Farm Guide VIC : 2014-15
VictorianFarmersFederation 13 Horticulture Group VFF Horticulture has been strong in advocating for growers across a raft of legislative amendments that had a very real potential to impact the horticulture industry. A new Queensland Fruit Fly management regime in Victoria, implemented on 1 July 2013, has seen VFF Horticulture continue to work with government and industry to ensure market access for the 2013/14 growing season. Workplace Relations reforms now more strongly put the onus on growers to ensure their workers have the correct visa entitlements to work in Australia. Fair Work Australia (FWA) has also been targeting the horticulture industry in Victoria visiting growers to ensure they are complying with pay rates, superannuation, workers compensation and other entitlements. These workplace reforms have led VFF Horticulture to work with the VFF’s Workplace Relations Department to develop an independent Contractors Kit and inform those industries affected of upcoming FWA audits. Livestock Group The last 12 months have seen the Livestock group meet with over 1,500 producers face-to-face on key policy issues such as Animal Welfare legislation, Ovine Johne’s Disease and NLIS for sheep and goats. The group has run a number of highly successful livestock policy dinners, with the first being held in Hamilton in September 2013. The sold out night included presentations on media and social media in agriculture by Kate Dowler from The Weekly Times, and Tom Whitty, VFF Media Manager and AgChatOz co-founder. Since then, a number of policy dinners have been held across the state. A key aspect of these nights has been the interactive Q & A panel session. VFF Livestock Group remains committed to engaging with members and the wider farming community and these sessions provide an opportunity for people to let us know what issues are affecting their business. One of the most exciting developments for the Livestock group has been the inception of the VFF/NAPCO Internship, which is kindly supported by Rabobank. The award provides young Victorian beef producers with a unique opportunity to experience the diversity the Australian beef industry has to offer. The Livestock group also continues to be proactive in providing an extension service to all Victorian beef, sheep and goat producers. Focus has been placed on delivering best practice animal health and biosecurity messages, with an emphasis on endemic diseases that effect on-farm production. The VFF Livestock Project Officers, Jacinta Pretty and Kate Henne have been busy holding workshops for producers across the state. Popular workshops have included a series of Pestivirus workshops, safe vaccination clinics, OJD management forums, cattle health dinners and sheep lice facilitation groups.