what we do

The VFF Grains Group provides a unified voice for Victorian grain growers. Together we can achieve better outcomes for farming businesses.

We work on the issues that matter to you and that affect your bottom line:

Supply Chain Costs – Infrastructure; investment; efficiency & competitiveness

Rail:
The VFF Grains Group has been lobbying for improvements to Victoria’s rail networks.

An efficient rail system is vital for lowering supply chain freight costs.

We have successfully lobbied for the implementation of the Murray Basin Rail Project, a $440 million project which will deliver important upgrades to Victoria’s rail freight network by standardising the rail freight lines servicing north-west Victoria and increasing axle loading from 19 to 21 tonnes.

We continue to work with the State Government, Vline and other stakeholders to ensure that the rail movement and capacity are improved.

Roads:
The VFF Grains Group are campaigning for better country roads and to ensure farmer-friendly road and transport regulations.

We have been strongly advocating for the improvement of country roads, which pose a risk to both public safety and productivity. 

We are also fighting to ensure that additional unnecessary costs and compliance burden are not placed on farmers from road and transport regulations, and as such have lobbied for a new Oversize Agricultural Machinery Gazette/notice with updated size and mass limits to hopefully allow for larger equipment where feasible. We hope to see a new Oversize Ag Machinery notice delivered by VicRoads and NHVR before the end of 2017.

Similarly, we are working to protect primary producer registrations as they come under review. 

Ports: 
Since deregulation, the VFF Grains Group has been campaigning to ensure competitive ports, storage and handling. Competition between exporters is essential in ensuring fees passed on to growers are kept down.

Working with GPA and the other SFOs, we have successfully lobbied for the implementation of the ‘Mandatory Code of Conduct’ so that all exporters have access to port infrastructure. 

Similarly, the VFF Grains Group were active in ensuring that there were no negative impacts on supply chain costs to farmers in the sale of the Port of Melbourne leasehold.

We successfully lobbied for the sale to be conditional on the creation of the Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund from 10% of the proceeds of the port’s sale.

Prices / Returns - Increasing Grower Payment Security

Addressing payment risk within the grains industry
The VFF Grains Group continues to advocate for increased transparency and accountability within the grains industry. Recent grain trader insolvencies have left many grain producers owed millions. We are fighting to ensure grain traders are held more accountable, as well as ensuring that there are better protections in place for growers.  We have led the charge for decreased payment terms for growers to ensure you get paid quicker for your grains.  As a result of our lobbying, standard payment terms have dropped from 30+ days to less than a week (and in some cases 2 days). 

Trade issues:
The VFF works with Grain Trade Australia to ensure growers’ rights are protected whether it be receival standards at delivery or during contract terms and conditions. 

During the 2016/17 harvest, there was considerable uncertainty surrounding the receival and classification of barley subject to discolouration (bin burn). This negatively impacted delivery against contracts and the price growers received. We are pushing for agreed grade specifications and segregations to be established prior to harvest to ensure a more transparent trade environment for farmers. Similarly, we have fought to protect the GTA ‘Buyers call’ default period, to ensure undue risk is not placed upon grain producers when signing grain contracts. 

Agricultural Inputs

Chemicals:
The VFF Grains Group are working to ensure an effective chemical regulatory framework for grain growers. Ensuring a timely and cost effective approval process for new and overseas products is a particular priority. Additionally we are working with industry to improve grower education, training, systems, and practices. This will enable the industry to demonstrate to the APVMA and broader community appropriate practices and risk management protocols that demonstrate that farmers are good custodians of their land and have more invested than anyone in ensuring safe, responsible, and sustainable food production practices.

Fire Risk Management

Managing potential header fire risks:
The VFF has worked with the CFA to develop the Voluntary Grain Harvesting Guide to minimise fire risks whilst harvesting. The guide uses temperature and relative humidity to determine the wind speed at which it is recommended that harvesting operations should stop.  Contact us for a copy today.