Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness
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A quick check on what some of the players are doing and talking about around the agribusiness traps

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Vitalharvest a 'fair deal'

An independent expert assessment of Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets' $300 million bid for horticultural landholder, Vitalharvest Freehold Trust, has called the offer fair and reasonable and in the best interests of unitholders.

Primewest Management, which only last year lifted its stake in Vitalharvest to almost 20pc, has confirmed it will back the Macquarie scheme, which involves a $1 cash payment for each Vitalharvest trust unit and an interim dividend distribution of 2.5 cents a unit.

The Vitalharvest trust group owns four berry farms and three citrus properties in NSW, South Australia and Tasmania which are leased to the big producer and marketer Costa Group.

Macquarie, which has had farming assets for more than a decade in Australia and Brazil, welcomed the independent expert's conclusions.

"The all cash consideration and an interim distribution represent a very significant premium to where the units were trading prior to the transaction announcement," said MIRA's agriculture head, Liz O'Leary.

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Free Outlook 2021 online 

Less than two weeks remain for participants to register for agriculture's big commodities and issues conference ABARES Outlook 2021, which is free this year.

The latest in economic and agricultural analysis and research will be broadcast via video link over four days (instead of the usual two) from March 2.

The theme "Growing Australian agriculture in an uncertain world" will tap the insights and views of Australian and international experts on topics ranging from global and national economies to trade and de-globalisation, adapting to climate change, forestry, and key farm commodities.

Attendees can join three sessions each day from the comfort of their own desk chair (or deck chair) and participate in audience questions and answer sessions and networking.

  • Registration is via the ABARES website, awe.gov.au/abares/outlook

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NFF conference grants

Registrations have opened for the National Farmers' Federation's 2021 national conference in Canberra in late September.

The NFF's Sustaining the Nation event will explore agriculture's role in sustaining Australia's communities, economy and natural environment in line with the peak industry body's 2030 Roadmap's ambitious targets for agriculture's sustainability and economic development.

Attendees will hear from respected leaders in politics, science, disaster recovery, agriculture, technology, health and more.

The conference is listed on Austrade's schedule of approved business events, enabling eligible businesses to apply for grants to cover up to half their participation costs.

Grant applications close on March 30, or earlier if funding is exhausted.

Backed by platinum sponsor Nutrien Ag Solutions, the September 28 and 29 event is being billed as an unmatched opportunity for farm sector players and representatives from other industries to make important connections and rekindle old ones at the National Convention Centre.

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Myriota-Goanna Ag launch

On-farm moisture sensor business Goanna Ag has teamed up with satellite connectivity developer Myriota to launch two products promising to change how farmers manage water resources.

The GoRain and GoTank monitors will enable farmers to monitor rain data remotely, gain a better understanding of precipitation variability, and provide remote water tank level updated without needing to do manual checks.

The new products are underpinned by Myriota's low cost, long battery life and connectivity features, and are promising a new era affordable digital innovation in water management, according to the partners.

GoRain and GoTank devices use Myriota's network of nanosatellites connected to internet devices.

Farmers will be able to access data from their rain gauges and tank monitors anywhere in the world, via Goanna Ag's Goanna Telemetry App (Google Play) and GoApp (App Store) - the first of their kind.

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'Bee aware' says Capilano

Australia's biggest honey brand Capilano, now part of Hive+Wellness Australia, is hoping to engage next generation consumers and nature lovers with a newly-released educational ebook on bees and pollination.

The ebook is part of a range of educational materials Capilano has produced to build understanding of the contribution of beekeepers and bees to food diversity and a healthy natural environment.

Hive+Wellness chief operating officer, Ben McKee said raising awareness of the importance of bees across a range of areas, including fresh food production and bushfire recovery through pollination of recovering flora, was a key focus of the business this year.

"We particularly want to engage with younger Australians and bring to life the positive impact of bees on the greater natural environment," he said.

"They may be the country's littlest livestock, but there is nothing little about their contribution."

Capilano Honey was urging children to care for bees by creating a bee bath at home, reducing pesticide use and establishing a bee-friendly garden.

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Nutrien IT graduate push

Nutrien Ag Solutions has added two Victorian information technology university leavers to its graduate program as part of a focus on changing skill sets required in agriculture.

The IT appointments complement 11 recruits to its 2021 agronomy graduates program who will be based across rural Australia.

Managing director Rob Clayton said Nutrien recognised the rapid adoption of technology and modern IT systems was now a standard part of farm sector success and it was recruiting a new generation of IT experts to support the industry's transformation.

Denice Dao recently completed a Bachelor of Cybersecurity at La Trobe University and Sheldon Thayil studied Business Information Systems at RMIT University.

Their two-year graduate program will involve experience in aspects of the business ranging from research and development, to project management, technical support, coding and cyber security.

"Our IT grads join a team of passionate experts developing the digital tools to add value to farming operations through better and more transparent data, and streamlined and more convenient systems," Mr Clayton said.

Nutrien Ag Solutions IT head Lloyd Dias said typically agriculture was not a go-to career for information and technology degree graduates.

"To become the retailer of the future we need to invest in the bright minds of the future."

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Beston's nutritional boss

Beston Global Food Company has created a new position of general manager for nutritionals as part of the company's expanding investment in its dairy lactoferrin plant at Jervois in South Australia.

Katarina (Tina) Li will be responsible for developing and executing Beston's nutritional investment strategies, major account and sales development for nutritionals, proteins and cheese, and sports nutrition, and new product launches in high value export markets.

Ms Li's background in the dairy industry in Australia and New Zealand has included roles involving high value nutritional products with Synlait, Fonterra, Murray Goulburn, Nuchev.

She has commerce, statistics and business administration qualifications from universities in NZ and Australia.

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