Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Grain’s Industry Conference points the finger at the services sector

ProFarmer is in Melbourne this week attending the annual Australian Grains Industry conference. There are certainly some hard questions being asked and answered, which is a change from previous conferences where industry issues were often brushed over.

One of the themes of the conference is how much more professional the services sector needs to become to meet the changing needs of our increasingly sophisticated client base (the grower). This is especially true in a marketplace which is undergoing substantial changes both at home and abroad.

Many small businesses are trying to figure out how they can run fast enough just to keep up. We reckon, that just the price risk farmers are faced with has increased 10-fold over the past decade. If you throw in climate variability and dynamic input costs you can get an idea of why our clients need the best service possible.

In that respect ProFarmer is not standing still. This year we have opened an office in Sydney and have recently employed our first foreign correspondent to keep us abreast of agricultural markets and trade issues across Asia. His first piece on the changing structure of the Japanese beef market was in this week’s newsletter and it is a cracker!

Another key theme of the conference is the step-up in competition in the services space. In conjunction with eFarming, ProFarmer is preparing to launch a subscription based nationwide daily price discovery and information service called Best Bids on the eFarming website. We’re on track for a mid-August launch. Another party is launching a similar service at the conference. But we love competition - bring it on - the grower will be the winner!

But the biggest and most exciting development is our employment of an Ana Komorova who started this week in our Perth office as our Strategic Development manager. Ana has experienced in the turf seed and irrigation industry through a family business based in Moscow, Russia.

She has spent the last 2 years in New York setting up supply distribution arrangements for seed and irrigation equipment back to her family’s company in Moscow which has contributed to that company growing its market share significantly. Basically she knows all the places we all guess about at the moment and has the ability through her networks to ‘verify’ information received on the Eastern European grain markets. ProFarmer is very excited to have someone of Ana’s experience and calibre join our business.

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