Monthly Archives: January 2019

CCA calls in election promises

Cattle Council of Australia chief executive officer Jed Matz.
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CATTLECouncil of Australia has welcomed the new Federal Cabinet but has urged the government to deliver on its leadership funding election commitments.

In June the Coalition announced new funding measures for agriculture including $5 million for the Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund.

Chief executive officer Jed Matzsaid CCAhad called for a funding commitment to help establish a directly-elected producer organisation, underpinned by a sustainable funding model.

“Since 2013, the CCAhas been pushing towards structural change to adequately deliver the advocacy, policy and strategic services the grass fed industry needs,’’ Mr Matz said.

“The commitment of the Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund is a step in the right direction in empowering agriculture.

“Cattle Council congratulate the government on its re-election but we urge the government not to forget its commitment to the agriculture and in particular the beef industry.”

The organisation Cattle Council seeks to establish would combine policy development and advocacy, and be led by a board directly elected by cattle levy payers.

Mr Matz said the new model would provide grass-fed producers with more control over the $64 million they pay annually through the compulsory levy.

“The key for the new organisation is the development of a sustainable funding model which would allow the organisation to focus on delivering the best outcomes for grass-fed producers, instead of being impeded by funding concerns.”

“We believe the future of agriculture should be foremost on the governments agenda, and we hope to see further details on the Leadership in Agricultural Industries Fund soon,” Mr Matz said.

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Rules of engagement: don’t try with haters

I just woke up one morning and decided not to do it anymore.
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For what seems like decades, I’d been online and arguing. If someone used the the word feminazi, I’d be in there, explaining why that’s not a useful term. If someone said all feminists should be killed – or indeed that I should be killed – I’d be in there having the idiotic argument. Of course I shouldn’t be killed. Who would make my putative grandchildren’s birthday cakes?

I’d use bad language, or even worse language.

Then I had to face-up. One, I would never be able to change anyone’s mindset or behaviour through social media interaction. Two, it was using up my time. I had to recognise I could only be responsible for my own behaviour.

The first realisation frustrated me. I assumed if I bothered to write to someone, they would go away and read it. Men send things to me and I read them. Usually. I mean usually, it’s men who send me links to vast tracts: unsourced, uncritiqued, unevidenced. Still, I look. But I wasn’t getting any cut-through by having a discussion based on evidence. I’d just end up in a link war.

The recognition that no amount of serious conversation would ever change the tenor of the conversation made me rethink the amount of time I spent attending to abusers. These people weren’t really wanting to know more, instead they were behaving like parasites, sucking up my time and thinking, without ever contributing to the dialogue and by engaging, I was enabling that behaviour.

The comments used to upset me but they don’t anymore. I know most of the tiny darlings who employ death threats or use other threats of violence are no more likely to actually carry out those threats than use their real names.

My rule now is to engage with people whose opinions I value – which is not the same as engaging only with those with whom I agree. It’s possible to express differing opinions with respect. I ignore and block those who call their bots to the yard; who call in their “multiple”supporters to engage in a pile-on.

Even after a week of my new management plan, I felt better. I didn’t stop interacting online but I stopped reacting. If I recognised the beginnings of abusive behaviour, I’d use the tools provided by Facebook and Twitter to block or to mute.

The brilliant Tara Moss, author of much but most recently,Speaking Out, used her new book to write about online experiences and safety. She too says she used to engage.

“Any online discussion is likely to involve at least some percentage of comments that are graphically abusive, almost as a guarantee … I now find myself needing to ban and block often, and in most cases a cursory glance at an abusive person’s public feed will reveal that they literally abuse people in this way during all of their spare time.”

That was happening to me. I got louder and more aggressive and, at the same time, more frightened. She says that level of discourse has made women turn off.

“[That] has made a lot of women back away from online spaces, which I think is a shame, and a kind of failure of democracy. We can’t let the bullies win.”

The second realisation, that I was wasting my time, had a significant impact on my life. I’d become obsessed with the battles rather than the outcomes. Ignoring the haters gave me more time to do useful work, and had a direct impact on my mental wellbeing.

I don’t have time – or the will –for online bullies any more.

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Feeder steers return $1670 at Laidley

A total of 954 head were yarded at Stariha Auctions Laidley cattle sale on Thursday. The market remained firm on last sale’s high rates, with quality lines of feeder cattle and weaners in demand.
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John Campion, Middlemount, sold a draft of 163 Simmental cattle to return an average of $1097. John’s feeder steers sold to an impressive $1670.Ben Quinn, Junction View, sold Brahman cows for $1360 and milk tooth steers for $1410.

Russell Lehmann, Minden, sold Droughtmaster cows for $1300 and cows and calves for $1680.Ron Brauer, Helidon, sold a Droughtie bull for $1780.Harrison Family Trust, Kilcoy, sold milk tooth heifers for $1295.JW Bell, Mount Mort, sold Shorthorn bulls for $1710.

Wendy Callinan, Esk, sold Santa heifers for $1150.Danielle Hartmann and Kasey McGrath, New Moonta, soldDroughtmaster heifers for $1450.

Des Poole, Veradilla, sold 18-20 month old Limousin cattle, with steers making $1490 and heifers $1390.Jengar Rural, Mulgowie, sold Santa heifers for $1340.Robert Jeffes, Lockrose, sold Droughtmaster steers, 20 months, for $1760.

Rolly Donohue, Clarendon, sold a line of Brahman cross milk tooth steers for $1480.Pickering Family, Black Duck Creek, sold 12 month old Droughtmaster steers for $1090 and 6 month old steers for $860.Tillack Family, Woodlands, sold Charolais weaners, with steers making $965-$1060.

Peter & Elaine Horrocks, Mt Whitestone, sold quality 6 month old Simmental steers for $840.Brendan Neumann, Coominya, sold 7 month old Droughtmaster steers for $820.Brian O’Sullivan, Laidley, sold 14 month old Charbray heifers for $1000.

Cunningham Pastoral, Aratula, sold a line of 6 month old Charbray heifers for $820.Collins Grazing purchased cows and calves for $1780.

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VFF keeps fighting for rural Victoria

The VFF is celebrating its 37th Annual Conference this weekand it’s sure to be one to remember.
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Our membership is steady and our achievements are strong. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to rest on our laurels.The VFF has fought hard for rural Victoria and we will continue to do so.

This year marks the end of my VFF presidency and I’m immensely proud of everything we’ve achieved. I’d like to share some of our biggest achievements.

Last year, we ran a long and effective campaign to ensure the sale of the Port of Melbourne lease did not lessen competition and escalate pricing.

In the end, we negotiated to ensure 10 per cent of proceeds from the port lease would go to rural infrastructure, including a $200 million Agriculture Infrastructure and Jobs Fund, which will be used to build the Wimmera Doppler weather radar and extend the cattle underpass scheme, among other initiatives.

The VFF convinced the state and federal governments to commit $440 million towards upgrading and standardising Victoria’s north-west Murray Basin rail freight lines.

This investment will reduce supply chain costs for growers and the number of trucks travelling on rural roads.

Our achievements in securing commitments for water infrastructure are impressive – more than $150 million in state and federal funding for both infrastructure and feasibility studies.

We successfully lobbied for a moratorium banning onshore gas exploration in Victoria to be upheld until at least 2020, as well as convinced the state government to raise the payroll tax-free threshold from $550,000 to $650,000 over the next four years.

These are all positive outcomes for Victorian agriculture worth celebrating, and indeed we will celebrate at the conference.

Looking to the future, I see enormous challenges for agriculture. Activists remain an ongoing threat, while external factors like climate variability and market failure will put pressure on our industry.

But it’s important to know that we are resilient. We can approach each issue with experience and knowledge.

Also know that the VFF is behind our farmers 100per cent.

The 37th Annual VFF Conference is on today and tomorrow at Rydges,186 Exhibition Street, Melbourne.

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