It is expected that North Queensland cane farmer group Invicta Combined Growers’ Organisation (ICGO) will become AgForce Cane before the end of the month.
ICGO members have formally voted to join AgForce, ratifying their initial request made in February.
Last week, AgForce’s Board decided to adopt cane as its fourth commodity, a decision endorsed by its Finance, Risk and Audit Committee after a thorough review confirmed the arrangement would offer improved outcomes for existing commodities and their members.
ICGO* will transition to become AgForce Cane, retaining its Chairman, Board, Manager and staff. Chairman Ricky Mio will assume the role of President of the Cane Commodity Board and have a seat on the AgForce Board.
Mr Mio said he and fellow members were excited about being part of a movement that would bring cane farmers’ interests into line with those of the current commodities and add value to all members’ operations.
“AgForce’s member-driven focus will ensure cane farmers can make their views known fearlessly to all levels of government without external influences or being stifled by an inefficient bureaucracy,” Mr Mio said.
“The last two-and-a-half months have confirmed for ICGO that AgForce’s values are closely aligned with our own, a view first formed while working together against the introduction of the Reef Regulations in 2019.
“AgForce Cane will continue to provide the responsiveness and representation currently offered by ICGO with additional layers of support such as corporate member benefits like Toyota discounts.
“As many of us look to diversify – including into cattle and cereal crops in which AgForce is truly expert – this will do much to advance and ‘future proof’ our farming operations.”
AgForce General President Georgie Somerset said she was thrilled to welcome cane farmers into the AgForce family and looked forward to the prospect of a stronger, more united voice for Queensland’s primary producers.
“Overwhelmingly, our members have demonstrated their support for this opportunity to make our organisation so much more powerful,” Mrs Somerset said.
“I reckon 80 to 90 per cent of the members that I and the Board have spoken to during our open-ended consultation are behind this move and believe it will create a stronger organisation.”
AgForce Cane will continue ICGO’s drive to attract new members, offering memberships to cane farmers supplying Wilmar’s six mills in the Burdekin and Herbert – representing around 40 per cent of Australia’s cane crush.
From the 2021 crushing season, AgForce Cane will offer membership to all farmers supplying Wilmar mills – including Plane Creek and Proserpine – and from the 2022 season to any Queensland cane farmer.
* ICGO is a public company limited by guarantee