Welcome to this edition of InTouch.
We have just celebrated our third anniversary as Pinion Advisory. The time has certainly whizzed by as we have worked diligently to integrate three, and then a fourth business into one. The economies of scale that have been formed certainly create a great and sustainable business model. However, there is still plenty to do as we work towards building a world class agribusiness, water and environmental consulting business that creates value for clients. We have just passed the 100-employee mark and will continue to recruit new people into the business.
Pinion Advisory is an Australian Partner owned business that operates nationally. You will also note in this edition that we are currently doing work on Norfolk Island. It is not common knowledge, but we also do a lot of work on South Africa, so our capability is recognised widely.
Our partnership with Pinion in the United States is also gaining traction. We have global services currently being developed and will be launching some new services in 2024. Some of these are very exciting and will create a lot of client value.
This edition has a mix of articles that demonstrate some of the range of services.
Thankyou for your ongoing support and I hope you enjoy reading some of the articles.
Hands-on support to develop and maintain a happy and productive team
The agricultural industry has long experienced challenges recruiting and retaining staff. We have all heard that labour is a strategic issue for many businesses, no matter the industry they work in or commodity they produce. With this in mind, we have developed a new service, the Labour and leadership roadmap.
Why engage a specialist agri finance broker
The economic climate we are currently in is different to what we have been familiar with. We are coming out of supply chain issues with the pandemic, as well as having central banks around the world that kept interest rates at very low levels for a period of time to generate economic activity.
Strong Foundations – Building your EQ for greater connection, communication and confidence
Dates: 12, 19 and 26 September, 11.00am-1.30pm (ACDT)
Online course delivered over three sessions via Teams
This online personal development program is for individuals, couples or families who want to feel more connected again and change the way they think, feel and react towards each other.
The evolution of communication methods in commodity sales
In early July 2023 social and mainstream media went into meltdown after a Canadian Judge resolved a grain contract dispute and awarded a penalty. This ruling was against the grower and in favour of the buyer. The award was CAD$82,000 which converted roughly to US$61,000.
From roofs to green spaces and great wine: Roseworthy Water Scheme
As greenfield housing growth continues beyond the current urban bounds in Australia’s southern cities and towns, the aspiration of ‘sustainable population growth’ becomes ever-more challenging to achieve.
Agricultural opportunities for Norfolk Island
There is something about Norfolk Island that draws me in. It could be the volcanic geology and rich, productive soils, it’s fascinating and eventful history, the community commitment to overcoming challenges, or a mix of all these things. I have been fortunate to visit Norfolk Island twice in the past eighteen months for ‘work’.
Norfolk Island is in the South Pacific Ocean, 1,400km east of the Australian mainland. The 35km2 island is the eroded remains of a volcano, with the topography dominated by Mount Bates (319m) and series of elevated rolling plains. Norfolk Island’s naturally fertile volcanic soils and unique climate allows the production of both sub-tropical and temperate fruits and vegetables.
Norfolk Island has an interesting history, with periodic Polynesian settlement, a large convict colony from 1788 to 1855, settlement by the descendants of the HMS Bounty mutineers from Pitcairn Island, and during World War 2 it hosted a large airforce base. Today Norfolk Island has a permanent population of 2,200, increasing to 3,500 during the peak holiday periods.
Due to cumulative impacts of population growth, land use changes, biosecurity restrictions on livestock import, plant pest invasions and challenging weather conditions, the island’s food production systems are experiencing significant pressure. Fruit and vegetable production is based on field and polyhouse market-garden style enterprises, and beef cattle grazing on both public and private land. Locally grown food is insufficient to meet demand, but the high cost and unreliability of freight services means it is not viable for islanders to rely on imported food.
In 2022, Pinion Advisory was engaged by the Norfolk Island Regional Council (NIRC) to support the development of Council’s Food Security Strategy by undertaking an agricultural audit. The audit included a land capability assessment, review of current agricultural practices, identification of limitations and solutions for sustainable agricultural land use and guidance on the potential opportunities to improve existing agricultural systems. It also included a focus on new agricultural enterprises and support systems.
The process involved two visits to the island, consultation with growers and various other stakeholders, and spending time checking out the farms and agricultural systems in place.
Some of the outcomes of this work included:
- Identification of the highest quality land and the maximum extent of agriculture. This information will support decisions relating to future land use management and planning.
- Promoting new fruit and vegetable varieties with higher yield potential, improved water use efficiency, pest and disease resistance and extended growing season. An example being introduction of new potato varieties which have much improved agronomic characteristics, yields, storage life and eating traits.
- Identification of technical and business support required by growers to improve their agronomic practices, increase productivity and profitability, and promote sustainable farming practices.
- Identification that there is opportunity for better management of organic waste (and compost produced on the island) to supply growers with a reliable source of nutrients and reduce the need for imported fertiliser.
- Norfolk Island has limited water resources and is experiencing a drying climate. Adopting agronomic practices which promote moisture conservation and higher water use efficiency are essential. Investigating the use of recycled water for irrigation is also something that could be considered.
The full report has been made publicly available.
Looking back, my personal highlight on this project was getting to meet and work with people from a community who are very passionate about Norfolk Island’s focus on self-sufficiency and a willingness to adapt and overcome the challenges posed by the island remoteness, climate change and increase the reliability and productivity of their food production systems. This project would not have been possible without the support and inputs from all stakeholders who allowed access to their properties, provided information and openly discussed the challenges facing their unique location.
I’m looking forward to developing a livestock grazing management plan for the island which is our next project for NIRC.
Walking the talk: Growing the future at Pinion Advisory
In this edition of InTouch, we highlight internal achievements that reinforce our GROWTH values.
Our growth value is to support our people to develop their natural talents and grow, find ways to leverage their passions with the needs of our clients and the Pinion vision.
Fat Farmers: a rural health initiative
Fat Farmers, a rural health initiative all about improving the health and wellbeing of rural communities through physical activity. The Fat Farmers biggest event of the year is fast approaching, the Adelaide City to Bay, Sunday 17 September!
If you would like to be part of the Fat Farmers team, head to their website for registration details: www.fatfarmers.com/citytobay