Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness
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A quick check around the traps to catch up with some of the latest happenings in agribusiness.

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Regional jobs galore

Latest job vacancy figures show more than 54,000 jobs in regional Australia were advertised online in October - a new record.

The vacancy rate was up seven per cent from a record-breaking 50,000 in September, with NSW leading the charge, according to the Regional Australia Institute.

Regions are bouncing back from the coronavirus recession much faster than the cities, recording a 13pc year on year rise in job vacancies, while capital city job offers fell 21pc over the same period.

The five regions with the the biggest increases in vacancies in the past year were Dubbo and Western NSW with 1470 more positions open, or 92pc up on October 2019; NSW Southern Highlands and Snowy Mountains, up 56pc with 880 vacancies; South West Western Australia up 52pc with 1090; Tamworth and North West NSW up 45pc and 830 jobs, and NSW North Coast up 45pc and 3230 job openings.

Regions still lagging the levels of 12 months ago were southern Victoria, Far North Queensland, Outback Queensland and south east Tasmania.

New dairy directors 

Tania Luckin and Roseanne Healy have been re-elected respectively as a milk producer and agribusiness directors on the Dairy Australia board.

New director Paul Roderick also fills a producer director's seat after this week's annual general meeting.

The three beat Carlie Barry, Phil Ryan and David Beca who stood as fresh candidates following the retirement of Graeme Nicoll whose ties with Dairy Australia and GippsDairy date back many years.

Chairman James Mann, who retains the chairman's job, said it was an exciting time for the dairy industry, with conditions improving in most production regions and the sector committed to delivering on the Australian Dairy Plan released in September.

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Cann Group plans revived

Listed medicinal cannabis company Cann Group has confirmed credit approval from National Australia Bank for a $50 million secured debt facility to help it complete the first stage of a state-of-the-art production site near Mildura on the Victorian NSW border.

The bank funding clears a path to recommence construction of the $112m project in February, with the first medicinal cannabis products expected to be processed and released by March 2022.

A $1.95m Victorian Government development grant will contribute to the project and help establish Cann as a major local employer, with 130 new jobs created once the facility is commissioned.

Cann Group chief executive officer Peter Crock said specialist overseas contractors would arrive in Australia in the new year as part of the workforce remobilisation.

The facility's world-leading technology would provide Cann with a globally competitive unit price based on substantial economies of scale.

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ADM flies into insect feeds

US agribusiness behemoth Archer Daniels Midland has teamed up with a French company to make livestock feed from maggots.

The insect protein project will be operated by InnovaFeed at ADM's Decatur corn processing complex in Illinois

InnovaFeed, which produces insect-based oils and feeds for livestock and fish will breed black soldier flies as the protein source.

ADM senior vice president Chris Cuddy said insect farming stood out as a true solution to meet the demand for animal protein.

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Freedom appointment

Freedom Foods Groups' leadership team continues to be rebuilt under the direction of interim chief executive and dairy farmer Michael Perich who has appointed Super Retail Group's Justin Cross as company secretary and group general counsel.

Mr Cross, the chairman of the board of the Association of General Counsel, has a track record in the legal profession and in executive positions in the insurance and retail sectors, previously working for financial services group AUB and big legal firms Minter Ellison and Allens.

Scott Standen from Brisbane based law firm GRT will continue providing company secretary services to Freedom's dairy and cereal products business until December.

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A2 loses key director

The A2 Milk Company's China-based director Jesse Wu is to leave the board in December, but will remain a special advisor to chairman David Hearn.

Mr Wu, who is a former worldwide chairman of the Johnson and Johnson consumer group business and a high profile Shanghai business leader, has been an A2 Milk director for three years and helped the company's rapid growth in the Chinese market.

Mr Hearn said although Mr Hu had been an outstanding director making a significant contribution to the trans-Tasman dairy processor he had increasing business and personal demands which prompted his decision to retire.

A replacement to fill the board vacancy was expected to in early 2021.

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STEM student bursaries

Applications for AgriFutures' Horizon Scholarship Program for 2020 have opened to students entering their final two years of an undergraduate degree.

The scholarship is a collaboration between many of the research and development corporations to give eligible university students with a $10,000 bursary, plus opportunities to develop their leadership skills and expand their contact networks.

Students also attend an annual four-day professional development workshop and complete two weeks of industry work placements.

The scholarship program is open to students studying agriculture-related or STEM degrees with major studies and/or subject selections that align to agriculture.

AgriFutures Australia managing director John Harvey said collaboration across a broad range of disciplines was crucial to the growth of our rural industries

Scholarships will be allocated based on recipient's commitment to an agricultural career, as well as their leadership potential and tertiary academic record.

Applications close on January 15.

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