Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief


A quick look at some of the cracking good agribusiness events and people making news at the moment


Aussie eggs crack Saudi trade

The egg industry is celebrating Saudi Arabia's decision to approve imports of Australian table eggs again after the export trade stalled mid last year

The recent Food and Drug Authority decision means eggs can now be flown from Australia to reach consumers in the Middle East.

Australia sent 20,322 kilograms of eggs to Saudi Arabia in 2018 worth $172,000.

"There is certainly opportunity for further expansion," said chief executive officer of Egg Farmers of Australia, Melinda Hashimoto.

"Re-opening this market allows another avenue for egg producers currently faced with low returns from retailers."

She congratulated Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, Senator Simon Birmingham, for his efforts to increase export market opportunities for producers

"A range of market options can only be an advantage for Australian farmers so they do not have all their eggs in one basket."


A2 eyes powder plants

Speculation in New Zealand has A2 Milk poised to spend about $375 million ($NZ400) buying into Mataura Valley Milk which makes nutritional powder products used by international infant and health formula brands.

The South Island-based Mataura Valley is owned by NZ's Bodco Dairy, the China Animal Husbandry Group and Southland dairy farmer-suppliers, but it began seeking out interest from potential buyers last year.

Bodco has its own North Island processing plant at Hamilton also making milk powder and nutritional powder lines.

A2 Milk confirmed it wanted to get involved in manufacturing, but has not reacted to speculation about a bid for Mataura Valley.

The NZ and Australian-listed specialist milk brand, which has enjoyed booming market sales success with nutritional formula powder, made under contract in NZ by Synlait Milk, is considered likely to want to capitalise on its buoyant share price with a move into powder production.

A2, which owns a 20 per cent of Synlait, uses only milk containing the A2 beta casein protein in its fresh milk and formula lines.


Go NSW ag fund goes

The NSW government has sold out of a $150 million partnership with private equity group Roc Partners which had investments in Wagyu beef and oyster farming in the state.

The Go NSW alternative investment growth fund, which wound up in May, realised the government a profit of about 900,000, but also attracted criticism from the oyster industry centred on favoritism and lack of transparency in its investment support on the state's South Coast.

The fund's partner, Roc also attracted questions about potential conflicting interests, given its strong involvement in the Stone Axe Pastoral business which has Wagyu operations in the NSW Northern Tablelands and Western Australia.

Meanwhile, Victoria has just adopted a similar investment model also in partnership with Roc Partners, to run a $250 million growth fund which will also involve newly-merged NSW and Victorian government superannuation funds, First State Super.


Seed directorship for Dillon

US-based S&W Seed Company has appointed former Ruralco managing director Travis Dillon as its first non-executive director ofits local subsidiary, the S&W Seed Company Australia.

He will also represent S&W in its joint venture with Sorghum Solutions located in South Africa and will support S&W management as advisor on the Australian agriculture landscape and competitive environment, strengthening the company's relationships with farmers and its dealer network.

S&W is prominent in the lucerne, wheat, sorghum and sunflower seed categories.

Mr Dillon (pictured) headed Ruralco Holdings Limited for four years until its acquisition by Nutrien in September 2019 and is also a director of Lifeline Australia.

Wilton joins Namoi

Elders chairman Ian Wilton has joined the board of Namoi Cotton following the recent resignation of director and significant shareholder James Jackson.

Mr Wilton (pictured), also a director of horticulture produce trader and fresh food processor, Tivoli Investments/One Harvest and is chairman of the advisory board of big Queensland family horticultural business, MacKay's Banana Marketing

He has previously held executive positions with Ridley Corporation, CSR Sugar, GrainCorp and was president of GrainCorp Malt, now United Malt Group.

Namoi chairman, Tim Watson said the cotton lint processor and its shareholders were privileged to have a board director of Mr Wilton's calibre on the team


Beston raising $12m

South Australian cheese business Beston Global Food Company has raised $10 million in a share placement to institutional investors and is seeking a further $2m from it existing shareholders.

The money will be used primarily to expand Beston's lactoferrin nutrient production capacity by constructing an advanced skim milk facility to lift powder production from 3m tonnes a year to 12m tonnes.

The special purchase plan, which closes on July 24, is offering shares at 8.5 cents each, with approved shareholders able to each apply for up to $30,000 worth.


Carroll leaves Elders

Former Elders chairman Mike Carroll has resigned as a director of the farm services company after a relatively short 20-month stint on the board.

Mr Carroll, who joined the board in 2018, serving as chairman for nine months until September last year, is a former executive at National Australia Bank who has been on a host of agribusiness boards including current roles with Macquarie Bank's Paraway Pastoral Company Limited and Viridis Ag.

Elders has also announced Shannon Doecke has taken over as company secretary, replacing Sanjeeta Singh, who becomes head of risk, safety and environment.

Peter Hastings remains principal company secretary.


Hydoponic conference plan

The 12th Biennial Hydroponic Farmers Federation Conference will go ahead on November 17-19 at the Atura Hotel in Dandenong, in Victoria, celebrating 25 years of connection within the industry.

HFF's organising committee said it was mindful of the safety and health of participants and their families given the current COVID-19 environment, and all the necessary precautions were being planned.

"We will continue to closely monitor the situation as it evolves, and follow the advice of government and health authorities if any changes develop."

To allow potential participants time to plan sponsorship and registration, early discounts applied to bookings prior to August 28.

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Let's talk about tax

Twenty years after the introduction of Australia's goods and services tax, NSW Farmers is congratulating the state government for taking leadership in the latest tax reform debate, commissioning its Review of Federal Financial Relations.

President James Jackson said Australia needed more fact-based discussions on tax and to take the chance to phase out payroll tax, transfer duties and tax on insurance.

"It's been 20 years since the GST was introduced, yet we still have a complex and inefficient taxation system that is not delivering the best outcomes for all Australians," he said.

However, he had real concerns regarding the NSW government's proposal to introduce a broad-based land tax if transfer a tax was phased out.

Such a tax proposal needed "deep analysis of the impact on farm businesses".


Nuffield 2021 scholarhips

Australia's "proactive agriculturalists" are urged to consider a Nuffield Scholarship to help them research important rural concepts, techniques and systems which could secure the industry's future in a post-COVID world

The Nuffield Scholarship program is open to farmers wanting to make positive change in their own businesses, communities and the broader agriculture sector.

Each of the 20 scholarships available in 2021 is valued at $30,000, enabling scholars to undertake a global study program, researching their chosen topic for 14 weeks.

Applications will be accepted until September 11, to be followed by interviews during September and October and successful recipients will be announced at Nuffield Australia's national conference in Brisbane on 26 October.

Farmers, fishers, and people in associated industries aged between 28 and 45 can fine more details, and submit applications, via Nuffield Australia's website


Co-operative ag talks

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals has started regular online evening seminars as part of its Co-operative Farming resource initiative.

Co-operative Conversations is a new 10-episode, online education resource for farmers running fortnightly until October 23.

Journalist Peter Lewis interviews agribusiness experts and primary producers about their adventures in agriculture and farming's future.

In July, he is exploring farming co-operatives in the dairy, macadamia and banana industries, including a chat with Marquis Macadamias chief executive officer Larry McHugh whose operation has the world's biggest macadamia processing plant.

That July 8 conversation will include a panel discussion including the Hon Karen Andrews, Minister for Industry, Science and Technology looking at adding value, profitability and resilience to farm incomes.

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The story Agribusiness buzz in brief first appeared on Farm Online.


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