No need for an NFF clone
The National Farmers Federation retains the full backing of Cotton Australia, despite some misguided calls for the creation of an alternative agi-lobby group by a Senate Inquiry.
The Senate Inquiry into agricultural education has made a recommendation regarding setting up a new agricultural body to represent the interests of agribusiness and farmers in policy creation.
Cotton Australia CEO Adam Kay says the National Farmers Federation has been doing this exact role for a long time and doing it very well.
“The NFF has a very clear mandate from its members to represent farmers and has a well established and recognised powerful reputation in achieving major outcomes for the broader agricultural sector including developing and maintaining a strong relationship with Government.”
“It would be difficult to see how some new kid on the block lobby group could possibly hope to achieve any of the significant outcomes which the NFF regularly achieves,” Mr Kay said.
The Cotton Australia CEO said when the Senate launched an inquiry into agricultural education this was widely supported by primary producers including cotton growers.
“One of the most pressing issues for many cotton growers is securing a reliable workforce, and access to education in agriculture is absolutely vital for young people who are making the right choice to avoid the dayglow mining army and seek a fulfilling career in primary production.”
Early Bird Conference Registration offer closes soon!
With less than 2 months before the doors open for the 2012 Australian Cotton Conference, your chance to save by grabbing a discount early bird registration ends soon.
For those who have already registered and those yet to book, it will be very important that all delegates to the conference make the most of their time on the Gold Coast.
Here are some tips from conference veterans about how to get maximum benefit from attending the Cotton Conference from 14-16 August 2012.
Conferences can make even the most outgoing person nervous. In such a socially intense environment, it's easy to have a mini identity crisis.
The Harvard Business School recommends that participants to any conference should follow some simple guidelines to make the most of the experience.
One of the most important tips to remember is simply to forget the worries about being in with so many people, many of which are complete strangers.
Simply be yourself.
Get to know people as people, free of titles and status. Let them get to know you in the same way. Sure, it's nerve-wracking to introduce yourself without immediately identifying your role. But try asking open-ended questions and getting personal.
Ask your fellow conference attendee what she's enjoying about the conference, or even how far she travelled to get there.
Make the most of it and see you at the Australian Cotton Conference on the Gold Coast from 14-16 August, book now by visiting http://www.australiancottonconference.com.au
Work N Match
As the picking season comes to a close, many growers will be thanking Cotton Australia’s Pick N Match service for putting them in touch with very busy picking contractors.
Now Cotton Australia is taking that online matching service concept one step further, providing a single list of labour hire organisations, who can help growers source reliable workers.
NSW Regional Manager for Cotton Australia Geoff Hunter says Work N Match will be a key feature on the Cotton Australia website, alongside the existing Pick N Match page which has been a great success since it was first introduced last year.
“The idea behind Pick N Match was simply putting the contact details of picking contractors in a single, easy to find location on the Cotton Australia website, allowing growers to view the information and then make their own arrangements directly with contractors. There were no charges for either growers or contractors, making Pick N Match entirely free.”
He says that Work N Match will use a similar approach, with labour hire organisations now being invited to submit their details for inclusion on the new web page.
“Any labour hire company that has been working in cotton and understands our industry will be more than welcome to contribute their contact details at no cost.”
Mr Hunter says Cotton Australia will now begin compiling a list of labour hire companies and the Work N Match page will be launched shortly.
He says any work/labour hire company that would like to have their company contact details included should email firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr Hunter says any growers that have worked with a reliable labour hire company are also welcome to submit the companies details.
Cotton Australia’s Policy team continue to trawl through the seemingly endless volumes of government information being produced about the new carbon tax, as we search for the things of real value to cotton growers.
This week we look at the Conservation Tillage Refundable Tax Offset and the ACCC Carbon Price Claims Hotline.
Conservation Tillage Refundable Tax Offset
From 1 July 2012 primary producers will be able to apply for a 15 per cent refundable tax offset (RTO) on the purchase of new conservation seeding equipment. The equipment needs to be installed and ready for use between 1 July 2012 and 30 June 2015.
This initiative is designed to encourage conservation agricultural practices to reduce emissions, increase soil carbon and improve productivity. The RTO is part of the Carbon Farming Futures program under the Australian Government's Securing a Clean Energy Future plan.
For more information, go to http://www.daff.gov.au/climatechange/carbonfarmingfutures/rto
ACCC Carbon Price Claims Hotline launched
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission last week launched its new ACCC Carbon Price Claims Hotline.
The ACCC Carbon Price Claims Hotline, 1300 303 609, and online carbon price claim form, will make it easier for consumers and businesses to complain if they suspect false price claims are being made about the carbon price.
The ACCC is inviting complaints through the Hotline. Businesses and consumers can report a claim or for further information on the ACCC’s role in relation to carbon price claims and a range of associated publications for small business, industry associations and consumers, visit http://www.accc.gov.au/carbon
This may be useful for businesses to consider when updating inventories and dealing with various suppliers, to help understand the various price impacts on farm inputs. As the carbon tax moves in it is important that businesses are able to understand the ‘carbon component’ of any price rises they are facing and that suppliers are sufficiently clear on this and other drivers.
A link to our Background Briefings
These were developed following the announcement of the government’s carbon tax policy last year, and outline the tax and its implications for agriculture and cotton businesses, and the Carbon Farming Initiative. They can be accessed on our website here: http://www.cottonaustralia.com.au/cotton-library/publications/background-briefings
Cotton Australia has a summary document on carbon tax implications, plus links to further information, accessible here.
Strategic Planning Workshops
As part of Cotton Australia’s work towards developing a new strategic plan, which will capture the views of our growers, Cotton Australia Regional Managers have been holding specially designed strategic planning workshops with their local CGA’s.
These workshops have already been successfully held on the Darling Downs, St George and Goondiwindi in Queensland as well in the Macquarie Valley and during the general meeting in Narromine.
These locally held workshops are one part of collecting and collating the views of our members, with online survey also being used to gauge opinions.
There are great prizes simply for completing the easy survey which can be found online at http://cottonaustralia.com.au/news/article/complete-cotton-australias-2012-grower-survey-to-have-your-say-and-win-an-i
Operating Mobile plant near overhead power lines
WorkCover NSW along with electricity supply authorities have issued a reminder to cotton growers of the potential dangers arising when operating mobile plant near energised overhead power lines.
Since July 2011 there have been a total of 55 incidents reported where cranes, machinery and other mobile plant have come into contact with power lines. Some of the incidents reported include:
• A mobile crane operator struck a 11kV power line when unloading a truck.
• A truck driver raised a tipper and struck a 11kV power line.
• An excavator boom struck a 11kV power line.
• A low loader struck low voltage overhead power lines.
• A wheat harvester struck power lines, which resulted in a fire that engulfed the machine.
WorkCover says some of the contributing factors in each of these incidents include a failure to identify the hazard of overhead power lines along with the failure to implement a safe system of work, including the maintenance of safe approach distances from the energised
The Authority says that clearly contact with overhead power lines is a serious risk that can result in electrocution, electric shock or burns. Some of the other risks includes fires and explosions that may immobilise mobile plant involved in work.
Anyone working near or under energised overhead power lines and associated electrical apparatus should do the following before commencing work.
• Clearly identify the height and voltage of high and low voltage power lines, including overhead service lines to buildings.
• Conduct a risk assessment of the proposed work.
• If necessary, consult with the relevant electricity supply authority about the work and comply with any special conditions imposed by them.
• Eliminate the risk by arranging for the electricity supply authority to isolate the electricity supply for the duration of the work.
• If the risk cannot be eliminated, separate the electrical hazard from the mobile plant and the workers by ensuring the following approach distances are maintained:
Up to 132,000 volts – 3 metres
Between 132,000 volts and 330,000 volts – 6 metres
Above 330,000 volts – 8 metres.
Note: when applying the above approach distances, it is important to take into account the ‘sag and swing’ of the powerlines, the movement of the mobile plant and the strength of the wind, as well as possible operator error or equipment malfunction.
• Ensure a safety observer is used whenever a mobile plant is in motion and is likely to come closer than these approach distances.
• Ensure an effective communication system is in place for the workers performing the work.
Remember the safe work procedure when working near overhead power lines – LOOK UP AND LIVE.
For more information visit workcover.nsw.gov.au or phone 13 10 50.
• NSW Electricity Supply Authorities – emergency contact numbers:
Ausgrid 13 13 88
Endeavour Energy 13 10 03
Essential Energy 13 20 80
Dates for the diary:
If you are holding a field day or an event you would like to include in Cotton Matters, please contact David Bone at Cotton Australia on (02) 9669 5222 or email email@example.com
Friday 20 July, Central Highlands Cotton Growers & Irrigators Annual Awards & Dinner Dance, Emerald - Contact Luana Drummond 0488 119 419 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday 18 July Central Highlands Cotton Growers and Irrigators General Meeting 7pm at Mayfair Tavern, followed by the Cotton Australia Strategic Planning Workshop with CEO Adam Kay.
14- 16 August 2012 Australian Cotton Conference on the Gold Coast