2017 VFF Grains Conference

The VFF Grains Group kicked off 2017 with the 38th Annual VFF Grains Conference. Held at the Horsham Town Hall, the conference attracted a large group of members and industry representatives.

The theme for this year’s conference was ‘Managing Farm Finance and Risk’. Key-note speaker John Fraser, Secretary to the Australian Treasury, opened the panel sessions with a thought-provoking discussion on the risks facing the grain industry at a national and international level. The theme of risk and farm profitability was further explored by a selection of industry representative discussing a diverse range of topics including harvest challenges, financial risk mitigation via new block chain technology and effective fumigation strategies.

The conference is an important time for members to vote on issues that will form the basis of the Grain Council’s policies for the coming year. In response to resolutions passed by the member base, the conference called upon:

  • VicRoads to work in conjunction with VFF to conduct truck roadworthy awareness sessions at major grain delivery towns prior to harvest commencing
  • VicRoads to enable defect notices to be lifted through local institutions other than VicRoads offices on a permanent basis
  • The VFF Grains Group to pursue a standard time limit for testing and assessment of grain samples at all BHC receival sites
  • Industry to establish an objective means of managing non-standard grades during harvest
  • The State Government to advise of the Murray Basin Rail Project timeline and to ensure that the project will meet necessary industry needs, namely the standard gauge track, maximum freight axle load capacity and hot climate operation capacities
  • V/Line to re-assess rail operation bans in above 33 degree weather
  • The Minister for Roads and Ports to develop and announce a road expenditure plan specifically targeting investment in rural grain supply chain pathways to improve efficiencies and Victoria’s overall export competitiveness. VFF Grains members further called for the Minister of Roads and Ports to investigate investment opportunities to upgrade the facilities and subsequent efficiencies of Victorian grain export ports; Geelong, Portland and Melbourne.

The efforts of our members were also celebrated with VFF Life Memberships awarded to both Robert (Bob) Watters and Ian Hastings for their tireless commitment and extensive contributions to the VFF.

Thank you to the many people who joined us for the 2017 VFF Grains Conference this year, and to our sponsors for their continued support of the event.