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Gippsland Ag New banner; black angus beef cows looking directly
Thursday 21 March 2024
In this edition:
Mirboo North residents invited to discuss 13 February storms

Communities and businesses in Mirboo North are invited to discuss their experience with power outages from the 13 February storm event.

Where: Baromi Centre, 38 Couper Street, Mirboo North 

When: Saturday 23 March and Sunday 24 March, from 10 am to 3 pm, with panel presentations at 11 am and 1 pm each day.

Refreshments will be provided.

The panel includes former CEO of Energy Consumers Australia Rosemary Sinclair, former chief executive of the Consumer Action Law Centre Gerard Brody, and former electrical engineer and executive leader at Powerlink Queensland and Energex Kevin Kehl.

Please email if you have any questions.

Recovery assistance – 13 February storms 

The cumulative impacts of floods and more recently storms across Gippsland in the past few months has proved challenging for the farming community.

Agriculture Victoria is continuing to support farmers with advice, referrals, and practical support.

Gippsland farmers who have experienced impacts from severe weather events can contact the Agriculture Recovery team on 0427 694 185 or at for assistance or advice, including technical support. 

When phoning or emailing, please provide details that include a contact name, phone number and locality, with a brief statement about the nature of your concerns, so an appropriate member of the Agriculture Recovery Team can contact you. 

Farmers who have urgent animal welfare needs should contact the VicEmergency Hotline on 136 186.

It's never you, until it is
An empty cattle yard with a boot and hat on the ground. There is police tape on the fence. The text reads: It's never you, until it is.

Farmers urged to stay alert to risks of fatigue.

Sheep and cropping farmer Jack Armstrong knows that in agriculture it pays to be proactive with safety, particularly when it comes to managing the risks of fatigue during peak periods.

Read the media release here.

Applications open for new members to join Victoria’s Biosecurity Reference Group

Agriculture Victoria is renewing and expanding the membership of the Biosecurity Reference Group (BRG). Members of the group will help guide the implementation of Victoria’s new Biosecurity Strategy, including where and how effort and resources will be invested.   

We are looking for diverse expertise from across Victoria’s biosecurity system, including Traditional Owners, the agricultural sector, supply chains, community and environment.  

Applications close 5 pm Wednesday 3 April.

Download the terms of reference and complete the application form here.

Facial eczema awareness
Facial eczema awareness

Very high facial eczema spore counts are currently being reported in West Gippsland and the Macalister Irrigation District.

Now is the time to take urgent preventative measures to protect your milking herd and dry stock. Contact your veterinarian or nutrition advisor about your farm's specific risk and prevention options.

For more information on facial eczema, monitoring your own pasture spore counts, and facial eczema prevention, visit the GippsDairy website.

Episode 5: Overcoming tragedy and shifting attitudes with Brad McEwan
Episode 5: Overcoming tragedy and shifting attitudes with Brad McEwan

Your mental health is important.

Some days are better than others, and we all need a helping hand sometimes.

Beyond Blue Ambassador, Brad McEwan, discusses how personal trauma can be the hardest part of recovering from a disaster and why a sense of community is important on this road to recovery.

Listen via the AgVic website.

Future of Victoria's distillery industry in safe hands

Aspiring Victorian distillers now have the opportunity to benefit from a new pilot training program focused on cutting edge distillation techniques and industry safety as part of the $20 million Distillery Door Program.

The $1.2 million pilot education pathway for distillers is being delivered by the National Distilling Institute in collaboration with the Spirits Victoria Association and the Australian Distillers Association. The initial courses will be a Certificate IV in Artisan Fermented Products and micro-credential courses for safety in distilleries.

The first session was held at Starward Distillery in Port Melbourne recently and will be followed by sessions at regional distilleries in Geelong, Ballarat, Mornington and the High Country throughout April.

Over the next 18 months, the first round of students will complete up to 22 different subjects where they will gain expertise in areas ranging from how to blend spirits and filter fermented beverages, to how to perform basic safety tests and control food contamination and spoilage.

Further development will involve a Certificate III in Food Processing (Distilling) and funding of up to $2000 per distillery for staff to attend other micro-credential courses.

Victoria is the distillery capital of the nation with more than 180 distillers that employ over 9,000 people in rewarding jobs across regional and metropolitan Victoria.

This program is part of the $20 million Distillery Door Program which promotes Victoria’s world-class distilling industry through supporting skills development, boosting visitor economy, improving infrastructure and safety, and increasing export capability.

Reminder – phaseout of 3G network
agcloud gateway cameras

Victorian farmers are reminded of the upcoming phase out of the 3G network.

Starting from 30 June the 3G network will be phased out in rural Victoria. 

If you use devices that rely on a 3G SIM card for connectivity, it's important to understand how this may impact your farm operations. 

Reach out to your technology providers to ensure your devices are compatible with the upcoming changes. 

Stay ahead of the transition to ensure seamless connectivity on your farm.

AgTech Innovators season 2, episode 3: Adventures in AgTech with Sarah Nolet
AgTech Innovators podcast. Adventures in AgTech with Sarah Nolet

When Tenacious Ventures make an investment, they consider three crucial factors: the team, the technology, and the traction. 

Co-founder Sarah Nolet says assessing these elements can be challenging, however, if they make the right choices, it can have a significant impact on the success of an AgTech startup.

Listen online via the AgVic website.

The Horticultural Netting Program
Nets over an orchard

Grants of up to $150,000 are available to eligible producers of commercial horticulture crops, excluding wine grapes, to purchase and install new netting over established production areas. 

The program now includes a self-installation allowance if you wish to self-install netting.

Applications close 8 April.

For more information about the program visit the Horticultural Netting Grants for Victorian Horticulturalists page on our website. 

This program is delivered by the Victorian Government on behalf of the Australian Government.

Consultation on animal welfare laws closing soon
A blue background with the V for Victoria made out of various animals. The text reads Help shape Victoria's new animal care and protection laws.

The Victorian Government has extended the consultation period on the draft Bill for the new animal care and protection laws.

Victorians now have until Monday 25 March to have their say on the Bill – which will replace the current Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA Act).

Executive Director of Animal Welfare Victoria, Dr Trevor Pisciotta, said the extension gives interested people and organisations more time to make a submission, following recent extreme weather events.

‘We’ve been committed to engaging with key stakeholders and the Victorian community throughout these reforms – this is the third and final round of consultation.’

‘Regional communities have already strongly influenced the form of the Draft Bill, which will help to maintain the trust of our trading partners, consumers and the community in Victoria’s animal-based activities and industries’, Dr Pisciotta said.

In addition to the 3 consultation rounds, Agriculture Victoria has consulted with more than 50 organisations representing people involved with animals or with an interest in animals and the law. The feedback has been carefully considered and contributed to the reform process to date.

Dr Pisciotta said the POCTA Act is nearly 40 years old and does not always reflect current community expectations, developments in animal science or changing industry practices.

‘Demonstrating a high standard of animal welfare is critical in supporting Victorian industries to maintain access to important markets. For most Victorians, there will be no major changes to the way they operate daily.’

‘These laws will strengthen Victoria’s reputation as a humane and responsible producer of food – while being fit-for-purpose for modern day farming practices’, Dr Pisciotta said.

Key changes include minimum standards of care and requirements around husbandry procedures – which already feature in the existing codes of practice and Australian Standards and Guidelines for Animal Welfare.

The proposed laws recognise animal sentience – that animals can have positive and negative experiences. Being explicit about this won't change how Victorians need to treat their animals, or whether they can be owned or used by humans. It won't create any legal rights for third parties, and it won't give animals legal rights.

Dr Pisciotta encourages interested community members, groups and organisations to make a submission and complete a survey about future regulations.

‘Please visit the Engage Victoria website, where you will find supporting materials to help you make a submission, including a guide to the draft Bill and a list of Frequently Asked Questions,’ Dr Pisciotta said.

For more information and to make a submission visit

Additional support available for timber communities

Additional support is being provided through the Forestry Transition Program to East Gippsland communities impacted by the end of native timber harvesting in Victoria.

Although native timber supply officially ended on 1 January 2024, the programs and support for timber workers, businesses and communities continues.

As part of that support, a new Forestry Information Coordinator is now based at Orbost to provide an additional point of contact for the local community.

Native timber workers, businesses and community members can contact Forestry Information Coordinator, Cory Lindfield, for assistance with:

  • information about forestry transition programs and progress of initiatives for workers and businesses
  • information about community transition opportunities underway in East Gippsland and how they can get involved
  • information about business transition programs, including the Transition Fund.

For more information visit or contact Cory Lindfield during business hours Monday to Friday on 0400 776 040.

Gippsland farm forestry grants are now available

The Victorian Government is again offering grants to landholders in Gippsland to assist in establishing trees for timber, as part of a broader program to encourage and support the establishment and management of plantations on farms to contribute to future timber supply.

Timber plantations can be established as woodlots, shelterbelts or wide-spaced plantings (or any combination of these) and be ideally placed within the context of a whole farm plan.

The minimum eligible plantation establishment area for a grant application is 3 hectares.

An opportunity also exists to apply for a one-off consultancy grant, to assist landholders should they require specialised and specific advice in designing and planning a plantation establishment project.

Grant applications opened on 4 March 2024 and will close on 7 March 2025.

During this open period, grants will be assessed and administered with the interested landholders progressively.

If you’re involved in a group or organisation (eg. Landcare) and would like more information about the grants or farm forestry generally, one of our Farm Forestry Officers would be delighted to present in a group setting. 

Further information, including grant forms and guidelines is available at the VicForests website and on request via email

Fox and wild dog bounty resumes
A fox. The text reads: fox and wild dog bounty resumes. Victoria's bounty collections will resume on 4 March 2024.

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'

Modernising student experience for future farmers

The Victorian Government is helping more Victorians pursue a career in agriculture through the $50 million Agricultural College Modernisation Program.

Read the full media release here.

Fall armyworm commands growers' attention

Victorian agronomists and growers should be vigilant in crop surveillance for Fall armyworm (FAW), following the impacts the pest is having on crops in Queensland.

Fall armyworm has rapidly spread across Australia after being found in Queensland in January 2020 and is now established in New South Wales, Northern Territory, Western Australia and parts of Victoria.

Read the full media release here.

Churchill Fellowships 2024 open now

Churchill Fellowships for 2024 opened on 1 March, offering people the opportunity to travel overseas for four to eight weeks to explore a topic or issue that they’re passionate about, and come back and share knowledge to improve their community.

Applications close 1 May at 5 pm.

Read more here.

Cat desexing grants for Victorian councils now open

The Victorian Government has committed $300,000 to run a trial program to increase cat desexing rates, address cat over-population and support vulnerable cat owners.

Councils can now apply for grants of up to $25,000 to deliver targeted cat desexing programs within their community.

Read the full media release here.

Expanded eligibility for power outage payments

The Australian and Victorian governments will continue to support Victorians impacted by severe weather this summer.

The eligibility criteria for the Prolonged Power Outage Payments (PPOP) is being extended to reflect the unique nature of 2 extreme storm events in short succession.

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.

Come say hi at Farm World
A painted cow sculpture standing in a paddock, there is a group of black cows behind a fence.

When: Friday 22 to Sunday 24 March, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm

Where: Lardner Park. 

Drop past the General Interest Pavilion, we will be at sites 19 - 21 and 47- 48. 

Chat with us about: 

  • farm biosecurity and emergency animal diseases such as foot-and-mouth disease
  • on-farm biosecurity management plans -  pick up a biosecurity sign
  • climate resilience and recovery
  • farm safety.

Receive a free Health and Lifestyle Assessment from the National Centre for Farmer Health or learn about Q Fever from staff from the Gippsland Region Public Health Unit.

Southern Rural Water, Rural Financial Counselling Services and Services Australia will also be on site.

Check out our sheep biosecurity art sculpture painted by Melbourne artist, Joy Chiang, and our cow art sculpture painted by Mornington Peninsula artist, Claire Taylor

Fire and gorse webinar
Landcare webinar - fire and gorse

Register now for the upcoming Landcare webinar on fire and gorse, delivered in collaboration with DEECA, CFA and the Victorian Gorse Taskforce. 

When: Tuesday 26 March - 5.30 to 7 pm

Register here.

The presentation will cover:

  • What exactly is gorse and where does it thrive?
  • Legal obligations surrounding gorse management
  • Understanding the fire risk associated with gorse
  • Effective control strategies for gorse control and/or eradication
  • Real-life case studies illustrating successful interventions.
Carbon Accounting with Richard Eckard
Carbon accounting workshop with Richard Eckard

Calling beef and sheep producers - join Gippsland Agricultural Group for this workshop on the MLA Carbon Emissions Calculator with Richard Eckard. 

When: Tuesday 26 March, 9 am to 4 pm

Where: Wellington Shire Offices, Level 2, 70 Foster Street Sale.

Register here.

East Gippsland Field Days
Our sheep biosecurity art sculpture painted by Melbourne artist, Joy Chiang, standing in a green paddock.

When: Friday 5 and Saturday 6 April 

Where: Bairnsdale Aerodrome. 

Find out more here.

Come chat with us about farm business planning, irrigation, farm biosecurity and emergency animal diseases, climate resilience and recovery, and farm safety.

Learn about Q Fever from staff from the Gippsland Region Public Health Unit, chat with team members from GippsDairy and talk to members from Rural Financial Counselling Services.

Come and see our sheep biosecurity art sculpture painted by Melbourne artist, Joy Chiang.

Farm environmental tracker workshop

GippsDairy, in partnership with Saputo, is running a series of workshops to deliver the Farm Environmental Tracker tool.

This program assists farmers to understand, benchmark and action improvement on their farms environmental performance by covering a range of topics from animals to energy to effluent and biodiversity.

When: Thursday 2 May, 10 am - 2 pm

Where: Agriculture Victoria, 1301 Hazeldean Road, Ellinbank.

Register here.

Dairy innovation open day

Discover the future of farming at the Dairy Innovation Open Day, hosted at Agriculture Victoria's Ellinbank Research Farm.

Immerse yourself in the latest state-of-the-art research focused on farmers, and learn about animal feeding and nutrition, soil and pasture management, and on-farm climate adaptation from the experts themselves.

Not only will you gain invaluable knowledge, but you'll also have the opportunity to connect with other farmers, industry professionals, and suppliers.

When: Thursday 9 May, 8:30 am - 3 pm 

Where: Agriculture Victoria, 1301 Hazeldean Road, Ellinbank.

Register here.

2024 Landcare forum

The 2024 Landcare forum will take place on Wednesday 8, Thursday 9 and Friday 10 May in Bendigo.

Find out more here.

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

Save the date!

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

Further details to come. 

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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).

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All contact points can be found at:

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