Celebrate an Aussie bubbly
A possible Christmas-New Year imported champagne shortage presents sparkling opportunities for shoppers to favour the domestic wine industry's bubbling potential says Australian Grape and Wine.
The peak industry marketing body has urged sparkling wine sippers to explore what Australia can offer given popular imported French labels are running low on supplies.
Well known, and invariably pricey, imports such as Moet, Bollinger, Veuve Clicquot have been hit by supply chain issues and a run of poor production conditions in France, with one of the world's largest producers, Moet Hennessey, conceding it may sell out of champagne stocks by January.
"The Champagne region of France might lay claim to the term "champagne", however, many Australian producers use exactly the same winemaking technique and grape varieties to produce world-beating sparkling wines" said Grape and Wine policy manager, Anna Hooper.
Ms Hooper, also a winemaker and wine show judge, said those who enjoy champagne should explore an Australian sparkling "methode traditionnelle".
"You can often buy a higher quality vintage Australian sparkling for the same price as a non-vintage champagne."
Agtech and canapes
Agribusiness Australia is to run a series of information events looking at the future of agtech in Australia.
The industry association functions will focus on agricultural technology innovation and development, hosted by financial services firm BDO and sponsored by Elders, with international keynote speaker, Shifka Seigel, and panels of agtech specialists.
The programs will include drinks, canapes and a lively discussion on new technologies likely to help advance profitability and shore up sustainability for agriculture in Australia.
BDO and Agribusiness Australia directors in each state will lead the panel discussion and facilitate the question and answer session.
The agtech events begin in Adelaide on February 23, followed by Brisbane, February 27; Sydney, February 28 and Melbourne on March 2.
Cream of the crop
Organisers of the successful debut Cream of the Crop conference for dairy farming women are making the event an annual fixture, planning the next for March 1 and 2, 2023.
The conference is an opportunity for women in the dairy industry to come together to learn, connect and reflect, and open to farmers and service providers of all ages.
Cream of the Crop was the brainchild of South West Victorian dairy farmers Chole Brown, Lucy Collins and Renata Cumming and was attended by about 100 people in February at Port Campbell in Victoria.
The 2023 program of speakers, panels, workshops, and farm and factory tours begins at Koroit Theatre, followed by a networking event in Warrnambool and a half day tour in the surrounding region.
For details, visit www.creamofthecropau.com
Baking recycled grape marc
Australian manufacturer creating high-value ingredients from discarded grape marc has launched its first products in NSW's Hunter Valley.
Extracta utilises agricultural waste like grape marc, sugarcane husk and orange peel to produce its first products utilising grape marc in a consumer range of spice blends and baking mixes.
Chief executive officer, Rod Lewis, said products, sold under Devine Connoisseur brand and sold in the Hunter, were a starting point for Extracta which planned to upcycle many types of agricultural waste.
"The new products makes sense because they contain Hunter grape skins and seeds which would otherwise have ended up in landfil," he said.
Once Extracta is in full-scale production its main focus will be on wholesale products like sugarcane husk and pectin, but as a prelude, the company has put together a consumer range of spice blends and baking mixes.
Hort workers' rights report
Development of a single enforceable standard for accommodation for horticulture workers is among a series of recommendations in an independent report looking at horticultural worker rights and accommodation.
Undertaken by Deloitte and commissioned by Coles and the Retail Supply Chain Alliance, the study recommends more investment and incentives for the development of quality regional worker accommodation.
It suggests clear rules on costs which can be passed onto workers and a reward system to those providing accommodation supporting worker wellbeing.
The report has nine recommendations to improve accommodation standards and identified drivers behind worker vulnerability, including remote work environments, language, education and skill levels, visa conditions and lack of accommodation options.
It is the latest step by Coles and major unions, under the Coles Ethical Retail Supply Chain Accord, to promote the ethical treatment of workers throughout the Australian horticulture supply chain.
United Malt board renewal
Rabobank Australia board member, Christine Felmanis, and North American food ingredients industry executive, Mary Clarke, will join the board of United Malt Group in 2023 following the resignations of Barbara Gibson and Jane MacAloon.
Ms Felmanis, a former NSW Treasury chief financial officer, has served on government, private and public companies for 20 years, and aside from Rabobank, is a director of stockbroker, Bell Financial Group, and litigation financier, Omni Bridgeway.
Ms Clark, based in Delaware, has an extensive background in food beverage and ingredients businesses, including management, sales, marketing strategy and technology management.
Currently the senior vice president of innovation at flavours business, Firmenich, she will be the third US executive on the UMG board when her term starts in March.
She replaces Ms McAloon, who steps down at the annual general meeting after three years, while Ms Gibson retires on December 31 after 11 years with UMG and as a director of its parent company, GrainCorp.
"Both are hard working and dedicated directors who have made an outstanding contribution to United Malt as it established itself three years ago," said chairman, Graham Bradley.
AgriFutures scholars sought
Applications are open until January 13 for the AgriFutures Horizon Scholarship, which gives eligible university students a two-year $10,000 bursary and opportunities to develop leadership skills and expand their networks.
As part of the program, students also attend an annual four-day professional development workshop and complete two weeks of industry work placements a year.
The Horizon Scholarship is a collaboration between many of the Research and Development Corporations, plus the Co-operative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia, FMC Australasia, AgriProve and Kalyx.
The program is open to students studying agriculture-related or science, technology, engineering or mathematics degrees with major studies and/or subject selections aligning to agriculture.
AgriFutures Australia managing director, John Harvey, said attracting people from non-traditional agricultural backgrounds would be crucial to solving the workforce challenges of the future and was excited to see the Horizon Scholarship Program evolve to meet this need.
"We now have scholars studying engineering, law, business and communications, and scholars from the inner city in the same room as students from cattle stations in Central Queensland," he said.
Scholarship winners will be announced in April 2023 after shortlisted applicants are interviewed in February.
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