The AgForce Board has decided in-principle to introduce cane as the peak body’s fourth commodity – subject to several prerequisites.
One of these prerequisites is that members of Invicta Combined Growers’ Organisation (ICGO) – which asked AgForce to add a cane commodity earlier in the year – vote in support of the arrangement at a member meeting next Thursday.
General President Georgie Somerset said that if all conditions were met and ICGO members supported the arrangement, ICGO would transition to become AgForce Cane and its members join as the founding cane cohort.
“This is a significant decision for AgForce, the first time since our establishment in 1999 that we have decided to introduce a new commodity,” Mrs Somerset said.
“The issue was considered very thoroughly, with benefit to our existing members at the forefront of our deliberations.
“We undertook an honest and comprehensive conversation with members and industry, and are confident that the overwhelming majority of our members support the move and the very real benefits it will afford.
“However, we do acknowledge this view wasn’t unanimous and we listened to and respect the opinions of all who contributed to the conversation.
“All I can ask is that these people ‘keep the faith’ with their organisation that has stood by them for more than 20 years and participate with an open mind as we journey together.
“The second most important factor was the opportunities the proposal offered for a strengthened voice to speak on behalf of agriculture to the community and our Governments.”
Mrs Somerset said another prerequisite was a positive review by the three current Commodity Board Presidents – Will Wilson (Cattle), Alan Rae (Sheep & Wool) and Brendan Taylor (Grains) – to ensure that the proposed structure does not dilute AgForce’s capabilities and services offered to existing commodities.
“If this proposal proceeds, AgForce Cane will be an incorporated commodity board with all the standing and autonomy of the three existing commodity boards,” she said.
“Following a transition period, it is anticipated that AgForce Cane will ultimately offer the opportunity for any Queensland cane farmer to join AgForce if they see benefit to themselves and their business.
“However, it is important we do not get ahead of ourselves. The proposal is not yet final and, if it does proceed, there are many procedural and logistic details to finalise.
“I would like to acknowledge the robust but respectful way in which our members have participated in this discussion, and also recognise the courage and vision of the Board, management and members of ICGO.”