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Newsletter: Vic Report

By David Drage, 2009 Scholar and Chair

December 2017

The second half of 2017 for Victorian farmers has again been a very difficult time. It is no wonder farmers get a reputation as whingers when the weather gives us so many opportunities to complain! A wet spring south of the ranges was accompanied with a drier than normal season to the north. Both sides of the ranges were hit with late frosts, which have decimated grain and horticulture crops in areas. Isolated severe hailstorms and massive rainfalls caused further problems for agriculture across the state during the first week of December. Until then, most of the agriculture enterprises were looking at a good season, and it will take a few weeks for it to become clear what damage has been done.

In October, Nathan Free (2015 Sch), was awarded the 2017 Rabobank Emerging Leader Award. Nathan has grown his business to a size where he is now the largest organic horticulture grower in the state. He is also developing an organic research farm. Jan Vydra (2016 Sch) was the 2016 recipient of this award.

David Jochinke (2007 Sch), has been appointed as deputy president of the National Farmers Federation. David has been on the NFF board for a few years now, as well as being in his second year as Victorian Farmers Federation President.

Planning for the 2018 National Conference, which will be held in Melbourne, is progressing. Emma Germano (2014 Sch) is chair of the organising committee. The Nuffield Victoria Chair’s ‘shearing shed’, as announced in Darwin, didn’t make the final list of suitable venues! More details – as well as the location of the regional tour – will be announced in early 2018. There are no events organised for the Alumni for the remainder of this year, but we will be holding a farewell event for the 2018 Scholars early next year before they depart for the Contemporary Scholars Conference.

We lost one of our earliest Victorian Scholars on 27 October when John Armit (1964 Sch) passed away. John raised sheep and cattle on the family property, Bindi Station, in Victoria’s high country. The legacy of John’s lifetime of work continues, with the property continuing to be managed by John’s daughter Penny and her family.

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