The Board of Directors of AFIA met on Monday 18 May 2020 via a Zoom teleconference 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:
- AFIA Staff & Office Update
John McKew provided the Board with an update on staff and indicated that he was very happy with the performance of all staff, especially the manner in which everyone has responded to the COVID-19 situation and their willingness to adapt to a changed working environment and a tighter financial budget.
Pip Robinson commenced in the role as AFIA’s new Industry Development Officer from the beginning of April 2020 and has certainly settled very well into the role and her responsibilities.
The Board have agreed to a recommendation from the CEO to close the physical AFIA office (located in Docklands, Melbourne) to save costs especially in light of the reduced income facing the Association this year with (a) no National Fodder Conference and (b) a reduction in annual sponsorship income. The CEO has been working from home since late March 2020 as part of the self-isolation requirements imposed around COVID-19. As discussed with the Board, Pru works from home, Pip works from home and Simone, as a contractor to AFIA works remotely and John has been successfully working from home for over two months. Consequently, the AFIA office (costing approximately $20k per annum) is only being used by the CEO and it is a cost we do not necessarily need to bear in these times of reduced income. The AFIA office will be closed from 31 July 2020. Our office phone number continues to operate but has been diverted to John’s mobile. The Board will review this decision again in twelve months.
- AFIA Key Work Programs
John McKew noted to the Board that the focus of the Association and staff over the next six to twelve months would consist of several key projects, including:
- AFIA website redevelopment.
- Develop and deliver some virtual conference sessions.
- Development of a new Fodder Care Strategic Plan.
- Update to the 2009 publication “The Australian Fodder Industry – an overview of production, use and trade” (Sometimes referred to as the “Fodder Atlas”).
- AFIA Fodder Festival 2021.
- Audit and Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2020
The annual AFIA audit has been successfully completed with no major issues identified. The Associations auditor joined this meeting for an in-camera session (i.e. the CEO and staff were not present) with the Board to discuss the annual audit and any findings/comments.
As part of the annual audit, our annual Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2020 have also been produced and signed off by the Board. In the 2019/20 financial year the Association posted a modest surplus of $8,390.
Production of the AFIA Annual Report, which includes a copy of the Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2020 has commenced and this will be made available to all AFIA members (via the AFIA website) from August 2020 (date to be determined).
- 2021 National Fodder Conference
A reminder that the 2021 National Fodder Conference has been scheduled for 26-28 July 2021 at the Novotel Sunshine Coast Resort, Queensland (the location that was booked for the 2020 event).
- 2020 AGM & Board Elections
With the cancellation of the 2020 National Fodder Conference, the 2020 Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association (which would have been held at the conference) must be rescheduled. A date for the 2020 AGM is still to be finalised and will be conducted as a virtual (online) event in 2020.
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.
- Next Meeting
The next AFIA Board meeting has been tentatively scheduled in Melbourne for Monday 13 July 2020 as a Zoom teleconference.
In another effort to reduce costs, the AFIA Board is conducting its Board meetings via Zoom and as this was the first meeting to be held using this technology, it was deemed a success.