AgLink hosts Supplier Appreciation Event

Dec. 17, 2022 | 5 Min read
After an absence of two years because of COVID, AgLink Australia held its popular end of year Supplier Appreciation Event to recognise the efforts and support of the group’s partner suppliers over the past twelve months.

After an absence of two years because of COVID, AgLink Australia held its popular end of year Supplier Appreciation Event to recognise the efforts and support of the group’s partner suppliers over the past twelve months.

This year’s venue was The Langham in Melbourne and was attended by 165 people, including 45 AgLink members with the remainder representing key partner suppliers.

AgLink Australia CEO Ian Scutt said the opportunity to get together again was overdue. “Having our suppliers and members in the one room is unique. It’s the only time in the agriculture where this happens, providing an environment to celebrate, rekindle friendships and reflect on the year that has been.”

The accompanying AgLink conference was held over three days, in which AgLink provided an update to its members on company activities and performance.

It was also an opportunity for AgLink members to hear from leading experts on a range of topics relevant to them and their farmer customers with carbon farming and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) principles being examples of this.

Mr Scutt said the gathering also provided a great environment for suppliers and international partners to provide global updates and strategies for the Australian market.

“Despite the ongoing challenges faced by our members such as recent flood events, we are grateful to have had them together in the one room again. Our strength as an organisation is the sharing, networking and camaraderie between our 13 members.”

In his opening speech, Mr Scutt said it was hard to believe how much has happened since the last time AgLink members came together in 2019 at Luna Park in Sydney.

“As the world has grappled with the significant challenges created by the pandemic, it is pertinent to note just how important the work of our members and suppliers has been through this difficult time.

Their resilient business models, consummate professionalism and ‘can-do’ attitudes have ensured that the nation’s food and fibre supplies have remained largely unaffected throughout the biggest disruption of most of our lifetimes.

“Supply chains were stressed – many still are – but I want to pay tribute to the ability of our community to continue to serve the Australian farmer, and to be the supportive, collaborative partners they have needed throughout.

“I particularly thank our suppliers, who have, by-and-large continued to deliver on all their commitments and supported a growing market with essential product, even with severe restrictions and product shortages. Well done – and thank you.”

Despite the challenges COVID presented, Mr Scutt said AgLink has found creative and impactful ways to remain connected to its members and suppliers, employing the power of technology to ensure that its vastly geographically spread community had access to the support and services they rely on AgLink for.

“We have taken great pride in AgLink’s ability to remain effective and relevant to our members and their clients, demonstrating efficiency and flexibility, and ensuring the lines of communication have remained wide open.

“This adaptability hasn’t just applied to AgLink. Our members and our suppliers have equally had to navigate the repercussions of COVID along with battling the vagaries of agriculture and weather challenges such as drought, and in more recent times, floods.

“We know that most in our industry have campaigned hard for a long time now, that there is a sense of mental fatigue across our community. We also know the volatile nature of business confidence and market dynamics will continue to test us all.

“It is precisely for that reason that the nature of networks in agriculture, of strong partnerships, of friends in the industry, supporting and aiding one another to navigate rocky patches, are undoubtedly more important and relevant than ever.

“In that vein, it is very pleasing to have overseen the growth of AgLink membership over the past three years, not just here in Australia, but via our AgLink International Network encompassing AgLink Australia, AgLink Canada, AgriRede in Brazil and IAP in the United States.

“Collectively these businesses generated $US5.2 billion in revenues in 2021/22 – up 37% on 2019’s inception revenues of US$3.8B.”

Following on from Mr Scutt, AgLink Australia chairman, Andrew Maughan gave the following snapshot of the Australian operation as of 2022:

- AgLink comprises 13 member businesses, having welcomed Ag Warehouse to the network, strengthening AgLink’s footprint in the Australian dairy market

- AgLink members today employ over 1600 staff, including 365 agronomists, primarily located in regional Australia – up from 1200 in 2019

- AgLink members run 256 different branch locations, 58 more than three years ago

- Since 2019, AgLink Member’s collective revenues have more than doubled from $1.2 billion, to current day revenues of $2.5 billion. Whilst noting the increase in input pricing over the last year, the growth of 108% was an outstanding achievement for the group

- Mr Maughan said a final statistic AgLink should be incredibly proud of was that collectively, its members contributed almost $900K to community support programs across the country over the past 12 months.

Mr Maughan said AgLink Australia is guided by and governed against its strategic plan, which aims to foster and support its member companies and suppliers.

“Key initiatives include a commitment is to continue to invest in understanding and building productive and aligned relationships with our members and valued suppliers.

“We want to invest in partnerships that are measured on performance and agreed outcomes, and partnerships that align with our core values of collaboration, efficiency, trust and innovation.

Mr Maughan said specific initiatives under AgLink’s strategic plan include:

“The RDE and horticulture development programs have seen record engagement, involving eight different crop protection suppliers, seven member businesses and some 42 replicated trials and 30 demonstrations undertaken in 2022.

“Our innovation strategy is very clear. We will focus on delivering products and services that meet the current and evolving needs of our members and farmers.

“AgLink recognises the importance and potential impact of smart technology adoption and application, whether it’s in the field or back of house, to ultimately drive member and customer prosperity. To date, identifying the right technologies and the right partners to work with has proven a challenge for most in our industry.

“AgLink feels the time is now right to invest in capacity to deliver commercially and technically beneficial technologies, through our members, for their customers.”

To that end, Mr Maughan said AgLink Australia had employed Cameron Prien as a dedicated innovation and technology specialist.

“Mr Prien’s role is to provide a service to our members to help them identify, assess and ultimately recommend suitable technologies for their business needs. A filter service if you like, with a view to maximising the successful adoption of agtech.”

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