Agribusiness buzz in brief

Agribusiness buzz in brief


A quick look at what's been happening and what people are talking about in agribusiness


Bye bye Wee Waa

Namoi Cotton has cut its management ties with its Wee Waa birthplace, announcing it has officially shifted its registered head office north of the NSW-Queensland border to Toowoomba.

The cotton processing and marketing company, which has been run from its Toowoomba corporate office since 2003, was founded by pioneering Namoi Valley cotton growers in 1962, with its first gin opened a year later by then NSW Premier, Jack Renshaw.

As the company grew to establish gins across NSW and marketing operations overseas its corporate business headquarters was first moved to Sydney in 1989, although its kept its registered office roots in the Namoi Valley.

Late last year a drought-forced staff restructuring resulted in big cuts at Wee Waa.


Ridley's Novacq gains

Stockfeed processor and aquaculture feed business, Ridley Corporation, has completed a land and feedmill acquisition in Thailand for its Novacq division.

The company has also appointed Sid Jain as chief executive officer of Novacq, which produces a high growth promoting prawn feed developed by CSIRO.

Mr Jain, who starts next month, will be based in Singapore, responsible for Novacq's NSW prawn feed research site at Yamba, and the Thai operations

The land in Thailand was originally leased near the Pen Ngern feedmill in Chanthaburi, in which Ridley had a half share.

The site was converted to Novacq production ponds and both the 50 hectare landholding and the remaining stake in the feedmill recently approved for foreign ownership, by Novacq.

Ridley expects the Thai production facilities will provide an ideal footprint for the long term expansion of the Novacq operations in Thailand and the foundation to supply Novacq to prawn producers in Asia and the Middle East.


Rural media boss speaks

New agricultural and regional media baron, Antony Catalano, will discuss his plans for the big Australian Community Media network and his thoughts on the future for media services in the bush at a special Farm Writers Association of NSW Q&A forum in Sydney.

Mr Catalano, in partnership with one of Australia's most successful private investors, Alex Waislitz, paid $125 million last year to buy ACM, which includes 171 former Rural Press and Fairfax regional titles, nine print centres and the AgQuip and Farmfest agricultural field days.

Antony Catalano

Antony Catalano

The stable of print and digital mastheads includes regional titles in all states ranging from The Newcastle Herald in NSW, to the Katherine Times in Northern Territory, the Ballarat Courier in Victoria, the Murray Valley Standard in South Australia and Collie Mail in WA.

ACM group also owns The Canberra Times and the leading agricultural mastheads in each state, including the national Farmonline news website.

The March 27 forum will see the Australian Financial Review's media writer Max Mason quiz Mr Catalano about the outlook for traditional media servicing regional, and the reliability and availability of information for rural media consumers in the age of "fake news".

Prior to buying the regional media group he led the Domain real estate media services partnership with Fairfax Media which floated on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2017.

Facebook generation scammed

Australians aged under 25 lost more than $5 million to financial and social media scams last year according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.

Around 12,000, or 7.15 per cent, of reports made to the ACCC's Scamwatch came from people under 25, an 11pc rise for that age group on the prior year, and 10 percentage points more than reports from any other age group.

"Scammers don't discriminate based on age and the wide range of scams reported by this age group is concerning," said ACCC deputy chairman Delia Rickard.

"Young people may think they are tech savvy, but scammers are adapting and we expect to see more scams on newer platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok."

Facebook and Instagram were the most common platforms for reports and losses by under 25-year olds, who were typically caught by fake online stores or the sale of fake tickets to events.

Scammers were also using social media platforms and email as forums for sextortion scams, where they threaten to share intimate images or footage online, unless the subjects agree to their demands.

  • Report scams to Scamwatch, which also offers information on where to get help, via


Ag events catch coronavirus

Coronavirus has forced international livestock feed company, Alltech, is to abandon plans for its big 36th annual event, ONE: The Alltech Ideas Conference, in the US from May 17 to 19.

Instead, Alltech plans to run ONE session topics online, transitioning "to a virtual experience".

The conference, in Lexington, Kentucky, would typically assemble more than 3500 attendees from 70 countries, discussing a host of innovative solutions across the global food supply chain.

The virtual event will provide access to agricultural topics ranging from agribusiness and aquaculture, to beef, crop science, dairy, and the future of food.

Meanwhile, also in the US, organisers of the 7th annual NoCo Hemp Expo have rescheduled this year's sold-out three-day investor forum, conference and farm symposium from March to August because of concern about the global Covid-19 outbreak.

The organisers of the Denver, Colorado, event are also exploring options for an interim online digital conference.

In Italy the four day International Strawberry Symposium, planned for early May in Rimini on the Adriatic coast, has been postponed for a year.


Rabobank Australia's Peter Knoblanche and Cathy Doyle receiving the Australias Most Recommended Agribusiness Award at the DBM ceremony.

Rabobank Australia's Peter Knoblanche and Cathy Doyle receiving the Australias Most Recommended Agribusiness Award at the DBM ceremony.

Rabo `most recommended'

The role agricultural banking specialist Rabobank has played supporting farmers through the recent seasonal challenges has been recognised at the 2020 DBM Australian Financial Awards.

For the second year running, Rabobank was named Australia's Most Recommended Agribusiness Bank, based on findings from national research agency DBM Consultants.

Rabobank Australia CEO Peter Knoblanche said the award recognised the meaningful relationships Rabobank maintained with clients.

"With drought and bushfires plaguing large areas of rural Australia in 2019, Rabobank has maintained an unwavering commitment to supporting our clients through these challenging conditions," he said.


BASF vegie seed sale

French floral and vegetable seeds distributor, Graines Voltz is to buy BASF's HILD Samen business in Marbach, Germany, leaving the big chemical and rising agribusiness player scope to expand it organic seed category .

The HILD portfolio divestiture includes

its seeds business, intellectual property, breeding activities, and the HILD brand.

"The divestment of the HILD Samen business allows us to focus on the establishment of a European competence centre for organic seeds at the site in Marbach and to increase the existing processing capacity in corn salad," said BASF's vegetable seeds business senior vice president, Vicente Navarro.

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



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