

With Natasha at the helm and with the support of her seasoned executive, the Wangaratta and District VFF branch can be assured of a bright future.

Natasha is passionate about continuing the good work the branch has been doing, particularly under the leadership of Greg Mirabella over the past three years.

Farm safety

As for future issues, a new management model for the Wangaratta Saleyards is the first issue she is taking on. She is also hoping to introduce more events geared to young farmers, to get them involved.

• Tell someone where you are going

“I’m keen to have guest speakers who can give advice on business management and innovative farming practices and inviting farmers to share their stories,” she said.

• D evelop a set of rules including safe speeds, riding conditions and prohibited/unsafe areas

News and reviews

Quadbike safety tips • Wear a helmet • G  ive information and training to all riders/employees • D o a farm safety plan and risk assessment

• Q  uad bikes are no place for children under 16 as drivers or passengers.

Farming risks Identify your on-farm risks to reduce potential dangers: • Tractors without roll-over protection and tractor attachments with no guarding on power-take offs • Unguarded plant such as augers, post diggers and conveyors • Mobile plant such as harvesters, quad bikes, forklifts, trailers and trucks •  Plant and equipment (for example, ladders, pruning tools, chainsaws, grinders, welding equipment) •  Depression and stress caused by adverse weather conditions, heavy workloads or financial uncertainty • Unpredictable animals such as cattle, sheep, horses and pigs •  Lifting heavy or awkward shaped objects or carrying, pushing, pulling and reaching for objects • Repetitive tasks such as picking fruit, pruning, packing and unpacking, digging and planting, and shearing sheep • Slips or trips resulting in a fall caused by wet and slippery indoor and outdoor surfaces, poor housekeeping, or uneven ground conditions •  Improper handling and storage of chemicals such as fertilisers, pesticides, acids, alkalis, solvents or petroleum products • Fatigue, caused by inadequate rest, long hours, heat or cold, can slow reactions and affect judgment • Confined spaces such as vats, tanks and silos • Contact with power lines, electrical leads, cables and equipment • Falls involving elevated work platforms, ladders, trailers, trucks and utilities • Sun exposure. See for more. Loretta Gibson Engagement and Communication

Our team

Our commodity team

A helping hand

Graeme Ford Chief Executive Officer Patricia Murdock Workplace Relations and Human Resources Stephen Webb Marketing and Member Services Simon Arcus Policy Craig De Paola Government Programs David Broman Education and Training

United Dairyfarmers Victoria

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

Ashley Mackinnon Public Affairs

All enquiries: 1300 882 833

Recipe of the month Somerville beef pies

Grains - Steve Sheridan Livestock - David Picker Horticulture - Lis Blandamer Intensives - Laurie Mannix - Chicken Meat - Eggs - Pigs Flowers Victoria - Anastasia Volpe

larger. On a lined baking tray, line up the smaller pastry squares, having brushed the bottom with egg. Spoon on the meat mixture. Put a larger pastry square on top and fork around the edges to seal the pies. Brush tops with egg. Cook in oven at 180C for 40 minutes. Recipe: Michelle Somerville

Welcome Wangaratta’s unofficial version of a Cornish Pasty, these beef pies can be made quickly and left to cook whilst herding children into homework and end of day activities. This recipe feeds 10 people and the pies can be frozen. Ingredients 500g mince beef 1 onion diced 1-2 garlic gloves ½ cup tomato sauce 1 tablespoon tomato paste 5 sheets puff pastry 1 carrot 1 head broccoli 3 shakes of Italian herbs 1 cup frozen peas 1 beaten egg Method Put carrot, broccoli, onion and garlic in food processor, process into small pieces. Fry mixture in a pan for 10-15 minutes and add beef, herbs, tomato paste, salt and pepper. Cook until beef is browned. Add tomato sauce. Microwave the peas and add to the mixture and let the mixture cool. Cut each puff pastry sheet into four squares, making the top squares a little

Congratulations to Carly Kohler, our Workplace Relations and HR advisor and her husband Bart, who welcomed Archie into the world in June. Big brother Charlie adores his baby brother, pictured and the Kohler family are all well and happy.

New digital initiative Tie Up Farming is a new online platform that turns paperwork processes into real-time digital data. The platform integrates with and maps traceability systems, harvest planning and scheduling, yield data, weather analysis and soil sensors, satellite imagery and cold storage management. Currently working with horticultural growers, Tie Up Farming is involved in the SproutX accelerator program – a start-up initiative funded by Findex and the National Farmers Federation. Contact Roei Yaakobi on 0402 276 625 for more information.

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 Finance Free services National debt helpline 1800 007 007 Consumer Action Law Centre 9629 6300 Free online assistance Salvation Army Moneycare program financialassistance/financialcounselling Asic’s Moneysmart - www.moneysmart. yourmoney/managing debts/financialcounselling Australian Government - www.agriculture. financial counselling service Agriculture Victoria - www.agriculture. management/ debt mediation/financial counselling

See more at mentalhealth

News and reviews


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Trusted partners

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

Rural Industries Co-operative Limited (RICL) Bulk gas deals - minimum annual usage 20,000L and tank size minimum 2,000L.

Alliance partners WFI Tailored policies – Early Bird Crop policy, Rural Plan, Commercial Plan, Private Plan, Landlord Plan.

Chandler Agribusiness Labour hire, staff solutions, payroll services, cash flow management. Morgans Stockbrokers - specialised reports on companies and the economy. Nissan Fleet National fleet pricing, fleet finance and capped price servicing, plus 24 hour assist. Prime Super Low fees, tailored investment and flexible insurance options, online accounts.

Elgas Save on domestic LPG - Melbourne/ Geelong area 85c/L, rural 95c/L (all + GST, conditions apply). Express Insurance Tailored comprehensive audit insurance cost protection. Falcon UAV Aerial Imaging Discounted rates on aerial imaging of your property. FeedTest 10% discount off testing. Hard Yakka Special discounts and free delivery.

Tomcar Australia Free accessories and delivery, 100% Australian manufactured.

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

Partners Advanced Analytical 20% discount off sampling and testing.

Mecardo Agri-market analysis.

Rydges Melbourne Discounted rates on accommodation - includes breakfast, wi-fi and parking. Schaller Studio Bendigo – Art Series Hotel Special accommodation rates in Bendigo’s newest hotel. Telstra Business solutions and communications advice. The Herd Online Livestock listings, upcoming saleyard dates, links to bull and ram sales. Triiion Energy solutions converting single phase power to three phase. Wide Span Sheds 10% off non-promotional products.

Legal panel


Shiff & Co Lawyers

Whitnell & Co

Berry Family Law

Harwood Andrews Magdwicks Lawyers

Mendelsons in ass. with Prushka

Nevett Ford

Oldham Naidoo Lawyers

Russell Kennedy Lawyers


Melb CBD


Melbourne CBD and Williamstown

Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Melb CBD

Melb CBD

Mitcham and Regional

Melb CBD

Melb CBD

Melb CBD

Contact name

Michael Levy

Rod Withnell

Heather Cook

Rod Payne

Cassie O’Bryan

Sylvia Mattiaccio Andrew Lumb

David Wills

Andrew Teague

Contact number

(03) 8611 0404

(03) 5725 2400

(03) 9397 2488

(03) 5226 8541

(03) 9242 4744

(03) 8872 5982

(03) 9614 7111

(03) 9640 0002

(03) 8640 2356

Contact email


admin@ withnellandco.

hcook@ berryfamilylaw.

rpayne@ harwoodandrews.

Cassie.OBryan@ Madgwicks.


alumb@ nevettford.

david@ oldhamnaidoo.


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


VFF member advantage


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 91 Williamson Street

Bendigo 3550 m 0427 698 623 e

Colac John Trainor a 91 Williamson Street

Bendigo 3550 m 0437 356 197 e

Geelong Wes Costin a 34 Malop Street

Geelong 3220

Stuart Powney a 91 Williamson Street

Bendigo 3550 m 0409 512 786 e

Adam Wray a 34 Malop Street

Geelong 3220

Simon Ryland a 1 Nexus Court

Mulgrave 3170

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

Colac 3250 m 0412 117 458 e


m 0408 174 411 e

m 0407 426 414 e

Adam Wray a 526 Princes Highway

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 14, 181 William Street

Mary Livori a Level 14, 181 William Street

Brett Johnston a Level 14, 181 William Street

Melbourne Paula O’Hare a Level 14, 181 William 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



Victorian Farmer Magazine - Spring 2017  
Victorian Farmer Magazine - Spring 2017