By John McKew - CEO AFIA
At the risk of sounding unoriginal (apologies), the world we are living in today is very different to the one we all would have imagined only a few short weeks ago and the reasons for this are undoubtedly apparent to everyone.
John and Pru, in consultation with the AFIA Board, have decided to cancel this year's National Fodder Conference. The conference was scheduled for 3-5 August 2020 at the Novotel Sunshine Coast Resort, Twin Waters, Queensland. No activities associated with the conference will proceed, including the pre-conference tour.
We believe the decision, whilst an unfortunate and disappointing one to have to make, had become inevitable. It is responsible and appropriate in light of COVID-19 and the health and safety measures we must now adhere to. We were also at that stage in our planning where we needed to lock away speakers and various suppliers for the conference (i.e. trade displays, audio-visual, etc.) and naturally everyone is non-committal at this time. Whilst we had made a number of instalment/deposit payments to the venue under our contract with them for this year's conference, the Novotel Sunshine Coast Resort have kindly agreed to allow us to reschedule the event to 2021 and transfer our current financial commitments. We have tentatively locked in 26-28 July 2021 for the 2021 National Fodder Conference at the same location.
We know this is an important conference for our national fodder industry and for AFIA, for our members and our sponsors, especially considering the drought and bushfires we have been contending with. But these are unprecedented times, and everyone must play a role in prioritising public health. It is now our hope that AFIA will be able to host several online events to provide the information updates which would normally have occurred at the conference and to this end, John, Pru and Simone will be working on options to deliver these over coming months, including we hope, online forums with some of our proposed speakers and several "Our Place" sessions. More information on this in coming months as we make our contingency plans.
Finally, earlier this week, John and Pru spoke to each of AFIA's sponsors personally to inform them of this decision and to discuss the impact on their annual AFIA sponsorship. All of our sponsors were not surprised by the decision to cancel the 2020 National Fodder Conference and we are grateful for their understanding, support and loyalty. We will endeavour to provide additional support to all of our sponsors and to work with them to deliver information to our members that was planned for the 2020 National Fodder Conference.
As always, John, Pru and Simone are on-hand to discuss this issue and to talk with and listen to our members. Please accept our sincere apologies but I am sure you all understand the exceptional circumstances behind this decision.
FODDER on the fly
From the beginning of 2020, AFIA's FODDER on the fly e-newsletter is being produced and distributed monthly.
AFIA Board Meeting
The full AFIA Board met in Melbourne on Monday 17 February 2020 for a regular Board meeting. A report to AFIA members on the outcomes of that meeting is now available from the AFIA website. You will need to login as a member to the AFIA website and the report is available under the menu item Membership.
The AFIA office is unattended for the most part at the moment due to self-isolation requirements. John, Pru and Simone are available on mobile and email as required:
John: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0438 182 600
Pru: email@example.com / 0418 142 523
Simone: firstname.lastname@example.org / 0438 847 742 (note: Simone is a contractor to AFIA)