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The River News, Wednesday, February 25, 2015 - 5
In recent years most grower meetings have
been organised as breakfast meetings in the
hotels of the main towns.
These have worked well, normally attracting
30 to 40 growers and a few wine makers at most
In a bid to talk with even more members, the
Viti Tech Group (RVTG) has proposed that the
next round of meetings revert to the tried and
true format of ‘shed meetings’.
The RVTG is hopeful that this change
of format will enable the Viti Tech group to
incorporate parts of the regional extension
program with industry information and, very
importantly, some socialising.
The first round of meetings will be organised
during the week beginning April 20, starting at
Waikerie then Barmera, Berri, Renmark and
Loxton on Friday, April 24.
This timeframe will coincide with the first
six-monthly report back of progress against the
Meetings will begin at 3pm with an hour or
two focus on the extension program of the Viti
Tech Group, followed by a progress report against
the Plan and then a barbecue and quite possibly
some sampling of Riverland wines (in moderation
Over the coming weeks, sheds will be
selected. Riverland Wine will provide the
barbecue, food and refreshments.
If your shed is suitable and if you are willing
to host such an event, let us know; or maybe
nominate a neighbour.
Agendas and details will be circulated in
coming weeks but mark the week of April 20 in
Investing in fine wine?
It was mentioned in last week’s column that
there is feedback requested in regard to the
Australian Grape and Wine Authority (AGWA)
Riverland Wine is doing that on your behalf,
and it came to notice that a central plank of
the approach is to spend marketing efforts on
boosting the demand of ‘fine wine’.
The term fine wine is difficult to nail down,
and it is likely that if you ask 10 wine drinkers
what it means, you will probably get 11 opinions.
The initial reaction, as a region that deals
primarily in high value wines, is, ‘Where is the
value in this strategy for us?’.
The answer lies in part in the realisation
that AGWA, which thankfully markets under the
banner of ‘Wine Australia’, is a generic marketing
body. It has no wine to sell, but instead is trying
to promote Australian wine as a generic product.
There is also a limited budget, which is a
pittance in comparison with the marketing spend
of some individual companies, let alone that of
other wine marketing nations.
Therefore the national marketing body has to
do the most to wring out every bit of value for the
levy payers’ dollar.
The marketing experts are convinced that
an upsurge in demand of high value Australian
wine will have a ‘trickledown’ effect and lift the
demand of all Australian wine.
This includes the wine produced here in the
Riverland. Increasing demand will increase sales,
which in turn will increase value of wine, which
increases value of growers’ fruit.
The plan is to concentrate this message
through the channels that will have the highest
impact – such as sommeliers, wine writers as
well as the buyers of wine for the main wine
These marketing specialists are adamant that
Australian wine is sold too cheap at present, and
that improving the market message will go a long
way to starting the recovery.
So while it is often easy to focus on the low
price of grapes and think of the problem as a
local one; the current downturn is having an
impact on the wine industry around the world.
As such the solution and the pathway to any
recovery is a global one.
It is encouraging to see that AGWA has a
positive plan to address this, and that action is
under way now. Go to www.agwa.net.au to read
the plan and email your thoughts to strategic.
Changing time zones
The State Government recently announced
a state-wide consultation process to debate the
merits of changing the state’s time zone.
Premier Jay Weatherill has asked the Minister
for Investment and Trade, Martin Hamilton-Smith
to lead the process.
SA’s half-hour time difference to the eastern
states and 90 minutes difference to WA has
caused confusion for some across various
aspects of daily life, from sporting fixtures to
public service administration and business
Some say the time difference is a significant
barrier to our economic, social and cultural
engagement with Australia and the world.
The minister has written to Riverland Wine
seeking the views of growers and wine makers.
By initiating a public discussion, the
Government will explore the issues with
the community so together we can make a
judgement about what time zones will best help
South Australian people and businesses to thrive.
If you think we should fall into line with the
eastern states or if you think we should catch-up
that half-hour, make sure the minister knows
what you think.
Get involved in the discussion by emailing
firstname.lastname@example.org or mail the minister
direct at Time Zone, Department of State
Development, GPO Box 320, Adelaide, SA 5001.
Citrus Australia - SA Regional Wrap
This month Citrus Australia will
be calling on growers, packers and
others in the industry to provide us
with feedback on our communica-
We want to hear from you,
about your experiences and any
ideas you may have to improve our
We work hard to provide indus-
try with access to information that
will help make better business deci-
sions. While we think our commu-
nications activities are extensive,
relevant and valuable, what really
matters is what you think.
Your participation will help us
gain a greater understanding of
the value of our communications
activities and what areas we could
This will help us continue to
apply for citrus R&D matched fund-
ing from Horticulture Innovation
Australia and increase advertising
and sponsorship for your benefit.
The survey will be emailed to
you this Friday, February 20, and
should take no more than 10 min-
All surveys will need to be
completed by Sunday, March 15.
Currie Communications will be man-
aging the surveys for independence
Citrus Australia is giving one
member the opportunity to attend
this highly recommended profes-
sional development course.
The Produce Executive Pro-
gram is a fully residential, business
school-style executive program
with a unique blend of skill de-
velopment, industry learning and
It is led by world class teachers
alongside senior industry leaders.
The format contains a mix of inter-
active lectures, syndicate groups,
case studies, group assignment
workshops and industry discussion
Participants will examine a
range of management and industry
issues from the varying perspec-
tives across the supply chain and
develop winning strategies for to-
day’s global produce industry
The course is intensive and
challenging but also very social and
a lot of fun.
Date: April 26 to May 1, 2015
Venue: Melbourne Business School,
Mt Eliza Executive Education
Value: $7500 including course,
on campus accommodation and
some meals. Travel to Melbourne
and Mt Eliza is not included.
More information: https://ifgm.
To apply: Simply submit a confi-
dential application with your name,
contact details, CV and answer in
half a page why you and the indus-
try would benefit from attending
this course by cob on Friday, May
6, 2015 to Judith Damiani, CEO via
Selection: The Citrus Australia
Board will select and notify the suc-
cessful candidate by Wednesday,
March 18, 2015.
Citrus Technical 2015
Forum and Field Day
Time is running out to purchase
tickets for the Citrus Technical
2015: Forum and Field Day to be
held at the Mildura Arts Centre on
The two-day program is shaping
up to be the stand-out event on the
citrus calendar, and will feature
international speakers Joel Nelsen
(California Citrus Mutual), Dr Jim
Walker (New Zealand pest expert)
and Californian postharvest legend
The forum dinner on Monday,
March 16, will cap off the first day
and provide the perfect setting to
network and share ideas.
The informal dinner will not dis-
appoint, serving up a spectacular
gourmet barbecue with all the trim-
mings (partners welcome).
Tickets for the dinner are to
be booked separately and will sell
out fast. Don’t want to miss out?
Click on the link to book tickets for
the two-day event and the forum
dinner or visit the website (www.
CASAR Update – Gall
Steven Falivene, citrus develop-
ment officer for NSW Department
of Primary Industries, was in the
Riverland this week meeting with
SA Citrus Industry IDO Sam Rogers,
local citrus growers and local ser-
Steven has been involved with
the citrus industry for a number of
years nationally and as part of this
visit, looked at the citrus gall wasp
issue in the Riverland.
Steven has been of great as-
sistance to CASAR when we rolled
out the gall wasp grower meetings
late last year and has been one
of the driving forces for a national
research project which is currently
being developed and assessed.
We look forward to continuing
this important work with Steve and
others and will come back to indus-
try with further updates as this work
on gall wasp progresses.
Following on from the informa-
tive and well attended spray appli-
cation workshop Sam Rogers will be
holding a Citrus Pest Identification
Workshop in Loxton next week.
Growers will have been emailed
an invitation to attend by the time
this column goes to print.
Please contact CASAR or Sam
if you will be attending for logistic
purposes or if you have not received
The event is at Jireh Citrus
(Bookpurnong Road, Loxton) on
Wednesday, February 25 at 3.30pm
Presenters are Matt Ward (Elders),
Sam Rogers (SA citrus industry
All growers are invited to attend,
RSVP by Monday, February 23 to
Sam Rogers (0477 110 933). BBQ
tea and refreshments provided.
While not an exact science, crop
estimates are a very important part
of forward planning and are an
essential tool for all packers and
SA industry representatives
along with Citrus Australia nation-
ally collate estimates annually and
for many months prior to the main
citrus season starting.
Early indications are suggesting
an average overall crop with reason-
able sizing for this time of the year/
Everyone accepts there are
many variables between now and
harvest time, including extreme
weather events, but if the trend
continues we will see a good, bal-
anced crop grown across all variet-
ies this year which is exactly what
we would want to see after a rea-
sonable season last year.
On top of the manageable crop,
we have seen the AUD come back
against most of our trading partner
currencies and importantly the US
dollar from where it was a year ago.
This is a promising position
to be in when our industry is one
which is quite export focused.
CASAR recommends to our
growers to go and start the conver-
sation early with your packer/s.
Understand the fruit and mar-
kets that they are looking for.
Great communication is key for
both packers and growers in work-
ing together to ensure a profit-
able and sustainable industry.
If you have questions about any-
thing in this week’s column or an
issue that you would like discussed
please contact the chair Con Poulos
au or Sam Rogers at sam.rogers@
citrusaustralia.com.au or on mobile
0477 110 933.
are open for Rabo-
bank’s Farm Man-
ager Program which
celebrates 10 years
tive Peter Knoblanche
said the program was a
“must” for young farm-
ers looking to take over
the reins of the family
property or manage a
The program covers
topics including global
trends in agriculture,
business planning, fi-
leadership and succes-
Applications for the
2015 Rabobank Farm
Managers Program are
open until April 27,
2015. The program runs
from June 15 to 19.
ested in an application
for m or any further
information on the Ra-
bobank Farm Managers
Program should visit
au/bmp or contact Ra-
bobank business pro-
grams manager Nerida
Sweetapple on 02 8115
4139 or email nerida.
AUSVEG wants tougher food labelling laws in wake
of the hepatitis health scare.
THE nation’s peak body for vegetable
growers has challenged Australia’s food pro-
cessors, manufacturers and importers to pro-
vide proof that improved country of origin
labelling laws would place unreasonable cost
burdens on their businesses and consumers,
in the wake of the hepatitis health scare
linked to imported Chinese berries.
AUSVEG spokesman Andrew MacDonald said
people needed clear and unambiguous information
about the origins of the food they consumed.
“Despite the groundswell of public support for
improved country of origin labelling laws, there
remains a reluctance to take decisive action in
some segments of the food business sector, which
have pointed to unreasonable costs as a barrier to
a better system,” Mr MacDonald said.
“To the disappointment of AUSVEG, even the
Prime Minister has taken this line in a media
But Mr MacDonald said food businesses regu-
larly changed packaging to advertise marketing
campaigns, promotions and other initiatives.
“We feel there is no reason they could not do the
same to reflect changes to the origins of ingredi-
ents,” he said.
“You can’t put a cost on consumer protection
and by failing to act on Country of Origin, busi-
nesses and the government are doing precisely
“We are urging Australia’s food processors,
manufacturers and importers to do their duty as
“The level of public concern generated by the
hepatitis outbreak linked to imported frozen ber-
ries means the country of origin labelling issue
can no longer be put in the ‘too hard basket’.
He said people could sign a petition consumer
group CHOICE had started at http://choice.good.
Rabobank farm program
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