Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief

ADF News

A quick check on some of the people and organisations making news in agribusiness


Betta quits milk for whisky

Listed dairy, poultry and horticulture business, TasFoods, will pay $115 million to buy the Betta Milk Co-Operative Society brands and business at Burnie.

The co-op is selling its milk business to focus on Tasmanian whisky venture, Hellyer's Road Distillery, using sale returns to service emerging demand from Europe, Asia and the US.

Established in 1956, Betta Milk recently upgraded its export-accredited processing facility in Burnie and distribution centres in Launceston and Hobart.

The Betta Milk brand joins TasFoods' existing dairy names, Pyengana Dairy, Meander Valley Dairy and Robur Farm.

TasFoods' executive chairman, Shane Noble, said acquiring a well-known Tasmanian business which was "highly complementary to our existing dairy brands" would help the company's name grow across Australia and overseas.

"We believe there are also opportunities in mainland and Asian markets to leverage our recently registered Van Diemen's Land Dairy brand," he said.

Betta Milk chairman, Neville Latimer said a compelling reason for agreeing to divest its dairy interests was the fact the company would join another well regarded Tasmanian business which would continue operating the Burnie plant.

The deal is due to finalise by July.

MLA directors sought

Meat and Livestock Australia has called for applications before the end of the month to fill three non-executive director positions on its board for the next three years.

Three directors' are elected annually to the nine seat board, having been nominated by a selection committee for final approval by members at MLA's November annual general meeting, this year being held in Tamworth.

Retiring directors can nominate for re-election to the board which provides strategic guidance and oversight of MLA's management and performance, including ensuring producer levies, government funding and partner funds are invested effectively.

Candidates must have extensive skills and experience in at least one agri-food ecosystem and industry connections; technology, innovation, logistics, data and integrity systems knowledge, or broad production experience with a multi-faceted enterprise and a track record in strategic thinking and precision agriculture.

For more details call (03) 9631 1500 or visit


Barber joins Elders

Agribusiness professional, Mark Barber, has joined Elders real estate team as its northern zone manager, having recently moved from his role as investment director at rural property investment group, Laguna Bay Pastoral.

Laguna Bay is one of Australia's largest agricultural fund and asset managers.

Mark Barber

Mark Barber

He was previously with the Qatari-owned Hassad Food Group, consultancy group, ACIL Tasman, and an agribusiness investment strategy team for a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund.

He is also a board director of several industry and government bodies.

Elders real estate general manager, Tom Russo, said Mr Barber's appointment aligned perfectly with the company's strategy to employ rural farmland specialists with expert local knowledge and capital city executives with deep insights in agribusiness and extensive links to capital pools available to invest in agriculture.

"Mark is a seasoned agribusiness executive who has skills and experience in corporate finance, agribusiness economics and productivity, and agribusiness marketing," he said.


SunRice directorships open

Nominations are open for four grower directors' positions on the SunRice board to fill spots vacated by current directors whose terms expire in August - Laurie Arthur, Glen Andreazza, Mark Robertson and Leigh Vial.

The new four-year terms for grower directors start after the August annual general meeting.

To be eligible for election candidates must hold an A-Class share in SunRice, or be a representative of an A-Class shareholder company.

Shareholders considering nomination are urged to lodge their interest in attending an information and corporate governance session about the company, likely to be in June.

Other information is available


Sultana export push

Australia's dried grape industry has launched a new brand, Australian Sultanas, as part of its strategy to grow product awareness and increase export sales.

A collaboration between Dried Fruits Australia, Sunbeam Foods and Australian Premium Dried Fruits (APDF), the brand will be used to promote the nutritional benefits, taste and quality of Australian dried grapes.

More than 5000 tonnes of dried grapes were exported in 2018, but DFA chairman, Mark King, believed the new collaborative marketing strategy could lift volumes to 10,000 tonnes within five years.

The new brand was launched last month at a three-day international trade fair in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City and was also promoted this week at Asia's largest food innovation exhibition, SIAL Shanghai.

It is the first time the industry has collaborated to promote Australian sultanas, currants, raisins and Sunmuscat to export markets.


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