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TAS Country : April 7th 2011
10 Tasmanian Country Friday, April 8, 2011 News Counselling team fights for survival From Page 3 ''I really can't under- stand where the Govern- ment is coming from on this,'' he said. In many regions, while it has now rained and com- modity prices have im- proved, Mr Williams said producers were still feeling the impact of the drought. ''The grass may be green but it's going to take people at least four or five years to work their way out of this,'' he said. ''It doesn't just go away afterafewgoodrains. . . if anything the service is more important now than it was right in the middle of the drought.'' Across the country the RFCS deals with about 10,000 clients annually. In Tasmanian about 10 per cent of the state's farm- ing businesses use the RFCS each year. Mr Williams said as well as financial counselling in times of crisis, the service also provided advice on other important issues such as succession plan- ning, business restructur- ing and applying for government assistance programs. In Tasmanian there are four counsellors employed across the state. The State Government has provided funding to pay for the service's core operating costs and also to employ a counsellor on the North-West coast in the wake of the McCain's veg- etable factory closure. Mr Williams said he ho- ped the Federal Govern- ment would allocate suf- ficient funding to keep the service operating in the long term. An announcement about funding for the RFCS is not expected until the Federal Government's budget is re- leased on May 10. Get bigger or find a niche From Page 9 Clusters of small grower supply groups may also be able to get the benefits of value-adding/quality grad- ing and larger volume in buyer prices. It is easy for farmers to consider investment in marketing as a lower pri- ority than spending on the farm. It is only after doing solid consumer research and analysing feedback from consumers that growers can confidently invest in the advertising of their product and be able to gauge whether creative approaches to advertising will deliverresults. The Tasmanian brand image may lack the clarity and consistency to con- tinually reinforce the key marketing messages that will encourage consumers to choose Tasmanian prod- uct over those of other regions. With so much of the product focus on the Aust- ralian mainland, changes to the major identifier, the logo, may not have en- hanced consumer recog- nition. It would be in- formative to see results of market research on con- sumer perceptions of the new Tasmanian branding compared with the long- standing state-map logo. The way ahead: Re-establish discussion groups with an emphasis on gathering data on grower costs of production. Explore lower input costs, such as collective buying arrangements of fertiliser, fuel, etc. Do energy audits at indi- vidual enterprise level. Communicate with far- mers on their role in mar- ket development and branding. Understand and con- sider ways to address the effect of farm size on costs and returns. Growers, aggregators and processors co-operate to establish a commodity profile. Assess changes to the Brand Tasmania logo. Wine boss warns of grape glut AT least 300,000 tonnes of wine grapes must be slashed from the nation's harvest if the industry is to address the oversupply issue, a wine company execu- tive says. That's almost 92 per cent of the entire crush in the Murray Valley and Swan Hill regions from last year's vintage. The warning came from Treasury Wine Estates national grower relations manager Ham- ish Franks, who was speaking last week at a conference of Landmark agronomists at Mildura. Mr Franks repeatedly used the phrase ''a world of pain'' when discussing the parlous state of the industry. His comments provoked an angry response from Murray Valley Winegrowers. But Treasury Wine Estates general manager Peter Taylor told ABC radio it was too early to estimate the national crush, its effect on the wine surplus or what prices would be paid. Mr Taylor said his comments provided a ''national view''. The Weekly Times Plantations revert to farmland THE final nail is being driven into the managed investment scheme coffin as almost 6000ha of trees are ripped out to create farmland. Some of the directors of the company now returning blue gum land to agriculture -- with the intention of selling it at a profit -- had previously spruiked MIS benefits. Nationals Senate leader Barnaby Joyce called the exer- cise ''the agricultural form of digging holes to fill it back up again''. ''I've always believed that unless we're about to evolve into a higher form of termite, these forests are not much use to us,'' Senator Joyce said. Australian Agribusiness Group company Demeter Farm- ing Australia bought 6000ha of western Victorian land from the fire-sale of failed MIS giant Environinvest last year. Demeter aims to harvest only one-fifth of the estate. The rest of the trees will be mulched. It is the first large-scale reversion of blue gums to farmland in Victoria. The Weekly Times
March 31st 2011
April 14th 2011