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Rural News

Rabobank appoints new Armidale branch manager to head up New England business 

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Rabobank appoints new Armidale branch manager to head up New England business

Leading agribusiness banking specialist Rabobank has appointed Scott Neilson to head up its business in the New England region.

Based out of the Armidale branch, Mr Neilson brings extensive banking experience to the role, notching up more than three decades in financial markets in Australia and abroad.

Announcing the appointment, regional manager for northern New South Wales and southern Queensland Brad James said Mr Neilson brought a wealth of experience to the role and as “no stranger to the local area” he had a good understanding of the wool, sheep, beef and sugar sectors in which his clients operated.

“With Rabobank well established as a leading ag bank in rural Australia, Scott’s skill set is ideal for our operating model as he is passionate about agriculture and working with clients to assist them in building and expanding their farming enterprises,” he said.

Mr Neilson – who moved from Sydney, where he headed up a spot trading desk with a major retail bank, to Armidale in 2012 – said he loved the area with its genuine community.

“I was not home much in Sydney so we moved our young family up here so I could work with farmers to help manage their FX, interest rate and commodity price risk,” he said.

Melbourne-educated, Mr Neilson has had a long connection to agriculture with his father “off the land down near Hay” and close ties to the land through friends over the years, particularly at Dungog where he ran his horses.

Mr Neilson says after finishing up in the financial markets last year, he was initially hesitant to get back into banking but it was Rabobank’s global cooperative structure that drew him to the role.

“I took some time off to help a mate out with harvest by driving a chaser out at Moree, as well as a stint helping out other friends with lambmarking and cattle work,” he said.

“But I was drawn to Rabobank’s principles and values, which align with my own, as their metrics are not solely revenue generated but focussed on ensuring we have a genuine relationship with our clients, which leads to a far greater banking relationship and mutual long-term goals.”

The team-working environment was also important, he said, with Mr Neilson heading up a team of 10 agri bankers – that collectively have 173 years of experience between them – and a remit covering the cane fields on the north coast down to fine wool-breeding country at Walcha.

“The region is looking magnificent at the moment,” he said, “with full water profiles and grass up to your knees. The only thing lacking is the number of sheep and cattle on hand, and to that end we are working closely with our clients assisting them in their efforts to rebuild stock numbers.”

Mr Neilson takes on the role from previous long-standing branch manager Mike Stace who has moved with the bank to Perth.

Mr Neilson joins head of relationship manager for northern New South Wales and southern Queensland Nick Pearce in the Armidale branch as well as rural managers Kyle McDonald (based in Inverell), Duncan Whan, Ben Muirhead, Charles Hope (based in Lismore), Donna Matheson and Michael Clark and analysts Megan Kliendienst, Jenny Brown, George Sedgwick and Anna Hoy.

To contact Scott Neilson or Rabobank Armidale please call 02 6738 7300 or 0418 902 743.

Local News

Reflections Holidays and OzFish Embark on NSW Community Roadshow Partnership

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Reflections Holidays and OzFish Embark on NSW Community Roadshow Partnership

 

Reflections Holidays, the premier holiday park and adventure camping group in NSW, has initiated a statewide roadshow to announce its collaboration with OzFish and unveil its refreshed identity.

Marking a pioneering partnership between Reflections, the sole holiday park group in Australia certified as a social enterprise, and OzFish, the nation’s sole fishing conservation charity, this alliance aims to identify projects enhancing fish habitats within Reflections Holiday parks across NSW.

Kicking off the roadshow at Byron Bay Reflections on Wednesday, April 3, Reflections CEO Nick Baker and OzFish Director of Habitat Programs Cassie Price launched the tour, which will traverse south along the coast to Eden and inland to engage Reflections parks and communities in promoting the OzFish program.

With the objective of aiding recreational anglers and communities in enhancing the health of rivers, lakes, and estuaries, Reflections will facilitate ‘voluntourism’ at its parks, inviting OzFish to conduct programs for habitat restoration, waterway cleanup, and sustainable angling education for future generations.

OzFish CEO Craig Copeland expressed the charity’s commitment to empowering fishers to play an active role in preserving their beloved fishing spots. “Through partnerships and community engagement, we aim to drive positive change, fostering healthier waterways and enhanced fishing experiences,” said Copeland.

Mr. Baker affirmed that the OzFish partnership would be implemented across Reflections’ 40 holiday parks, campgrounds, and 45 nature reserves across NSW.

“By leveraging OzFish’s expertise in fishing conservation, we can make a tangible difference by encouraging anglers to safeguard our waterways and initiating projects in areas requiring assistance,” Baker stated.

Celebrating a decade of operation, Reflections unveils its refreshed brand identity, transitioning from Reflections Holiday Parks to ‘Reflections Holidays.’ This rebrand underscores the company’s commitment to reimagining camping, fostering nature-centric experiences for guests, and preserving the land under its stewardship.

“Our new identity advocates for reconnecting with nature, enjoying outdoor experiences with loved ones, and contributing to the community,” Baker explained. “While we’re renowned for our campsites in stunning NSW locales, we also oversee vital community reserves, reinvesting profits to maintain these spaces for future generations.”

Reflecting on Reflections’ economic contributions, Baker highlighted a $121.5 million boost to the NSW visitor economy in the 12 months to January 31. Moreover, the company allocated $18.5 million to park renovations during the same period, benefiting both local communities and tourists.

As Reflections anticipates a 15% increase in tourist revenue in FY24, recent data from the Caravan and Camping Industry Association NSW reveal a record-breaking 5 million visitor nights recorded in the state in the 12 months to September 2023.

 

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Local News

NSW taskforce takes action to destroy tropical soda apple

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NSW taskforce takes action to destroy tropical soda apple

 

Farmers, land managers and the environment are set to benefit from the NSW Tropical Soda Apple Taskforce’s new best practice manual URL following the launch in Coffs Harbour. 

North Coast Regional Weeds Coordinator, Ashley Donges said the new manual supports the NSW Tropical Soda Apple Strategic Plan.

“The plan is to suppress, destroy and contain existing tropical soda apple infestations and rapidly eradicate all new incursions of this insidious weed,” Ashley said.

“It’s important we all work together to control and contain tropical soda apple as it has the potential to spread in coastal regions of NSW and Queensland and inland through cattle movements.”

“This new manual shows you how to identify the weed and what to do if you find it, how to control and dispose of the weed and how to stop its spread when selling, buying and transporting livestock or moving vehicles, fodder and machinery.”

The manual is a collaborative initiative delivered by the NSW Government, including NSW DPI, Local Land Services, National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Forestry Corporation of NSW, with NSW Farmers, Queensland Government, Rous County, Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour City, Bellingen Shire, Nambucca Valley, Kempsey Shire, Port Macquarie Hastings, Tenterfield Shire and Midcoast councils and the New England Weeds Authority.

Tropical soda apple is subject to a state-wide Biosecurity (Tropical Soda Apple) Control Order 2022 under the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015.

The best practice manual gives landowners information they can use to meet the requirements of the control order.

Landowners and occupiers must keep their land free from the weed and prevent further germination.

They need to ensure no part of a tropical soda apple plant which could produce a new plant, including stems, leaves, fruit, and seeds, is moved off their land, which includes movement by machinery, fodder and livestock.

Solanum viarum, is an aggressive, prickly, perennial shrub which has invaded areas from the Hunter to Northern NSW.

It invades open to semi-shaded areas, pastures and riparian zones, forests, roadsides, recreational areas, and horticultural and cropping areas. It reduces biodiversity by displacing native plants and disrupting ecological processes.

The weed grows in thorny thickets, creating physical barriers to prevent animals from accessing shade and water, hosts diseases and pests of cultivated crops and contains solasodine, which is poisonous to people.

For more information visit here.

 

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Marquis Macadamias Reveals Uplifted 2024 Price Strategy and Shareholder Dividends

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Marquis Macadamias Reveals Uplifted 2024 Price Strategy and Shareholder Dividends

 

Following the strategic restructuring that led to Marquis Macadamias Australia parting ways with its South African partner, the prominent player in the Macadamia industry disclosed its 2024 Notional Price Offer at the end of March.

The 2024 Notional Price was set at $3.20/kg, considering a 33% Premium Kernel Recovery and 10% moisture content, marking a significant increase from the 2023 Notional Price of $1.80/kg (which included a $0.10/kg Shareholder NIS bonus). Despite this increase, Marquis acknowledges the price is still lower than what is required on a long-term basis to maintain a healthy industry.

The boost in the 2024 Notional Price has been attributed to the combined impact of the improved selling prices and the marginally weaker Australian dollar, which has bolstered the valuation of exports.

“As part of our strategic efforts to elevate returns for our Shareholders, Marquis Macadamias is seising every opportunity, with a renewed focus on markets that appreciate the premium quality of Australian macadamias,” said CEO Ben Adams. “The company recognises that the pace of recovery in farm gate prices is slower than desired. Hence, it is committed to enhancing operational efficiencies and diversifying the product range to optimise Shareholder value.”, concludes Mr Adams.

Marquis has also introduced a “Variety Bonus” of $0.05/kg for growers delivering segregated A203 suitable for the Chinese NIS market, rewarding the extra effort in segregation through the harvest, processing, and transportation phases. This bonus is slated for end-of-season payment.

Mr. Adams shared insights on the sales dynamics, “Our Sales Team has reached a substantial increase in sales value for both Kernel and In-Shell products, although with slightly extended negotiations due to the revised pricing structure in 2024.”

During the 2024 Season Opening Sessions held in Lismore and Bundaberg at the end of March, Clayton Mattiazzi, Marquis Board Director and Chair, announced that a dividend of $1.00 per share will be paid to all Ordinary-class Shareholders in April.

“Our priority is to maximise returns to our Shareholders,” Mr Mattiazzi stated. “The $1.00 per share dividend reflects Marquis’ strong performance despite the adversities encountered during the 2023 Season. Thanks to increased sales and decreased inventory, the company finished the financial year in a strong working capital position, which permits the distribution of dividends to Shareholders.”

In light of an anticipated increase in the Australian crop, with forecasts suggesting an annual production of 60,000 tonnes, Marquis is expanding its intake this Season, including NIS from non-shareholders. For individuals interested in becoming a Marquis Shareholder or supplier, the company directs them to their official website for more information.

 

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