AgriFutures Cultivate Program closing soon

THE AgriFutures Cultivate Program, designed to provide promising career prospects in the growing chicken meat industry, is nearing the end of its application period.

AgriFutures Australia has collaborated with the chicken meat industry to introduce the program which presents an exceptional chance for people interested in animal welfare, sustainability, and innovation to kickstart a career in a thriving sector.Successful applicants to the program are provided a full-time position in the industry, accompanied by professional development opportunities and mentorship from industry experts. They will also attain a Cert III in poultry production or food processing, advancing alongside a network of peers.Executive general operations manager at Inghams, Susy Klein, said this was a valuable opportunity, suited to people looking to start their career. “I encourage all interested individuals to submit an application before November 13 – it's a great chance to embark on a career in the unique and rewarding chicken meat industry and requires no prior experience,” Ms Klein said.AgriFutures Australia managing director, John Harvey, said the Cultivate Program offered a unique pathway into the agricultural workforce, targeting individuals who may not have previously considered a career in the chicken meat industry."Providing the next generation of workers an unparalleled chance to immerse themselves in animal welfare, sustainability, and innovation through the AgriFutures Cultivate Program is just one day AgriFutures is investing in the next generation of talent for the sector,” Mr Harvey said.Baiada Poultry Group human resource manager, Laura Rankin, echoed Mr Harvey’s sentiment, emphasising the range of relatively unknown opportunities in the sector."We see this program an excellent opportunity to ensure we are building career pathways for our future leaders. We are an industry that continues to grow and we can offer excellent career development for anyone starting their career or wanting an industry change.”Australian Chicken Meat Federation CEO, Mary Wu, said the program offered a significant opportunity for aspiring individuals to contribute to a sector that plays a vital role in meeting domestic and global food needs.“This program not only helps address the growing demand for chicken meat in Australia and worldwide, but also supports people to join a growing industry committed to world leading production standards through fostering innovation and technology,” Dr Wu said.More information at, and submissions before Monday, November 13, 2023.


Farmers back carbon credit review but find contradictions in existing system

THE FARMERS for Climate Action group has welcomed today's release of the Chubb Review into Australia’s carbon credit scheme, but warned the final report did not "properly address the fundamental issue of the integrity of existing carbon credits".

Nevertheless, Farmers for Climate action have caqlled on the Federal Government to implement all of the Chubb Review's recommendations,

The Chubb Review came about after whistleblower professor Andrew Macintosh, from the Australian National University (ANU), resigned from the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee after pointing out problems with several of the methods producing carbon credits. Prof. Macintosh was subsequently backed by major carbon credit players making up around half of Australia’s carbon credits. 

The review has recommended major overhauls to the system, but does not acknowledge any problem with current credits.

Farmers for Climate Action strategy director, Cambell Klose said Australia's farmers relied on the integrity of Australia’s carbon credits to maintain the value of, and income from, their investments into growing carbon crops.

“Farmers for Climate Action welcomes recommendations made by the Chubb Review to end the multiple conflicting roles of the Clean Energy Regulator, give new life to the integrity committee, and to end new projects claiming carbon credits under avoided deforestation," Mr Klose said.

“The review puts forward sensible recommendations which are a step forward in fixing the problems, yet fail to acknowledge any problems.

“It is contradictory to offer solutions without acknowledging the problem. This review skates over the idea that there are any issues with the current market. Australian farmers who have invested in growing carbon crops are the ones who pay the price when integrity issues with carbon credits are revealed because it reduces confidence in the market and the price paid for carbon credits," he said.

“We also encourage governments to remember that offsets can only be a small part of Australia’s emissions reduction. Stopping emissions at the source is the most effective way to stop emissions.

"We support the Federal Government's announcement that it will adopt the recommendations from the review."

The review into Australia’s carbon credit scheme, the Chubb Review, was commissioned by the Federal Government in September 2022 after concerns were raised about the integrity of the scheme. 

Concerns were raised by companies making up a significant portion of Australia’s carbon credit system, who revealed they also had issues with the integrity of Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) issued to farmers or businesses who were reducing emissions with one ACCU for every tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, stored or avoided.

Farmers for Climate Action is a movement of 7500 farmers calling for strong economy-wide climate policies.




Dairy farmers can seek help without fear of retribution says Ombudsman

THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman Kate Carnell said dairy farmers in dispute could get in touch with her office for initial guidance, without fear of retribution.

Ms Carnell is encouraging dairy farmers to contact her office for information about the Dairy Code of Conduct or advice regarding how to handle a dispute under the code.

“My office understands that it can be very daunting when a small or family business finds themselves in dispute with a large business -- especially when they rely on that business relationship for their income,” Ms Carnell said.

“We are here to help. The first step when a small or family business comes to our office is to talk about their situation. We can provide guidance on how to resolve disputes, even in the early stages.

“Rest assured that my office will not contact the other party involved, unless the dispute resolution process is formally entered into.”

The Dairy Code of Conduct applies to all milk supply agreements entered into, or amended, on or after January 1, 2020.  

“Under the Dairy Code, it is mandatory for processors and farmers to deal with each other in good faith,” Ms Carnell said. 

“Milk supply agreements are required to have an internal complaints handling procedure and a mediation process. A milk supply agreement may also have an arbitration option. My office can assist with mediation or arbitration if required. 

“We understand how important the farmer-processor relationship is and we work hard to assist with the dispute, while also respecting the business relationship.

“I want to remind dairy farmers in dispute that they don’t have to go it alone. Please reach out for help by calling my office," Ms Carnell said.

“In addition to the Dairy Code, my office can provide broader assistance to small and family businesses that need help with general business disputes, including issues with banks, or the ATO.”

More information is available about ASBFEO’s dispute resolution services at

Phone: 1300 650 460. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Provenir's abattoir in-a-truck is a rural revolution

By Leon Gettler >>

CHRIS BALASZ, who runs Australian red meat company Provenir, is revolutionising Australian abattoirs.

The regulator, Prime Safe, came out and conducted an inspection of Provenir’s mobile abattoir, which had been operating for the last year in New South Wales, and granted a licence to operate in the company’s home state of Victoria.

“The process was quite long and in the first place we had to change the law, which was no small feat, and we did that on October 24, 2019. The legislation passed through the upper house of the Victorian Parliament and that basically added two words to the Meat Industry Act. Under the definition of an ‘abattoir’ it put ‘and vehicle’,” Mr Balasz told Talking Business

“They were the only two words that stopped us operating in Victoria.

“Then we needed the regulator to create a licence – so red tape is well and truly alive in Victoria – so we waded our way through that. So on July 1 they came in and inspected the unit and then on Tuesday this week, for the first time in Victoria, we processed cattle on the farm in which they were born and raised and produced the best quality meat in Australia – and that was done on my farm.”


The abattoir is operating from a semi-trailer, the largest truck one could put on the road. It is wider than a normal truck, 3m versus 2.5m, and a fully compliant operational abattoir is inside.

The abattoir industry has gone through a generation and a half of consolidation. Meat regulations have increased and become stricter in the wake of the kangaroo meat and horse meat export scandals of the 1990s, forcing smaller operators out of the business.

The smaller operators were generally in regional Australia close to the point of production of the animals.

Abattoirs in Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane had lower transportation costs from the point of slaughter to the point of consumption, while the abattoirs in regional areas struggled with the regulatory and transportation costs and they closed down.

“What that’s meant is the animal had to be transported a lot further than what they did a generation or so ago, and again that impacts on the quality of meat. That’s where our little business model puts all that on its head and we actually go to where the animals are,” Mr Balasz said.

It means the cattle are slaughtered without any stress at all, completing the duty of stewardship, he said.


With COVID-19, there is more community awareness about how meat is produced and about food security and safety.

Mr Balasz said Provenir Meat gives that reassurance for consumers using its QR codes, which provide details about the kind of meat, the farm where it comes from, the species of cow and even some recipes for preparing the best possible steak.

“Every time they purchase a retail-ready pack of meat, it comes with a little QR code on it and, on any smart phone just on the camera, if you put that over the QR code, it links back to our web-based system which will tell exactly what the cut of meat is they just purchased,” Mr Balasz said.

“It actually gives some cooking tips there as well. How quickly do you sear an eye fillet, or what are some ideas that you can do with a bowl of roast? And we’ll add to that with more content and recipes on there.

“The next tab across tell you exactly which farm it comes from but beyond the name of the farm, it introduces the name of the farmer.”

It is a revolutionary approach to meat production – harking back to a more community-engaged erea – whose time seems to have come again in Australia.

Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at


COVID-19 hits Queensland farmers' confidence

THE COVID-19 pandemic has probably derailed the heady optimism Queensland farmers enjoyed early in the year, with the latest quarterly Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey showing a distinct decline in farmer sentiment.

After experiencing the strongest rebound in the survey’s 19-year history last quarter, farmer confidence has now retracted, although sentiment remains higher than during 2019, and in line with levels last seen in late 2018.

Those Queensland farmers expecting agricultural economic conditions to improve in the coming year dropped to 24 percent – from 57 percent in the previous survey – while those expecting conditions to worsen rose to 27 percent – from just 13 percent last quarter.

Specifically questioned in this survey about the impact of COVID-19, 42 percent of Queensland producers believed the repercussions on their business were negative. 

Those in the sugar and dairy industries were most affected, with commodity uncertainty cited as a main concern.

This is in line with the overall survey, which pinned the wavering Queensland rural sentiment on commodity price and global market disruption – nominated by 37 percent of survey respondents as key reason conditions were expected to worsen.


Rabobank regional manager for Northern Queensland, Trent McIndoe said confidence was down across all commodity sectors – particularly among sugar and grain producers.

“Only 11 percent of sugar producers are expecting business conditions to improve over the next 12 months, which is well down on 48 percent with that view last quarter,” Mr McIndoe said.

Despite a mild wet season in key cane-growing regions such as the Burdekin, he said the price impact of COVID-19 was behind the downturn in sentiment, with commodity price uncertainty cited by Queensland farmers as the reason conditions were likely to worsen.

After rallying last quarter, sentiment among Queensland grain growers has slumped, with just six percent expecting business conditions to improve in the coming year – well down from 55 percent with that view last quarter.

While 56 percent of croppers expect little change from last quarter, 28 percent believe conditions will worsen over the next 12 months – primarily on the back of drought concerns and commodity prices.


Mr McIndoe said widespread rain early in the year helped replenish soil moisture profiles, but in regions such as the Darling Downs and Central Highlands, grain growers were once again looking to the skies.

“By and large, Queensland cultivators had a reasonable soil moisture profile, generally there was a good start to the season, allowing most producers to begin their sowing program, however sufficient follow-up rain didn’t eventuate in some areas, and is now needed,” he said.

On the positive side, as barley is not a significant crop rotation in Queensland, Mr McIndoe said, the impact of China’s recent tariff announcement would be minimal.

While sentiment in the state’s beef industry fell from early-year highs, optimism prevailed, with 32 percent of the state’s beef producers expecting better conditions ahead – down from 61 percent last quarter –  and a further 46 percent expecting little change over the next 12 months.

With the survey revealing confidence was tempered by concerns about overseas markets, Mr McIndoe said the Queensland industry remained strong in the face of COVID-19.

“Cattle are still trading at high levels and, while survey respondents expressed frustrations over not being able to go to sales or view stock during lock down, there has been very little impact on farm finances so far,” he said.

“Domestic markets are very buoyant indeed, prices and demand are strong as restockers, and those seeking to source the finished article, compete for product.”


China’s suspension of four Australian meatworks fell narrowly within the survey period and, while it may not have impacted results generally, Mr McIndoe said, it could have broader ramifications if the suspensions were expanded or prolonged.

Producers in northern Queensland recorded the largest downturn in confidence in the state, and, with areas around central and north western Queensland remaining dry, he said this was reflective of the continuing poor season in the region.

Areas devastated by the 2019 floods have also received little relief, after some of the country failed to respond to rain early in the season.

Mr McIndoe described Queensland’s season as 'a mixed bag' with producers in the Channel Country enjoying timely autumn rain and abundant pastures – and, although confidence in the region retreated sharply from early-year highs, sentiment remained strong.

While the percentage of Queensland cotton growers expecting conditions to improve almost halved to 32 percent, sentiment remained well above levels reported last year.

Seasonal conditions and commodity prices were cited as reasons for concern, with early-year rainfall in the Central Highlands and Darling Downs failing to fill dams.

Prices were also back considerably, Mr McIndoe said, with cotton consumption dropping sharply as stores closed their doors through COVID-19 restrictions.

He said Rabobank was forecasting a 12 percent drop in global cotton consumption in 2020.


Queensland farmers revised down gross farm income projections considerably for the next 12 months, with just 23 percent expecting incomes to improve – down from 38 percent last quarter.

Whilst beef producers’ forecast incomes were downgraded, it was by a lesser extent than their counterparts in other industries, and the sector reported the strongest expansionary intentions.

Overall, Queensland farmers’ investment intentions were down – 16 percent of respondents now looked to increase investment over the next 12 months – although spending on on-farm infrastructure and increasing livestock numbers was predicted to be higher than last quarter.

“After devastating floods and droughts across much of Queensland, producers are now looking to restock and renew on-farm infrastructure such as fencing and yards.  Further property purchases also provide an opportunity to mitigate future events,” Mr McIndoe said.

He said the story for rural Australia was a unique one during COVID-19, with low interest rates, strong commodity prices and a good season in parts of Queensland placing the various ag sectors in a sound position.

“A large number of Queensland producers are still doing well, yet the overriding unease of COVID-19 is no doubt impacting sentiment,” Mr McIndoe said.

The Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey questions an average of 1000 primary producers across a wide range of commodities and geographical areas throughout Australia on a quarterly basis, providing a comprehensive monitor of outlook and sentiment in Australian rural industries. Regarded as the most robust study of its type in Australia, the Rabobank Rural Confidence Survey has been conducted since 2000 and the next results are scheduled for release in September 2020.



‘Keep fish on the table’ says seafood industry in need of govt support

SEAFOOD Industry Australia (SIA) has called for State and Federal Government assistance to keep the industry afloat.

“We take our responsibility to provide more than one billion meals every year seriously, particularly at times like these, and we need government assistance to keep fish on the table,” SIA CEO Jane Lovell said.

“Since mid-January SIA has been working hard with all levels of government to ensure our industry receives the support it needs.

“We’ve asked all governments across Australia to help us through the next 6-12 months by removing all fees and charges across all of agriculture - not just the seafood industry. We need to secure Australia’s agriculture industry now, so we’re here to continue operating on the other side of this. 

“Globally, some markets are beginning to reopen and we need the certainty of freight to be able to access them. Getting back to work is the best sort of stimulus, it’s good for morale and it shows we understand our role in meeting the global food task,” Ms Lovell said.

“We are working with Seafood Trade Advisory Group (STAG), industry associations, seafood businesses across Australia and the Federal Government on ways to provide some certainty of supply. 

“We are also extending calls for calm among panic buyers. Our fishing vessels need to be restocked so they can go fishing, and this means we need more than two bags of frozen vegetables and two packets of pasta, and they certainly need some toilet paper.

“Some of our larger vessels have arrangements in place, but the rest of the industry shops at their local supermarket, just like you and me,” Ms Lovell said.

“We need to find a way for our bona fide primary producers to access the supplies they need, so our fishers can continue harvesting and growing the food we all need.

"The Australian seafood industry plays a critical role in the global food task, and we want to get back to work.

“We are confident we can continue to work with our governments on the logistics of the various lockdowns, and that the food supply chain will be recognised as an essential service.”


Dairy Code disputes: Farmers get help through the Small and Family Business Ombudsman

THE Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) Kate Carnell said her office was now offering assistance with disputes that fall within the Dairy Code of Conduct.

The mandatory Dairy Code of Conduct took effect from January 1, 2020, giving Australian dairy farmers a framework to negotiate a fair price for their product.

The code applies to all milk supply agreements entered into, or amended, on or after January 1, 2020. 

“The introduction of a Dairy Code and the establishment of a dispute resolution process is a step in the right direction for dairy farmers,” Ms Carnell said.

“My office can provide small and family business owners in the dairy industry with information on the Code, as well as options to resolve disputes and access to mediation and arbitration services.

“The Dairy Code of Conduct provides dairy farmers and other industry participants with avenues for dispute resolution within a fairer framework while also helping them understand their rights and responsibilities," Ms Carnell said.

"In addition to the Dairy Code, my office can provide broader assistance to small and family businesses that also include disputes under the Franchising, Horticulture and Oil Codes of Conduct.”

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