VFF Grains Conference to look at business side of farming

Grain growers from across Victoria will hear experts discuss trade, globalisation and how the broader economic policies are likely to affect agriculture at next Monday’s Victorian Farmers Federation Grains Conference with Treasury Secretary John Fraser.

Mr Fraser will join ANZ Head of Agribusiness and Regional Business Banking Mark Bennett and investment adviser William Richardson in a panel chaired by incoming VFF Grains President Ross Johns that will look at the economy, agriculture, and managing farm finances and risks in 2017.

“We’re very excited to have attracted exceptional financial experts with the experience and reputation of John Fraser present at the Grains Conference,” Mr Johns said.

“We expect key topics to include succession planning for the future, how to approach banks for lending, and understanding how banks assess farm business equity and risk.”

The Grains Conference will include three other panels with topics ranging from the future outlook for this year’s bumper crop; how to manage on-farm storage; and whether the South Australian Grain Levy model could work in Victoria.

Mr Johns said the Grains Group had discussed the idea of moving from an opt-in model of grain levy to the same approach adopted by growers in SA, with representatives from Grain Producers SA joining a panel to answer questions on differences between the two systems.

“The SA levy system is an opt-out model, as opposed to the opt-in system we currently use, and we want to have a discussion around the merits and risks of this approach,” he said.

“It would be a challenge to implement a similar model here when we’re already using an opt-in system, but we value having the discussion around the merits of both approaches.”

Other panels will focus on the 2017 grain crop and the cost and benefit of on-farm storage, and will include guests from AWB, GrainCorp and Emerald Grain.

The Conference will also mark the end of Brett Hosking’s four year term as Grains Group President.

Mr Hosking said he had a deep appreciation for the growers who worked with and supported him over his term and looked forward to seeing the achievements of the new team.

“I wish incoming President Ross Johns, Vice President Ashley Fraser, and the new Grains Group Council all the best for the future,” he said.

“Our members can rest assured that they are in capable hands with the new leadership team.”

The VFF Grains Conference will take place on Monday 27 February at the Horsham Town Hall from 9.00am.

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