MIRBOO NORTH’S Emma Germano is one of two candidates for the vice president’s role with the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF).
VFF members will have two opportunities to meet their candidates, Ms Germano and Gemma Monk, at forums in Horsham and Sale.
The forums will kick off with a brief introduction from each of the candidates, followed by a question and answer session.
Voting for the position of VFF vice president has begun and the results will be announced at the VFF AGM on February 26.
Ms Germano is a third-generation farmer from South Gippsland, currently producing vegetables under irrigation, fodder for dairy, and running prime lambs and beef cattle.
“We also have an on-farm retail shop so that we can connect directly with our community.”
She is the president of the VFF Horticulture Group, VFF Industrial Association and VFF Board Member.
“I have been actively involved with the organisation for over four years. This has provided me with an excellent understanding of how the organisation operates and its current culture, as well as the opportunities for change.
“I have undertaken governance training and have the necessary knowledge and skills to be an effective director.
“I also bring well-practiced communication skills; established strong working relationships with state and federal government representatives; and a strong media profile that can be leveraged to ensure that VFF members have a voice when it matters.”
“I know how important it is for the VFF to show strong leadership on the things that will ensure the long-term sustainability of our industry – issues such as animal welfare, water policy, farm labour, road and rail.
“I have also travelled to many of our trading partners alongside government and industry officials and am acutely aware of the importance of access to markets for Australian producers.
“The opportunity to undertake a Nuffield Scholarship in 2014 has given me a deep understanding of the complex socio-political environment that we operate in across commodities.”
Ms Germano said the VFF needs to do more to genuinely engage with the broader community.
“The divide between producers and consumers continues to broaden, threatening our right to farm. It is time we invest in advocacy beyond rural media outlets and politicians.
“I believe that forging a strong connection with our urban customers is of utmost importance. Consumers are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from, and more importantly, how their food is raised.”
“How much more effective could our lobbying be if the farmers’ voice was united with that of our urban counterparts?”
The Sale forum is on Monday, February 11 at the Criterion Hotel, 90 MacAlister Street, Sale.
To RSVP, call member services on 1300 882 833.