1. The smart word is to get in early with 2011-12 FarmReady Reimbursement Grants

The FarmReady Reimbursement Grants program will recommence from 1 July 2011 for the 2011-12, when FarmReady will be expanded to include training courses in agritourism and food tourism.

Last year (2010-11), the available funding ran out before the end of the year and with the same amount of money available next year plus expanded course offerings, we think the smart word is to get any applications in early.

Eligible participants for the FarmReady Reimbursement Grants are able to claim up to $1,500 per financial year to attend FarmReady approved courses, with additional funding available for associated reasonable travel, accommodation and childcare expenses.

Approved courses and course providers can be found on www.farmready.gov.au

If you wish to considered for a FarmReady Reimbursement Grant, contact the training provider to confirm the course is relevant to your needs, including dates and location of the course. Complete and submit an Application form for FarmReady Reimbursement Grant to the Program Administrator prior to commencing the course. Completed forms must be submitted at least five (5) working days prior to course commencement for processing. A pre-approval notification will be issued to you via email or fax, within 5 working days of receiving your form. You must be pre-approved before attending the course or you may not be eligible to claim your reimbursement.

WFA’s Manager Natural Resources, Jonathan Green, has informed us that the Entwine training is FarmReady approved and consistent with the advice here about getting in early, he notes that this training is the initial part of gaining Entwine membership and once trained, there is no requirement to go on to the audit or join Entwine within any set time period. Hence, getting in early on the training, with costs reimbursed, is a good idea if growers are contemplating Entwine.

2. VineBiz is now FarmReady approved

WGGA’s VineBiz program is now FarmReady approved for courses running from 1 July 2011 (see preceding note).

Mary Retallack is the approved trainer and the course ID number is FRTCO961.

The course description and contact details will be published on the FarmReady Reimbursement Grants website at www.farmready.gov.au, look up ‘WGGA’s VineBiz Program’.

3. GWRDC initiatives following up on the 2011 horror harvest

Firstly, in collaboration with Peter Magarey, GWRDC has prepared a factsheet which has some important information about the post-harvest management of key diseases (Downy, Powdery and Bunch Rots) and what to concentrate on early next season. It also highlights some information on the weather outlook for next growing season via the Bureau of Meteorology.

Any questions about this material can be directed to Mark Krstic via email ([email protected]) or phone 0437 325 438.

Secondly, the GWRDC and AWRI have prepared a detailed online Pest and Disease survey, which aims to capture what winegrape growers experienced in the 2010-11 season and how they dealt with it. They want to be sure that successful practices are captured for future benefit. The results of the survey will be presented at Industry Pest and Disease debrief sessions as listed below and shared with relevant organisations and associations.

Adelaide on Wed 15-Thur 16 June, Charles Hawker Conference Centre, Waite Campus

Melbourne on Mon 20-Tue 21 June, Melbourne Airport Motel and Convention Centre, Attwood

Mildura on Wed 22-Thur 23 June, Settlers Tavern

The survey can be done on-line and will take about 20 minutes to complete with responses due by COB Friday 13 May 2011. The link to the survey is https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2010_11Review

Questions can be directed to Mark Krstic ([email protected]) on (08) 8273 0500 or Marcel Essling ([email protected]) on (08) 8303 6600

4. Applications for the Australian Rural Leadership Program are now open

Applications are now open for Course 19 of the Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) which commences in May 2012. The Application Form and directions on how to apply can be found on the Foundation’s website www.rural-leaders.com.au or can be obtained from the Foundation by email: [email protected] or phone: (02) 6281 0680

The ARLP’s principal objective are to improve the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of rural Australia by investing in leadership development. It does this by seeking highly motivated people already actively involved in their industries and communities, but who have a commitment and capacity to take on higher leadership roles.

Through interaction with key people in industry, government and community from Australia and overseas, the ARLP builds future leaders through exposure to real issues that are critical to rural Australia’s industries and communities. It challenges participants to develop the skills and knowledge and the networks essential to effective leadership. The program is hands-on and demanding and comprises some 59 days over a 17-month period. It involves a combination of workshops, discussions and outdoor education conducted both interstate and overseas.

Applications close on 31 July 2011.

Mary Retallack, a graduate of Course 15 has described the program as a fantastic opportunity for wine industry people and is happy to chat to anybody who may be interested (Mary’s phone 08 8339 3324). Mary is also a graduate of the industry’s own Future Leaders Program and can talk about that program – share and compare!

5. DAFF is promoting diversity in decision-making bodies

We have been asked by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Senator the Hon Joe Ludwig – to assist with the Department’s priority of promoting diversity in the membership of agriculture, fisheries and forestry decision-making bodies.

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry has a register of people who have skills and experience in the agriculture, fisheries and food sectors and who are interested in positions on government bodies such as advisory committees and councils, statutory boards and task forces. The targets for the register are women, young people, indigenous Australians, and people with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Further information is available at http://www.daff.gov.au/about/portfolio_agencies/balance-database or by emailing [email protected]