The Board of Directors of AFIA met on Monday 17 February 2020 in Melbourne for a quarterly Board meeting.  A number of issues were discussed as part of the agenda for that meeting and we are pleased to report to the AFIA membership some of the key outcomes, decisions and information from that meeting:

1. AFIA Staff Update

Simone Smith, AFIA’s new Media & Communications Officer has been working with us since November 2019 and met the AFIA Board for the first time at the February Board meeting.  Simone has just completed her second Focus on Fodder magazine (Autumn 2020 edition).  In the short time Simone has been working for AFIA we have seen a significant lift in AFIA’s social media presence (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter), a great improvement in the depth and breadth of articles in Focus on Fodder, including a much greater focus on profiling members.  Our relationship with the media, already quite strong, is also improving and developing.  The relationship between our media and communications activity and our profile/presence within the industry is now becoming significantly stronger and much more pronounced and we are starting to see, albeit early, what the CEO believes is a translation of this improved profile/presence into new members and sponsors.

An offer has been made and accepted for the role of AFIA’s Industry Development Officer at 3 days/week. Philippa (Pip) Robinson will join AFIA from early April 2020 and will work remotely from her home in Invergordon, Victoria.  Pip’s role will initially focus on the completion of our Weekly Hay Report (as contracted to Dairy Australia), helping to manage members and sponsors including liaison with our sponsors on their advertising requirements in our Focus on Fodder magazine (something CEO John McKew has been doing since Jemma Stefanou resigned) and also helping out with National Fodder Conference planning.  Pip will also take the lead in developing our next Fodder Festival event, currently being planned for 2021.  Pip will work closely with John, Pru and Simone and we are looking forward to welcoming her to the AFIA team.

2. 2020 Audit

The annual audit of the association is currently taking place as the AFIA financial year runs from 1 April to 31 March, annually.  Audited financial statements for the association for the 2019/20 financial year will be prepared as part of this audit process.  The expectation is that the association will report a modest surplus for 2020.  Finances are always tight within AFIA so the focus on new members and sponsors continues to be a priority.

3. New Sponsor

AFIA is delighted to welcome Staheli West as a new silver-level sponsor of AFIA.  Most of our members will be very aware of the Staheli West steamers.  We are looking forward to a strong presence from Staheli West at our 2020 National Fodder Conference.

4. 2020 Lallemand GenAg Scholarship

Members are reminded that the 2020 Lallemand GenAg Scholarship is now open.  Further information on the scholarship including application details can be found on the AFIA website via this link:

5 .CEO Out and About

AFIA CEO John McKew has been out and about recently, including:

  1. Attending the Bushfire Roundtable on Agriculture in Canberra on Thursday 16 January.
  2. Attending the Ports Industry Roundtable in Melbourne on Thursday 30 January.
  3. Attending the KRONE Innovation Demo Days on 14 & 15 February in Winchelsea, Victoria.  KRONE is a gold sponsor of AFIA.
  4. Attending the Exporters/AEXCO Meeting on Wednesday 19 February in Melbourne.
  5. Attending the KUHN Expo in Naracoorte, South Australia on 4 & 5 March.  KUHN are silver sponsors of AFIA.

6. 2020 National Fodder Conference

The 2020 National Fodder Conference will be held from 3-5 August 2020 at the Novotel Sunshine Coast Resort, Queensland.  The pre-conference tour will take place from Friday 31 July through to Sunday 2 August in and around the Sunshine Coast region.

The sponsorship prospectus for the 2020 event has been completed and will be released shortly.  John and Pru are already in discussion/negotiations with our sponsors for sponsorship opportunities at the event.

The program for the 2020 event has commenced production and activity will increase significantly over coming weeks on this.  We understand our members will be keenly interested to see what is on offer in the 2020 program and we will endeavor to have the first draft of this in place by the end of May.  A much greater focus has been made in 2020 on delivering an increased number of ‘Our Place’ sessions as we understand that this was not adequate in the 2019 program and was disappointing for a few of our members.

Pricing for attending the 2020 event has also been largely finalised.

Discussions and considerations for the venue for the 2021 National Fodder Conference are also progressing and an announcement of the 2021 venue is planned to be made during the 2020 National Fodder Conference, as members have requested.

7. 2020 AGM & Board Elections

The 2020 AGM for the association will be held late on Tuesday morning, 4 August 2020 at the 2020 National Fodder Conference.

As per the Constitution of the association, two current AFIA Directors will be up for rotation on the Board in 2020.  They are David Cossar and Suzanne Woods.  Both Directors may re-nominate for their positions.  Members interested in applying for a position on the AFIA Board from 2020 are encouraged to discuss this with the AFIA Chair, Mr. Frank McRae.  Frank can be contacted on 0428 737 403.

8. Next Meeting

The next AFIA Board meeting has been tentatively scheduled in Melbourne for Monday 18 May 2020.