Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief


A quick snapshot of some of the people and events making news in agribusiness.


Investors eye Costa farms 

Investment fund managers are anticipating horticulture’s Costa family to list its farming properties in a $285 million real estate investment trust.

The farms supply the Australian Securities Exchange-listed Costa Group with raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, mandarins and oranges and are valued at about $285 million.

Costa family office chief executive officer Liza Whitmore and agribusiness investment adviser, David Williams, from Kidder Williams, reportedly met fund managers in Hong Kong last week to promote the REIT.

A product disclosure statement is expected to be lodged this week.

Bank confidence dips – a little

Almost half of all Australians have less trust in the big banks because of the Royal Commission into the banking and insurance sector, but trust in customer-owned institutions is on the rise, according to a recent independent Essential Media poll.

Of the 1000 people interviewed 47 per cent had less trust in Australia’s big four banks, 18pc had more trust in credit unions, 17pc more trust in mutual banks, and 15pc had more trust in building societies

However, similar research by consumer pollster, Roy Morgan has found customer dissatisfaction levels with banks is not alarming, although by May it was up to 6.2pc from 4.6pc in January, prior to the Royal Commission starting.

This was the highest level of customer dissatisfaction since April 2012.

In fact, since 2001 customer satisfaction with banks has generally been improving, up from about 60pc to 78.5pc in May according to Morgan researchers.

Those who were neither satisfied or dissatisfied in May had increased to 15.3pc, up from 13.1pc in January – a shift by some customers who were previously “satisfied”, researchers said.

Meanwhile, the number of customers very unlikely to recommend their bank was at 9.4pc in January –  its highest point since October 2016.

Only 52pc of bank customers said they would be highly likely to recommend their bank to others, down from 55.4pc in February.

Roy Morgan industry communications director, Norman Morris, said given current levels of negative publicity involving banks it was not surprising satisfaction and customer advocacy levels were sliding, yet despite the bad publicity being a major challenge for banks, satisfaction and advocacy levels were still above historic trends.

Ag, vet scholarship tribute

THE animal health industry has rallied behind the call to establish a scholarship celebrating the memory of one of the country’s most accomplished livestock scientists, Kristina Hacket.

The late Kristina Hacket

The late Kristina Hacket

Ms Hacket died in November aged 50 after a year-long battle with brain cancer, having previously been Elanco Animal Health’s principal researcher for 21 years.

Her endeavours resulted in the commercial release of several innovative technologies to improve the health, productivity and welfare of animals in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and South America.

To honour her dedication to animal health research friends and colleagues are raising $140,000 to establish a merit-based scholarship for women studying agriculture, veterinary or animal sciences at the University of Sydney.

Elanco and Virbac Animal Health have each donated $30,000.

To donate to the Kristina Hacket Memorial Scholarship, visit

APRIL chairman, Dennis Mutton, and new director, Tony Peacock.

APRIL chairman, Dennis Mutton, and new director, Tony Peacock.

Peacock joins pork institute

The Australasian Pork Research Institute Limited (APRIL) has appointed Co-operative Research Centres Association boss, Dr Tony Peacock as an independent director.

Dr Peacock is a past Pig Research and Development Corporation managing director who originally trained as a reproductive scientist and veterinarian

APRIL chairman, Dennis Mutton, said Dr Peacock brought a significant skill set to the board which  manages the member-funded institute and its $3 million budget.

“His leadership of the CRC association, plus board experience with start-ups, and advocacy for applied research and effective innovation systems, make Tony a great fit.”

Other directors are Professor Robert van Barneveld; Edwina Beveridge; Prof John Pluske, Mr Kenton Shaw and Andrew Spencer.

Canberra dairy event chief

Kyabram dairy farmer, Susan Wearden, has been appointed programming chair for the Australian Dairy Conference (ADC) which will move to Canberra next year from February 19 to 21.

Mrs Wearden, who operates the 450-cow “Taripta” farm with husband, Peter, in central north Victoria, has the task of shaping and identifying the next major issues and challenges to be contemplated by the big dairy industry gathering.

A rotating panel of 13 programming committee members renews its chairman annually.

ADC president, Ben Geard, said on the back of the highly successful Melbourne event in 2018, the momentum would carry forward to Canberra 2019 with plenty of ideas already emerging from another stellar programming committee.

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The story Agribusiness buzz in brief first appeared on Farm Online.


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