Negotiate+Agree = Winning!

Would you like to increase your ability to handle those difficult conversations? Would you like to feel more confident when involved in negotiations over the sale of your produce? Perhaps you’d just like some tactics up your sleeve to support your day-to-day discussions with service providers and suppliers….

Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers (BFVG) knows that it can be difficult for growers involved in negotiations that sometimes resemble a David and Goliath type situation.  It can be tricky to know where your “point-of-power” is, to respond without reacting, and to get an outcome that works for you.

That’s why we are running a Negotiations & Influencing Workshop for growers and others working in the industry.  The Negotiations & Influencing Workshop has been created for the horticulture industry by the horticulture industry.  It has been designed specifically to help growers handle difficult conversations, be better communicators, and feel more confident in influencing the conversation for a better outcome. It will help develop personal capacity to negotiate and influence.

Topics that will be covered throughout the workshop include;

  • Control and influence the conversation to get to better pricing outcomes
  • Preparing effectively to combat wholesaler retail push
  • Identifying tactics and a strategy to respond
  • Using language to create cooperation
  • Managing emotional and difficult conversations
  • Avoiding conflict.

BFVG is coordinating this event in partnership with VegPro; an industry owned and driven initiative specialising in tailor-made training opportunities for those in the vegetable industry.  It is a FREE event with priority places for vegetable levy-paying growers and BFVG members.

Here are the details:

When – Wednesday & Thursday, 14-15 March 2018
Where – Fairymead House, Thornhill Street, BUNDABERG NORTH
Time – 9am – 4pm
RSVP – Essential – Online or contact BFVG on (07) 4153 3007

The workshop has already been rolled out in other peak vegetable growing regions. This is what workshop participants have said;

“This course gave me improved ability to understand different negotiation positions.”

“Negotiated a price reduction from 10% down to 5%. I had to work really hard to get the outcome and was so glad I had done this course which gave me the confidence to fight and not just roll over to their wishes.”

“Well-presented. Nicely geared towards ag/hort sector. Presenters seemed experienced and well-versed in the topic.”


“Comprehensive, well-resourced, challenging.”

I am personally really looking forward to these two days, and I hope that you will join me.  Please don’t hesitate to email me directly if you have any queries – .

Source: VegPRO – An industry education and training initiative that’s role is to provide training, resources, and tools to the Vegetable industry. It is funded by Hort Innovation using the vegetable research and development levy and funds from the Australian Government.

Acknowledgements: Image courtesy of Michael Leunig. Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET). Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.


Local Growers Nail Negotiation Skills

Growers and industry stakeholders from the Wide Bay-Burnett region participated in a two-day professional development workshop on VegPRO Negotiating & Influencing last week.

The workshop was led by facilitators Tony Hudson and Edwina Swan from ENS International, providing participants with bucket-loads of tactics and strategies to be better negotiators. The course was an opportunity for participants to develop an understanding of these processes and increase their personal capacity to negotiate effectively.

Over the two days, participants worked both individually and in small groups, drilling down into the crucial processes and techniques of skillful negotiation.  Topics covered included concepts such as;

  • considering the needs of the other side (the person or organisation that you are negotiating with)
  • the value of establishing ‘common ground’
  • the importance of preparation (….Prevents Poor Performance)
  • our style of communication with others can impact the outcome of our negotiation efforts (that is, HOW we CHOOSE to communicate…perhaps too aggressively or too passively)
  • using questioning to further your negotiations
  • effective tactics and counter-tactics.

All participants used a comprehensive, easy to follow workbook throughout the course which provided handy information, tips and tricks to guide them in their future as ‘dab hand’ negotiators. General consensus was that those four pages of tactics and counter-tactics would come in very handy!

Feedback from all participants was very positive.  One grower said;

I attend many workshops but this by far has been one of the most useful and interesting.  I have really enjoyed being involved.

Another workshop participant commented that;

Not only has this been a great two days to meet others, it has been a fantastic opportunity to down work tools and spend time on skills development and improvement.

The workshop was an initiative of VegPRO which is an education and training project for the Vegetable industry. For further reading on the topic of negotiation, influencing and persuasion, ENS International have a Resources section which may prove interesting bedtime reading.

Growers that missed out this time are encouraged to get in touch so we can line up another workshop in the region;  contact Vegetable Industry Development Officer Michelle Haase – – to discuss.



Source and Acknowledgements:  Written by Michelle Haase, Bundaberg Fruit &  Vegetable Growers (BFVG). BFVG hosted this professional development opportunity for growers and industry stakeholders through the VegPRO and VegNET projects. VegNET and VegPRO are funded by Hort Innovation with Vegetable grower levies and funding from the Australian Government.

InfoVeg TV for Growers

Have you discovered the wealth of communications resources available to vegetable growers created by AUSVEG yet?  If not, you are in for a total treat!

InfoVeg TV, InfoVeg Radio, VegeNotes and two magazines (Vegetables Australia and Potatoes Australia) are just some of the resources created by AUSVEG to communicate the latest R&D info in a creative and easily digested format.

The latest InfoVeg TV episode takes a look at these industry communications which deliver information on levy-funded research and development projects right to growers’ doorsteps. Dimi Kyriakou (from AUSVEG) and Greg Murdoch (from Hort Innovation) are featured in this short five (5) minute episode.  They discuss how the AUSVEG communication products aim to increase growers’ understanding of levy-funded research and development projects.

Other topics covered on InfoVeg TV are;

If you’re a grower and keen to keep up to date with R&D in the vegetable industry while on the go, check out InfoVeg TV.

PS.  While we’re on the topic of communicating, levy-paying growers can go in the running to win $1,000 worth of John Deere tools just by participating in a short online AUSVEG survey.  The survey is an opportunity to contribute to the direction and content of AUSVEG communications.  Responses to the survey will be used to inform AUSVEG on topics to cover in their communications and how they can provide the information that growers are looking for.  To take part in the survey, click here – closes in a couple of weeks, so don’t miss your chance!


AUSVEG – Industry representative body for vegetable and potato growers –


InfoVeg TV is funded by Hort Innovation using the potato research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.




Pest and Disease Resources for Vegetable Growers

These hot and humid conditions are perfect breeding grounds for a whole range of pests and diseases affecting vegetable crops.  There are a heap of resources available to growers advising on pest and disease mitigation options, so much so one easily runs the risk of information overload.

Some handy resources however which are well worth looking at have been developed with funding through Hort Innovation with grower levies.  One of these is an easy to read fact sheet and a must read for growers of capsicums and chillies in the Wide Bay-Burnett;  How can I control pests? Options for controlling high priority pests in capsicums and chillies.  This factsheet contains information on control options for high priority pests in capsicums and chillies.

It’s part of a series that provides detailed information on registered and permitted pesticides for disease, insects and weeds. Other publications in the How can I control pests? series are;

  1. Options for controlling high priority pests in cucumbers
  2. Options for controlling high priority pests in brassica vegetables
  3. Options for controlling high priority pests in brassica leafy vegetables
  4. Options for controlling high priority pests in celery
  5. Options for controlling high priority pests in carrots
  6. Options for controlling high priority pests in lettuce



  1. Soil Wealth website –


Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.



Fusarium Wilt in Vegetables

Fusarium is a common soilborne fungus.  Fusarium fungi feed on dead plant tissue and produce enzymes or toxins that kill plant cells as they invade. Fusarium wilt is a major issue; it is difficult to eradicate, surviving in soil on farms for many years.

In Australia, Fusarium wilt is found in; some cucurbits, tomatoes, sweetpotatos, snake beans, spinach, and peas.

Dr Len Tesoriero completed his PhD on Fusarium and presented recently on managing soilborne disease Fusariam wilt in vegetable crops such as cucurbits and sweetpotatoes.  The webinar was held last year, but recorded so you can watch the presentation in your own time and in the comfort of your own home or office.

Key take home messages from this presentation are;

  • Fertigation and irrigation practices are key –   the addition of urea stimulates Fusarium wilt, as does overwatering.  Avoid ammonium fertilisers and overwatering.
  • Biosecurity and farm hygiene are of paramount importance; it is spread by soil/media, water, contaminated equipment and workers (on footwear and clothing).

Here’s the link to watch the presentation – Managing Fusarium Diseases in Vegetable Crops or you can download the presentation material here.


  1. Dr Len Tesoriero (2017) Fusarium Wilt Management in Vegetables (webinar recording.
  2. Image: CSIRO (2006) – Symptoms of Fusarium wilth in a commercial planting of field-grown tomatoes at Bowen, Queensland.


Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.

Strategic Investment – Vegetables

Have you heard about the SIP?  The SIP is the Strategic Investment Plan and an important document guiding Hort Innovation’s management of investment for the vegetable industry over the next five years.

The SIP for the vegetable levy fund has just been released.  It is intended to ensure that investment decisions align with industry priorities to attain maximum benefit for the vegetable industry.

The vegetable industry in Australia is extensive with the gross value of vegetable production in 2015/16 estimated at $3.5 billion. In 2014/15, there were 1,676 vegetable-growing businesses paying the national vegetable levy; the levies are paid to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Hort Innovation manages the vegetable industry levy funds that are directed to research and development (R&D). In 2016/17, total vegetable levy receipts were approximately $9.2 million of R&D levies.

The SIP has been developed in consultation with Australian vegetable industry levy payers (growers). Hort Innovation undertook a desktop review, facilitated workshops, conducted surveys and held one-on-interviews with Australian vegetable industry levy payers, and industry stakeholders (State Government, consumer groups, industry organisations like BFVG, and research bodies) throughout Australia. A big thanks to growers from this region that participated in the SIP workshop in 2017!

Major opportunities to the vegetable industry that are identified in the SIP (in no particular order) are;

  • Seasonal opportunities for export markets – southern hemisphere
  • Close proximity to Asian markets – extensive and continue to grow
  • Industry reputation – quality processes and standards
  • Production capacity – diversity within regions
  • Investment and capacity – adopting new and innovative technologies
  • Increasing consumer aspirations – healthy eating
  • Adoption of consumer insights – use of insight in business decision making
  • Growing integration and collaboration – between supply chain and industry
  • Utilisation of significant R&D investment.

Major challenges identified in the SIP (in no particular order) are;

  • Environmental, pest and disease issues
  • Continued adoption of best management practices, and limited uptake of industry knowledge/transfer of innovation
  • Substantial climatic variability regionally, and biosecurity risks
  • Increased global competition – imports
  • Production costs – high, and slowing of productivity growth
  • Farmgate margins – slimmer
  • Impediments to exports, such as trade barriers.

To read a summary of the SIP – download.  For the full version – download.


  1. Hort Innovation (2017) Vegetable Strategic Investment Plan 2017-2022 – At A Glance (summary)
  2. Hort Innovation (2017) Vegetable Strategic Investment Plan 2017-2022


Post written by Michelle Haase – Vegetable Industry Development Officer (VegNET) with Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation with vegetable grower levies and funding by the Australian Government.

Smart Farms Small Grants

Horticulture growers are encouraged to apply for funding through the Smart Farms Small Grants Opportunity recently launched by the Australian Government.

The Smart Farms Small Grants Opportunity is intended to support the adoption of technologies and best practices that improve the management and quality of our natural resources and increase on-farm productivity. It is for projects seeking up to $100,000 for eligible activities to improve soil health, adapt to climate change, protect and restore biodiversity and water quality, and accelerate adoption of sustainable land management practices.

Projects which implement activities to slow and reverse soil erosion, increase soil carbon and reduce nitrous oxide emissions, improve management of nutrient and fertigation to reduce losses to the environment, enhance on-farm vegetation management, and establish on-farm integrated pest management are the types of projects the Australian Government is seeking.

What growers in our region need to know about this program is this;

  • the program closes Friday 7 December at 1pm (not to be confused with the time on the website and in the guidelines which is for Daylight Savings time zones)
  • applicants need an ABN
  • projects must be completed by 30 April, 2020
  • there are two funding tiers – Tier 1 (for applicants seeking between $5,000 and $50,000) and Tier 2 (for applicants seeking between $50,001 and $100,000)
  • a co-contribution is required – this can be cash and/or in-kind
  • six rounds of funding are expected to occur on an annual basis – this one is the first.

The application process is an online process.  It’s not too onerous, but there is a requirement for supporting documentation that will require some preparation if not in place already.  For example, applicants will need:

  1. end-year financial statements for up to two years
  2. documented organisational procedures, such as a Business Plan
  3. a risk management plan, and
  4. a communications strategy.

There are resources available to assist growers to develop supporting documentation such as a business plan and a communications strategy.  For business planning, here’s a link to a Business Plan Template & Guide or alternatively the Bundaberg Business Enterprise Centre can provide business planning services for a small fee.  There is a communications strategy template available to potential applicants once they register through the online portal.  Additionally, BFVG can assist financial members in putting together a funding submission; we can assist non-financial members for the cost of an annual membership – $385 per business.

Further information is available on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website or by contacting Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers – 07 4153 3007. To stay connected with BFVG and for further resources/information on events in the Wide Bay-Burnett region, go to our website or subscribe to our Fresh Pickings newsletter.


Funding for the VegNET National Vegetable Extension Network program is from Hort Innovation.

HortInnovation-rgb-small (1) Fund-block-wide-colour-template