Monaro Farming Systems (MFS) chair Oliver Cay adressed members at a well-attended annual general meeting last week at Nimmitabel and spoke about a number of issues including the organisiation's involvement in the new Local Land Services structure.
Mr Cay said 2012-13 had seen significant external funding changes which have challenged the way MFS will deliver its services in the future.
"Local Land Services (LLS) began its roll out from November 2012 and will continue the transition until January 2014," Mr Cay said.
"During this process MFS has negotiated an outcome that I feel will improve our information transfer and most importantly is sustainable.
"LLS is the amalgamation of Department of Primary Industries (DPI), Catchment Management Authority (CMA) and Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA).
"With the merger there have been structural and funding changes that have directly affected MFS. Most notable have been Doug Alcock and Luke Pope leaving DPI and Southern Rivers CMA and DPI being rolled into LLS."
"Prior to the restructure, MFS was receiving funding for our coordinator's position from Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (SRCMA) and using Doug and Luke's expertise free of charge.
"With some strategic input from past and present board members and the interim LLS, MFS has secured substantial funding and is well on the way to delivering improved communication whilst not losing sight of our original goal to deliver timely and relevant information on productive agriculture."
Mr Cay said in order to secure the funding MFS has taken on a role of productive farm practice extension for the wider Monaro.
"With the increased complexity, the board has begun the process of improving our communication.
"This will be based around a website that I am excited about as it will allow easier two way communication, video recorded events, easy access to project details and targeted emails as well as making us look more professional to external parties."
Mr Cay said another exciting development for the coming year is member access to the Mecardo market analysis website.
"This is the brainchild of Robert Herman and gives excellent price advice on all rural commodities, specialising in livestock and wool.
"MFS residual funds will cover the subscription fee for the first year to give members a chance to judge for themselves the value to their business. After this we envisage it will be on a user paid basis but at a reduced subscription because of a discount to MFS.
"My top picks of our ongoing projects that are providing profitable and productive decision support are the GrassGro Seasonal Outlooks, the Wether Trial and Soils Club.
"The Seasonal Outlooks will continue to be run by Doug [Alcock] in his new private capacity. GrassGro has gained further accuracy with Mecardo being used for the economic inputs and with the BOM moving to a dynamic outlook model we can hope for an increase in their accuracy," Mr Cay said.
"October is the second shearing for the wether trial and this means we will be able to extrapolate on the information as most of the environmental conditions have evened out. I am looking forward to Doug putting the numbers through GrassGro to examine the profitability of wool genetics. "
Mr Cay said MFS project officer Nancy Spoljaric has been working with Richard Simpson to get a data base of the past soil tests organised.
"This will allow us to give members a paddock by paddock prescription and a powerful overview of Monaro fertility trends. Mr Cay paid tribute to the time and effort put in by the producer board members.
" Alan McGufficke and Ron Horton have served their term and over the past three years have helped shape the direction of MFS," Mr Cay said.
"I and the board thank them for this and look forward to their continuing input as members.
"Alan has been the driving force behind the wether trial.
"Together with Phil Graham and Doug Alcock they have secured high accuracy link teams from away, made sure profitability is being reported in the right format and done the hard slog recording the information. It is refreshing when people high up in the industry say to me, "It is good to see a wether trial being run properly".
"Ron has been at the helm of one of our most important projects to date, the Soils Club.
"Ron, Nancy and Richard Simpson have designed and implemented a project that is valuable to every farm business in the group. Matching feed supply and demand is one of the hardest and most profitable decisions business managers make and Soils Club is going a long way to address this."
Mr Cay welcomed Angus Hobson and Stephen Rolfe who will fill the outgoing producer positions on the board.
Mr Hobson is currently CEO of the Red Meat Advisory Council of Australia (RMAC), the peak body representing the collective interests of the production, processing and live export sectors of Australia's beef, sheep meat and goat meat industries.
"With his industry connections and the grounding of being sixth generation family farm business operator on the Monaro I look forward to his strategic thoughts on MFS," Mr Cay said.
Mr Cay described Mr Rolfe as an ideas man, having once started a successful garden mulch business when the east coast of Australia was suffering drought.
"He runs an evidence based farm business to the west of Nimmitabel and will keep the board focused on the things that matter," Mr Cay said.
Monaro Farming Systems Inc. (MFS) is a progressive and innovative farmer initiated association of approximately 49 farm business members on the Monaro, which equates to over 80 individuals.
The members manage about 25 per cent of the privately held land on the Monaro, over 75,000ha, and are responsible for approximately 40 per cent of production.
This land includes approximately 20 per cent of the native pasture and 24 per cent of improved pasture within the Bombala, Cooma-Monaro and Snowy River Shires.
The group was established in August 2007, primarily as a knowledge and information based organisation, to help farm businesses to be more profitable and resilient in the long term.
Mr Cay said MFS is owned and driven by producers committed to the Monaro and its farming potentials.
"MFS has now evolved into a credible, recognised organisation that has attracted over $450,000 in grants during the past five years," Mr Cay said.
"This has enabled MFS to focus on local, relevant issues that impact on the triple bottom line of your business. productivity, profit and environmental sustainability."