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Gippsland Ag New banner; black angus beef cows looking directly
Thursday 9 May 2024
In this edition:
Celebrating 43 years at Agriculture Victoria
Agriculture Victoria staff member Maria Rose celebrating her retirement with a certificate

Our Maffra office recently celebrated Maria Rose, as she retires after 43 years at Agriculture Victoria.

Maria was the first female dairy extension officer, and among the first 3 women extension officers across all agriculture sectors for the Victorian Government back in 1981.

Maria initiated the first women-only dairy discussion groups in Gippsland, and, in 1991, brought these discussion groups together for a “Women on Farms Gathering”, which inspired the current annual gatherings under the same name for farm women across Victoria and Australia.

Maria studied extensively throughout her career, including a Degree in Agricultural Science, Masters of Applied Science – Agricultural Extension & Rural Development and a PhD on social processes in farmer education methods.

Thank you, Maria, for your welcoming and vibrant personality and your dedication to serving agriculture in Victoria for over 40 years.

Building Victoria’s preparedness for emergency animal diseases

Dr Jeff Cave, Agriculture Victoria Senior Veterinary Officer

During March, Agriculture Victoria delivered 4 Animal Disease Investigation (ADI) courses. 

These regionally based courses were held at Ellinbank, Rutherglen, Bendigo and Hamilton. 

The 2-day intensive course focused on up-skilling livestock veterinarians across Victoria to conduct disease investigations, and to be especially on the lookout for exotic diseases such as Foot and mouth disease. 

Each course hosted 12 private livestock veterinarians. 

Most of the participants came from local veterinary clinics in each of the regions. 

The courses were presented by a combination of local Agriculture Victoria district veterinary officers, alongside a pathologist from Agriculture Victoria’s state laboratory Agribio, which is located in Bundoora, Melbourne. 

The courses have a strong practical theme, with veterinarians getting hands on experience in learning new techniques and procedures, as well as a refresher on some of their existing skills and knowledge.  

Agriculture Victoria has been running ADI courses for over 10 years, training upwards of 50 private veterinarians a year, and in doing so strengthening the skills of Victoria’s veterinary profession and overall biosecurity preparedness for emergency animal diseases. 

Report any unusual signs or suspected cases of emergency animal disease immediately to the Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

To learn more about emergency animal diseases go to our webpage.

Get into AgSTEM program in full swing for school year
Students with Ag Vic staff members

Horsham College Year 12 Biology students with Agriculture Victoria Community Education Officer Casey Hamilton-Bayly.

Agriculture Victoria’s free Get into AgSTEM education program is underway with schools across the state participating.

Agriculture Victoria Community Education Manager, Anna-Leisa Vietz, said the suite of practical and hands-on free workshops is popular with schools because it links directly to the Victorian school curriculum.

‘Our Get into AgSTEM workshops are suitable for students from Grade 5 through to VCE and our delivery model is very flexible,’ said Anna-Leisa.

‘We can deliver them from AgriBio, our main research centre in Bundoora, or any of our regional SmartFarms with some select workshops available online.’

Students visiting our research centres gain firsthand experience in a professional research facility where science and technology are applied to agricultural scenarios.

‘Our workshops can also be incorporated into events such as the Local Learning and Employment Network (LLEN) events, STEM Idols in Mildura, or the upcoming Food and Fibre Day in Dookie.

‘The feedback is always excellent as students enjoy using hi-tech tools and discovering how our scientists conduct research.

‘At our Horsham SmartFarm recently, we ran “Get into Digital Agriculture” for Murtoa College’s Year 11 Agriculture Science class and a “Get into Genes – PCR” workshop for Horsham College’s Year 12 Biology class,’ said Anna-Leisa.

Get into Digital Agriculture explores how remote sensing technology can be used to collect, upload and analyse farm related data. Students assemble soil moisture sensors and use python programming language to access and analyse data.

Get into Genes – PCR is a Year 12 level workshop where students learn how on-farm efficiency is improved using DNA related techniques and applications. Students practise pipetting for DNA replication and interpretation of DNA profiles.

For more information on the Get into AgSTEM programs, visit or email

Private vets are part of the puzzle
Dr Matt Boon with cows

When Dr Matt Boon from Prime Livestock Veterinary Services put his hand up to work on emergency animal disease outbreaks, he did it with the bigger picture in mind.

‘As advocates for the Australian livestock industry, livestock vets like me have a moral obligation to step up and give a hand’.

Matt operates a mobile livestock service in the north-east and signed up to join Agriculture Victoria’s Emergency Veterinary Response Team last year.

In February, Matt was deployed to support an emergency anthrax response and worked alongside a team of animal health and welfare staff to vaccinate livestock for anthrax in the Shepparton region.

‘I came away from the experience with a deeper insight into what goes into an emergency disease response and the challenges that come with managing an outbreak’.

‘It was very different work to what private vets are usually doing day-to-day on farms. It was rewarding to work alongside government vets and to better understand the role they play for the industry,’ Matt said.

To respond to the challenges of future emergency animal disease outbreaks, we need more private vets like Matt to be part of the puzzle.

‘I’d encourage other private vets out there to get involved! If you can spare the time, there’s nothing to lose and so much to gain. I’m certainly glad I put my hand up to be involved’. 

Share your expertise, learn new skills and help protect our agricultural sector and communities.

Casual employment is available as an emergency response veterinary officer and veterinary businesses can sign up via service level agreements. 

To find out more, visit

Celebrate the vital role bees play in global food systems
A bee on a flower

May 20 marks the seventh annual World Bee Day, and this year’s focus is on the vital role bees play in global food production.

Wheen Bee Foundation CEO Fiona Chambers says while many people have some understanding of the importance of bees, most don’t know the true extent to which we depend on bees for the food we eat every day.

'Most people know bees play a role in food production, but few know the sheer scale of their contribution,' Ms Chambers said.

'Here in Australia, at least 53 crops rely to some extent on bees. These include almonds, avocados, apples, berries, stone fruit and carrot, but also oilseeds such as canola, and legumes like clover and lucerne that feed farm livestock.

'Often when you sit down for dinner, the whole plate will have some link to bees.'

This year World Bee Day will see a host of events and activities taking place in communities across Australia, focused on the 2024 theme – Celebrating bees and their vital role in global food production systems.

'There are lots of ways to get involved, whether it’s joining a webinar, visiting a farmers’ market, taking part in a community gardening session or simply talking to friends and family about the importance of bees,' Ms Chambers said.

A first for this year’s calendar is the Great Bee Morning Tea. Communities, schools and businesses are encouraged to show their support for Australia’s beekeepers by hosting a morning tea with cakes, cookies and other sweet treats all made with 100% pure Australian honey.

'Beyond the honey they produce, beekeepers deliver vital pollination services to some of our biggest crops,' Ms Chambers said.

'By buying 100% Australian honey you are not only supporting Australian beekeepers but the many Australian businesses that rely upon them.'

As part of the World Bee Day festivities, The Wheen Bee Foundation has again partnered with the Australian Farmers’ Markets Association for the Bring Your Buzz campaign, which encourages people to wear yellow to their local farmers’ markets and buy food from producers who value the role bees play in their production.

Celebrations at farmers’ markets run from Saturday 18 May to Sunday 26 May.

Anyone interested in hosting an event for World Bee Day is encouraged to register their event for free online at the World Bee Day website.

For more information visit

The latest Victorian Biosecurity Matters e-newsletter
A pig looking at the camera. The text reads: Victorian Biosecurity Matters. Subscribe.

The latest edition of our Victorian Biosecurity Matters e-newsletter is out now.

In this edition: 

  • our new podcast season 
  • Timor Leste visit highlights 
  • find out more about avian influenza 
  • new pest partnership grant recipients 
  • bee pest blitz 
  • biosecurity in the news. 

Sound good? Read it now and subscribe here.

Trace the origin of your cherries from tree to table
Cherry traceability QR code

In our Cherries Traceability Pilot, a partnership between Agriculture Victoria and Cherry Growers Australia, we’re applying unique GS1 Digital Link enabled QR codes to individual cherry boxes consumers and supply chain partners can scan, verify and get information at their fingertips.

You can be confident knowing you are buying Australian and the best cherries our growers have to offer.

Discover more by scanning the QR code or via this link.

Play the game and see if you can beat our current top score of 117!

Applications for Livestock Advisory Committees close Sunday!
A group of sheep. The text reads: applications open for Livestock Advisory Committees

Are you a skilled sheep, goat or cattle industry professional looking to grow your networks?

The Sheep and Goat and Cattle Compensation Advisory Committees are recruiting!

We’re looking for applicants with knowledge across a range of expertise including:

  • the sheep, goat or cattle allied industries, including across the supply chain
  • biosecurity or market access
  • quality assurance and food safety
  • finance, legal practice or business management
  • agricultural, animal or veterinary science
  • public policy.

For more details and to apply visit the Ag Vic website.

Episode 4: Buying and selling livestock 101 with Ben Fahy
Three white alpaca in a trailer. One is jumping out of the back of the trailer onto grass.

There are many things for small landholders to consider when buying and selling livestock that can be a little confusing.

Terms like PICS, NLIS and records are new for people stepping into the world of small landholding. 

In this episode, Ben Fahy, Livestock Traceability Manager with Agriculture Victoria, helps simplify the requirements for buying and selling livestock in Victoria.

Listen to Biosecurity Basics via the AgVic website. 

Episode 10: What does recovery look like? with Sally Cunningham, Brett Davison and Brad Costin
Episode 10: What does recovery look like? with Sally Cunningham, Brett Davison and Brad Costin

The effects of a disaster are felt long after the event.

Agriculture Victoria along with other agencies are there at the start of emergencies and in for the long haul to help farmers with recovery for months after the event.

This has been the case for Agriculture Victoria Recovery Managers Brad Costin and Brett Davidson, and National Centre for Farmer Health Flood Recovery Manager Sally Cunningham. Hear their stories of recovery and resilience in working to support farmers in ag recovery.

Listen via the AgVic website.

Fox and wild dog bounty

Victoria’s bounty collections resumed on 4 March 2024.

Please continue to check our website for the latest information, collection centres and dates.

Click here.

For any assistance, please speak to our bounty collection staff on collection days or call our customer service centre on 136 186.

Free financial counselling with RFCS
A person standing in a paddock looking at the sunset. The text reads free financial counselling with the Rural Financial Counselling Service. 1300 771 741.

Have you been impacted by recent floods, storms, fires or dry seasonal conditions?

The Rural Financial Counselling Service provides a free and confidential financial counselling service to eligible farmers and small related enterprises who are experiencing, or at risk of, financial hardship.

They can help you to access available support, analyse your business situation, negotiate with lenders and develop strategies to improve your financial position. 

To find your closest service visit the Rural Financial Counselling Service website or call 1300 771 741.

In case you missed it
Image of a sunset with the text 'in case you missed it'

Book early for Ballarat sheep and beef conferences

Early bird tickets are now available for BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef conferences to be held on 19 and 20 June in Ballarat, at The Goods Shed.

Agriculture Victoria Senior Specialist, Lyndon Kubeil said this was the first time since 2019 that the two conferences would be held together and in the new location of Ballarat.

Read the full media release here.

Workshops to support Gippsland farmers

Farmers in East Gippsland and the Bass Coast wanting to be better equipped to manage the impacts of drought and a changing climate are encouraged to register for 2 upcoming Farm Business Resilience Program workshops.

Read the full media release here.

What's on
Image of a group of people at an event in a green paddock listening to a presenter with the text 'what's on: online and on-farm events'

Details about Agriculture Victoria events can be found in one spot on our website. Log on to the Events page to keep in touch with upcoming events.

Farm Business Resilience Program workshops - East Gippsland and Bass Coast

Register now for our free Farm Business Resilience Program workshops.

These sessions, created in partnership with ION Group, are designed to better prepare farmers for and to manage risk, adapt to change, and strengthen their farm businesses.

Topics include:

  • Business planning and risk management
  • Farm finances and profitable decision making 
  • Managing people on farm, farm safety and wellbeing
  • Climate adaptation and natural resource improvement including soil, water, crops and pastures.
Cows in a paddock. The text reads: farm business resilience workshop, Bass Coast.

As part of the program, participants will have access to a one-on-one with a professional to develop their farm business plan.

  • Monday 20 to Wednesday 22 May - block two.

Register for the Bass Coast sessions here.

Farm Business Resilience Workshop, East Gippsland

As part of the program, participants will have access to a one-on-one with a professional to develop their farm business plan.

  • Monday 27 to Wednesday 29 May - block one
  • Monday 17 to Wednesday 19 June - block two.

Register for the East Gippsland sessions here. 

Rabobank Financial Skills Workshops

These interactive workshops will provide practical, hands-on advice for understanding financial statements and banking requirements and explore topics such as taxation versus management accounting, essential business management ratios and understanding key components of a business’s financial profile. 


  • Thursday 16 May – 8:30 am – 3:30 pm – Warragul
  • Friday 17 May – 8:30 am – 3:30 pm – Leongatha.

Register your place here.
You do not need to be a Rabobank client to attend.

Morning tea and lunch provided.

Export Development Programme
Export Development Programme

Ready to grow your agri-food and beverage business by exploring export opportunities but not sure where to start? Join us for a free Export Development Programme! 

Agriculture Victoria's Pathways to Export is partnering with Export Connect to deliver a series of in-person Masterclass Workshops in Gippsland and Melbourne and online Export Strategy Webinars. 

In-person sessions: 

  • Friday 17 May – 9 am – 4 pm, Morwell Innovation Centre, 1 Monash Way, Morwell
  • Friday 24 May – 9 am – 4 pm, Agriculture Victoria Attwood Centre, 475-485 Mickleham Rd. 


  • Market Entry Strategy: Tuesday 14 May – 2 pm – 4 pm
  • Export Pricing: Tuesday 21 May – 2 pm – 4 pm 
  • Pitch Development: Tuesday 28 May – 2 pm – 4 pm  
  • International Buyer and Exporter Panel: Tuesday 4 June – 2 pm – 4 pm.

Register for one or more sessions here.

Stock Sense Sheep and Goat Workshop

When: Friday May 31, 9:15 am – 1:30 pm
Where: 10 Stones Road, Dollar, South Gippsland 

Led by a veteran farmer, Martin Stone, and experienced East Gippsland vet, Dr Alison Gunn, explore everything relating to sheep and goat essentials — from welfare and biosecurity to feed and fencing — equipping you with the knowledge to ensure your farm thrives.

As a bonus, witness a live working dog demo and engage in discussions about the role of the working dog on smaller farms.

Topics covered:

  • Learn to condition score your sheep
  • Sheep and goat husbandry fundamentals
  • Pre and post lambing all you need to know
  • Working dog demonstration and discussion.

Admission is free, with lunch provided so registration is essential.

Register here.

For further inquiries, please contact Stock Sense on

Best Wool/Best Lamb and BetterBeef industry conference and dinner
Save the date information for the Best Wool/Best Lamb and BetterBeef conference and dinner

Early bird tickets are now available for BestWool/BestLamb and BetterBeef conferences!

Early bird tickets will close on Friday 31 May.

Secure your early bird tickets here.

The Best Wool/Best Lamb and BetterBeef conference will be held over 2 days, 19 and 20 June in Ballarat. 

Stay up to date via our events page.

Southern Australia Livestock Research Council Livestock Conference
Sheep in a paddock. The text reads: save the date: livestock 2024 conference.

Livestock 2024 is the third biennial conference delivered by SALRC. This year's theme is environmental challenges and opportunities for Australian livestock industries.

Location: Atura Hotel, Albury NSW. 

Date: Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 August.

Tickets on sale soon. 

Click here to register for conference updates.

Subscribe to Gippsland Ag News

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Contacting Agriculture Victoria

Call 136 186 from anywhere in Australia for the cost of a local call (except for mobiles and public telephones).

If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment contact the National Relay Service on 133 677 or

All contact points can be found at:

Don't forget to check out Agriculture Victoria's social media sites for up-to-date information and news.


'Like' our Agriculture Victoria Facebook page.


Follow us on X (formerly Twitter) @VicGovAg


Subscribe to the Agriculture Victoria YouTube channel. 


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