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Get the insights … in here

All the Powerpoint and PDF presentations from our 2016 annual conference, held on July 28 at Lardner Park are HERE

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The pasture master shares his ideas

Clever west Victorian farmer Mark Billing offered his insights into the new technology driving dairy at our annual conference on July 28 at Lardner Park. https://www.dropbox.com/s/02h7h3v56yo3830/new%20tech%20driving%20dairy_mark%20billing.pptx?dl=0

Mark Billing

No grunt in your grass?

Dr Maria Rose offers some insights … “Despite most regions in Victoria experiencing 2015-16 summer conditions considered to be on the drier side overall, according to the officially recorded deciles, rainfall was generally around average. One explanation for this paradox is that over this past summer, most dairy regions did get a kick in growth at some stage. However soil moisture deficits were very high, plus little rainfall occurred in early summer and the rainfall received was still much less than plant requirements for optimum growth. Additionally a generally dry February, meant there was much less pasture around in most areas of Victoria at the end of summer. As the dry continues in earnest through most of the state, an early substantial autumn break is what is highly hoped for and greatly needed!  Read more here … “Milking_the_Weather_Vol_7_Issue_1_Autumn_2016

So long, Max Jelbart

Max Jelbart was a great friend of Agribusiness Gippsland and – like all of Gippsland and the wider dairy family – we mourn his passing yesterday.

As insight to the man, here’s an interview Sue Webster did with him last January, when he received an OAM in the Australia Day honours…

Max Jelbart has been many things: a dairy farmer, a beef farmer, real estate salesman, Nuffield scholar, a male model including roles as a German soldier and an Apache Indian, an MG director and now, an OAM.

Newly honoured in the Australia Day Awards, the Leongatha South MG supplier has packed a lot into his 66 years – including a stint as a minor TV star.

Needing extra money, young Max became an extra in The Sullivans (playing a German soldier for three or four episodes), as well as an Indian in an ad for Picnic bars (“How?”) and some other advertising gigs.

One of his hardest jobs in those lean days was a convention waiter at the former Southern Cross Hotel, working 94 hours in one week.

His penury stemmed from a bad season raising steers. It was 1973 and the Walkerville beef farmer’s son borrowed to buy the animals for $190/head, pay the rent and buy the fertiliser. He fattened them for sale but the EU 1 million-tonne frozen beef mountain knocked the stuffing out of the marketplace. He fattened the steers and sold them at $70/head.

“I worked three jobs in Melbourne for 12 months. And then I ended up in real estate in Surrey Hills for four years,” he recalled. After marrying Barbe, he moved into rural sales for Gippsland & Northern and ended up owning 80 cows through a sharefarming deal, after firing up an old dairy on the farm. Max and Barbe purchased the farm in 1981.

These days he owns two farms: the Leongatha home farm that he initially leased in 1973, and a Caldermeade tourist farm, which includes a café and tourist viewing platform. That operation hosts an average 4000 people a month. He employs 35 to 40 people between the café and the farms, milking 1350 cows across 1093ha.

Grandson of the inventor of the Jelbart tractor (“Very efficient but far too complicated for most farmers”) Max inherited the family engineering gene. His farms bear testimony to his pursuit of engineering efficiencies in water, power and labour use.

These days he is busy hammering out a farm succession plan with three sons, Tim, Will and George – all currently working in ag-related jobs.  His wife Barbe died in 2014.

It was Barbe who urged Max to buy the Caldermeade tourist dairy farm. “She saw the opportunity to own land close to Melbourne. And I thought it would be a great way to educate the public about farming,” said Max.

Always a strong advocate for ag-education, Max has been a director at Marcus Oldham College since 1997 and is a life member of the Nuffield Farming Scholars Australia. A 1991 Nuffield scholar, he described the experience of overseas study as “a life changing experience”.

Back home, he served   as a Nuffield   board member from 2000 to 2008 and on its management council before that. He has also been a voluntary director for Ellinbank Research Farm. His other major contributions to the dairy industry were his five years on the ADF board and seven years as a UDV state board member, as well as a period as president of the South Gippsland UDV branch.  He has been a director of Devondale Murray Goulburn since 2012; and a member of the board’s compliance and supplier relations committees.

Membership on so many boards has taught Max a few things – including the value of actions over words. “My attitude is ‘get the bloody thing resolved and the decision made’. I’ve never had an ego. I just want to get the job done,” he said.

 

2016/17 State Budget analysis … what’s in it for greater Gippsland?

Hazelwood Mine fire recovery projects and water infrastructure upgrades in the Macalister and in south Gippsland are the biggest-ticket items in this afternoon’s State budget.

WATER

    • Modernising water distribution infrastructure in the Macalister Irrigation District is priced at $32m; $25.5m to be spent by the end of this financial year and the entire project to be completed by the fourth quarter of 2016/17.
    • The water supplies to the northern towns of South Gippsland (Nyora, Loch, Korumburra and Poowong) will be upgraded with a $30m allocation, with the work completing in fourth quarter of 2018/19.
    • More generally – statewide there will be:
    • $12.8m to improve surface and groundwater monitoring, update modelling of the State’s major water supply systems and improve community access to water information
    • $5.8m towards enhancing the efficiency of the water grid, for more productive regional industries
    • $4.7m to develop a statewide approach to incorporate Aboriginal values and expertise into water management
    • $4.3m to improve Victoria’s preparedness and response to climate change and the impact of drought
    • LATROBE VALLEY FIRE
    • There is $12.4m to assist with the transition from brown coal to renewable technology for the Latrobe Valley, while, more broadly, the Budget provides $40m to diversify the local economy in the Latrobe Valley, bringing in new industries and businesses, including a new Morwell Hi-Tech precinct.
    • A further $51.2m is allocated to implement the findings of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry. This funding includes $13.8m to help with the transition of the land use of the Hazelwood, Yallourn and Loy Yang mine sites.
    • Post-fire reparation will include $3.8m to make four temporary air-quality monitoring stations in the Latrobe Valley permanent and also support a program allowing residents to assess smoke danger via their smart phones. A model for predicting the impact of bushfire, flood, bushfire smoke and toxic atmospheric release will be developed with $1.7m of funding.
    • TRANSPORT
    • Train travellers will cheer to hear of $2.6m to plan for additional track capacity on the Gippsland line, including enhancements between Moe and Bairnsdale and the duplication of the Bunyip River Bridge.
    • A total $9m has been allocated for station upgrades on the Gippsland corridor, including works to fix problems with bus interchanges and car parking
    • There will be a share of $51.6m to construct overtaking lanes on the Princes Highway between Orbost and the NSW border, and another share of $13 m for the continuation of pre-construction works on the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale.
    • TOURISM
    • The first project of the Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund will be a new $58.2m Penguin Parade Visitor Centre, to be built at the Phillip Island Nature Parks. This investment includes a $10m contribution from the Phillip Island Nature Parks.
    • AGRICULTURE
    • $20.6m to maintain Victoria’s biosecurity services, including measures to better respond to serious livestock disease risks
    • $7.7m to modernise the regulation of Victoria’s earth resources
    • $6.2m to continue the Fox and Wild Dog Management program
    • $5.1m to continue rural financial counselling services
    • $5m to guarantee Victoria’s food export future, upgrading equipment and technology to improve detection, diagnosis and analysis of biosecurity hazards
    • ENVIRONMENT
    • Omeo Landcare is among 10 groups sharing in $18m of support
    • $15m is for the replacement of critical coastal protection assets
    • ENTERPRISE
    • $111m for future industries and sector-strategic projects aligned with the Future Industries Sector Strategies notably food and fibre and new energy technologies
    • $116m for the Investment Attraction and Assistance Program supporting the growth of future industries, encouraging businesses to invest in disadvantaged areas and providing support for marketing Victoria industries
    • $11m to improve mobile coverage in regional Victoria by removing black spots in fire and flood prone areas
    • $4.2m for small business, including help for Victorian farmers to undertake financial mediation with creditors
    • $4m to help Victorian businesses build their capabilities and make connection with Asian markets. $2.2m allocated to assist regional councils to undertake important planning work and streamline planning processes.

 

March 12 … Gippsland’s naming day

That’s the day in 1840 when explorer  Count Paul Strzelecki scaled Mt Kosciusko and first recorded the name Gippsland to describe the heavily wooded country and to honour the NSW Governor George Gipps, We believe Gippsland is one of the few Victorian – or even Australian – regions with a definable naming day.

And, to mark the event – below are the words to the Gippsland March. We transcribed them from an old piano roll we found in a farmhouse at Lindenow, in east Gippsland in 2013.

Your choice of accompaniment can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPGxK9AfhWI (a barrel-organ version) or sing along with the pianola roll at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNJCA5PHKfk  or a full brass band at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGpPplHUAg4

piano roll

Gippsland March   

Where the mighty mountains

Lift their crags to the sky,

Where the stream goes laughing by-y-y

Where the woodman plies

His axe with true might, his swing

Through the forest echoes ring.

 

Where the kookaburra laughs

And greets you with glee

There, I long to be.

My heart enthralled

With those sweet days recalled.

In dear old Gippsland

Home of mine!

 

Each memory fills

My soul with sweet pain,

And calls to me

Seems to beckon again.

For upon this wide, wide earth

There is no other spot can take the pride

I hold for my land of birth.

Always haunting, calling me.

Oh, how I love that dear old Gippsland, home of mine.

 

Each memory fills

My soul with sweet pain,

And calls to me

Seems to beckon again.

For upon this wide, wide earth

There is no other spot can take the pride

I hold for my land of birth.

Always haunting, calling me.

Oh, how I love that dear old Gippsland, home of mine.

 

Where the mighty mountains

Lift their crags to the sky

Where the stream goes laughing by-y-y

Where the woodman plies

His axe with true might, his swing

Through the forest echoes ring

 

Where the kookaburra laughs

And greets you with glee

There I long to be.

My heart enthralled

With those sweet days recalled

In dear old Gippsland

Home of mine!

 

Oh – Gippsland mine

You are a place to me divine.

With treasures rare

Of Nature’s gifts beyond compare.

Oh – Gippsland mine

My heart cannot resist your call.

Soon I’ll be heading to you

My Gippsland, sweet home of mine.

 

Oh – Gippsland mine

You are a place to me divine.

With treasures rare

Of Nature’s gifts beyond compare.

Oh – Gippsland mine

My heart cannot resist your call.

Soon I’ll be heading to you

My Gippsland, sweet home of mine.

 

 

Charting an agribusiness agenda: Agribusiness Gippsland and KPMG

More than 60 guests attended the Agribusiness Gippsland Inc (AGI) and KPMG Agribusiness Insights Forum in Melbourne on February 16.

See the Powerpoint presentations here Agribusiness Insights Forum – Presentation

AGI chair Paul Ford said: “Regional partnerships presents us with a way of mobilising a whole-of-Government response to emerging issues unique to Gippsland. An ‘agribusiness agenda’ would integrate the voice of the regional agribusiness value chain that derives $7bn per annum in economic value for Victoria.”

Ben van Delden, KPMG’s Head of Markets said: “KPMG and Agribusiness Gippsland are committed to turn this vision to action in the form of initiatives that will grow the sector, grow jobs and grow prosperity across Gippsland. We believe the deeply embedded networks Agribusiness Gippsland has in the sector and the mix of high-end consulting skills from KPMG is a partnership that can make a difference.”

Invitees came from across Victoria for the event, held at KPMG’s Collins St HQ. Among those addressing the day were James Flintoft, CEO, Regional Development Victoria and Ian Proudfoot, KPMG’s Global Agribusiness Leader, who flew in from NZ for the event.

The afternoon’s ‘Food for thought’ panel (pictured)  included Dr Chris Downs, Research Director, Food Innovation CSIRO; Dr Christine Pitt, General Manager Value Chain Innovation, Meat and Livestock Australia; Peter Liddell, KPMG ASPAC Supply Chain & Operations Leader and Piers Hogarth-Scott, KPMG Director Digital Consultingled by Tim Ada, Executive Director – Sector Development, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, as facilitator.

AGI worked with KPMG’s corporate caterers to deliver Gippsland-sourced refreshments. We also presented each of the speakers with a ‘Taste of Gippsland’ hamper.

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