Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief


A quick check on what some of the players are doing and talking about in agribusiness.


Biden scrutinises ag competition

US President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to address growing concerns about the concentration of big businesses and shrinking competition in the American agriculture and transport sectors.

Federal agencies including the US Department of Agriculture have been instructed to investigate competition problems across the economy, with a special focus on strengthening the department's tools to stop abusive practices by some meat processors.

The new US administration is concerned key agricultural markets including meat processing, seed technology, farm equipment, feed and fertiliser, are dominated by just a few large companies and have become less competitive, leaving family farmers paying more for their inputs.

The four largest meat processing companies dominate 80 per cent of the US beef packing sector.

Farmers' share of the price of beef has fallen from 51.5pc to 37.3pc in the past five years, while the price of beef has risen.

The Presidential order encourages leading antitrust agencies, notably the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission, to enforce the antitrust laws vigorously.


Elders-Ag Guard partnership

Elders Insurance has teamed up with agricultural underwriting agency Ag Guard to provide extended product capabilities in the cropping sector.

Ag Guard will provide a specialised crop insurance underwriting system and support services to the Elders business.

Elders's insurance business, established in the 1880s, has been a joint venture between QBE and Elders Rural Services since 2009 with agents in 200-plus locations nationwide.

Ag Guard was founded in 2013 by managing director Alex Cohn, who has 20 years of experience in the farm, finance and insurance sectors.

"This first step in our partnership provides a huge opportunity to develop innovative products together that genuinely help rural producers," he said.


Nature One buys Nepean River

Victorian infant dairy products maker Nature One Dairy, will buy Sydney-based Nepean River Dairy for $36.5 million on a debt free-cash free basis.

The acquisition will see Nepean River Dairy's manufacturing capabilities and product portfolio merged under the Nature One Dairy brand.

Winston Hills-based Nepean sources milk from farms in NSW and Victoria's Gippsland to produce its one litre fresh milk, flavoured and long life packaged range for retail and the cafe and restaurant trade.

The sale is being paid for by way of a share issue which valued Nature One Dairy, based at Carrum Downs in outer Melbourne, at $70m.

It will complement Nature One's current milk powder business with Nepean River Dairy's liquid and ready-to-drink capabilities.

Nature One Dairy's strategic plan is to build a global dairy company based in Australia.


Booming agribiz conference

Agribusiness Australia is following up the success of the 2019 Energising Regional Australia event in Victoria by hosting an "Australia Transformed" conference and networking event September 9 in partnership with the City of Greater Bendigo and the Digital Innovation Festival.

The conference will investigate how regional businesses can capitalise on the recent influx of people, technology and investment to their areas.

Keynote speaker will be Mars Incorporated's chief agricultural officer Dr Howard-Yana Shapiro, speaking from the US on producing more with less and driving thriving communities.

Other speakers include Australian Rural Leadership Foundation chief executive officer, Matt Linnegar; Bendigo and Adelaide Bank's Louise Tebbet, Simon Robb from Agromillora; Australian Plant Proteins co-founder, Brendan McKeegan, and Nestlé Oceania's corporate affairs head, Margaret Stuart.

A session on agrifood supply chain emissions intensity will explore opportunities in emission reduction, carbon trading and offset markets in food processing.


Genetics Australia directors

Prominent agribusiness director Mike Carroll and Saputo Dairy Australia executive John Duffield will join the board of livestock genetics and equipment co-operative Genetics Australia as specialist non-member directors.

They replace retiring director Stuart Horsburgh.

Mr Duffield will soon retire as senior project manager at Saputo's Allansford plant in Victoria's Western District, having previously been financial controller of Warrnambool Cheese and Butter Company.

Mr Carroll, who established and led National Australia Bank's agribusiness division until 15 years ago, has served as a non-executive director on at least 15 food and agribusiness boards and is chairman of the Gairdner Dairy Foundation in Victoria.

He is also a director on Macquarie Bank's agricultural investment businesses Paraway Pastoral and Viridis Ag, nut producer and processor Select Harvests, and Rural Funds Management.

Chief executive officer Anthony Shelly said Genetics Australia's new directors brought great expertise and specific experience to the boardroom.


New Ag Institute chair

The Ag Institute of Australia has elected its deputy chair and animal health industry consultant Sarah Hunter to its top board job, replacing Dr Turlough Guerin, who is now company secretary.

Previously known as the The Australian Institute of Agricultural Science and Technology (AIAST), the institute is the peak body for agricultural and natural resource management professionals, promoting the profession and agricultural science and technology.

Members are involved in research, education, government, agribusiness and private consulting.

Ms Hunter (pictured), a former executive in corporate animal health and Telstra Business Women's Awards finalist is well-known in the ag sector as a passionate communicator and advocate, with extensive industry experience.

The industry body has also acknowledged the contribution of outgoing directors Scott McKinnon and Professor Daniel Tan, who becomes a Fellow of the institute.

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


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