Ag Bureau has many benefits

Ag Bureaus offer benefits to farming communities


Agribusiness
REGULAR HIGHLIGHT: Crop walks are always one of the most popular fixtures on any farming group's calendar.

REGULAR HIGHLIGHT: Crop walks are always one of the most popular fixtures on any farming group's calendar.

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The Ag Bureau movement has been in existence for about 130 years - a very enduring legacy by any measure.

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A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak to the Coomandook Ag Bureau branch on the topic of agricultural finance.

I was more than happy to do so, particularly at Coomandook, as the place is well-known to me.

In the crowd were two of my best mates, people I have known since we were all five years old.

The Ag Bureau movement has been in existence for about 130 years - a very enduring legacy by any measure.

I am sure it has changed a lot through the years.

My association with the Coomandook Ag Bureau branch as a member and office bearer, across a period of about 15 years, was an excellent time for me and I learnt a lot.

With the advent of social media, there are a lot more avenues to access information these days than there has been in the past.

It was a pretty laid back, casual sort of meeting.

Things haven't changed much since I was last a member about 20 years ago.

The nature and tone of the conversations were quite similar, but the content was a lot more technological than in past years.

With the advent of social media, there are a lot more avenues to access information these days than there has been in the past.

From my perspective, the monthly Ag Bureau meeting was a chance to hear different ideas from a group of farmers that were willing to share the good, the bad and the ugly.

In more recent times, I have started to see a lot of interaction between young farmers on forums such as Twitter.

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For many people it seems to be the popular place to share information these days.

There are also a few prominent farming operations that have a substantial presence on Facebook.

These businesses have a large following, and seem quite willing to share information, whether it be positive or negative.

At the Coomandook Ag Bureau meeting, one of the agenda items was working out the best date for the annual crop walk.

Such crop walks were always the highlight of the calendar back in the day.

There were a few aspects of the crop walks I liked, and I suspect the format hasn't changed too much.

These included the visits to the trial sites, looking at new varieties, or herbicide and fertiliser applications..

I always admired the farmers who hosted the trial sites year after year, as it seemed to me to be a big commitment. I also enjoyed the bus ride itself, as catching up with mates was always a bit of a buzz.

Agriculture has always been a sector where information is shared.

Another important part was the lunch that was normally sponsored by the local rural merchandise retailer or fertiliser company, and the obligatory refreshments on offer at the conclusion of the day.

At the time I may not have reflected much on the day, but thinking about it afterwards, I did learn a lot - both in the formal presentation from the various speakers, and the casual conversation that inevitably takes place on days like that.

I can't speak for other Ag Bureau branches, but I can say the Coomandook branch is very open, and everyone in attendance shares information quite freely.

It was a terrific place for a young twenty-something budding young farmer to learn the ropes.

From my perspective, agriculture has always been a sector where information is shared.

It's in everyone's interests for the sector to be successful, and besides, given the margins, agribusinesses have no choice but to learn and adopt new practices.

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