FERTCARE® YESTERDAY TODAY TOMORROW

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					                      FERTCARE®
               YESTERDAY TODAY TOMORROW
                                Donald Carter
 Chairman FertCare® Training Committee, Immediate Past National President AFSA, Private
                 Bag 245 Horsham 3400, laharumbulk@bigpond.com

Synopsis
Fertcare is the centrepiece of industry’s intent to be a responsible and credible participant in the
development and implementation of public policy in the area of Environment and Food Safety.

Yesterday –Originally conceived by the Australian Fertiliser Services Association (AFSA) and
with Federal Government assistance, it has evolved from the Code of Practise for the service
sector of the fertiliser industry.

Today – with a total industry approach to environmental stewardship, FERTCARE® will play a
significant role in the management of all fertiliser related businesses.

Tomorrow – any business that derives income from manufacturing, distributing, or spreading any
form of fertiliser will be driven by a duty of care – supported by FERTCARE® and relevant
regulations and industry Codes of Practise.

Biography
Donald Carter is a Principal of Laharum Bulk Handling Co P/L, a Private Company operating
from Horsham in Western Victoria. LBH is a fertiliser dealer, distributor and spreading
contractor. LBH being a key player in fertiliser distribution in Western Victoria has afforded
Donald the expertise to be involved with the development of FERTCARE® and
ACCUSPREAD® since their inception.

Donald has been involved with the Australian Fertiliser Services Association (AFSA) for many
years and holds the position of immediate Past National President. He is currently the
Chairperson for the National FERTCARE® Training Committee. During Donald’s term as
National President, the FERTCARE® Program developed rapidly and the current joint venture of
AFSA and FIFA was born.


It is a privilege to deliver this presentation. This is the third time that I have stood
before a similar gathering to present FertCare® to the fertiliser industry and I am
pleased that today I will be presenting it to a much wider audience, many of
whom have been involved in its continuing development.

Yesterday

My first presentation was called “Factory to Farm”. Most attending the FIFA
conference in Perth wondered who this small time player in the industry was and
who the group was that he represented. The Australian Fertiliser Services
Association (AFSA) had been around for some time but there had not been any
moves by AFSA or others in the industry to rationalise or coordinate industry
representation.

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At the conference in Perth during 1998 I believe that the fertiliser industry began
the task of becoming a total industry group. “Factory to Farm” involved the
service sector of the industry, including transport, storage and handling, and
spreading services. It also included many who provided advice on the correct
application and use of fertiliser and soil ameliorant products.

The AFSA with help from Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry in Canberra
compiled a Code of Practice for these sections of the industry. The AFSA
continued to develop the Code of Practice and registered 2 trademarks to protect
our efforts.

Firstly we registered “Accu-Spread” This section of our Code of Practice had
received the most attention due to its ability to correct the inaccurate spreading
achieved by many machines. “Accu-Spread” is the subject of the next
presentation So we will move on.

FertCare® was registered by AFSA to protect our intellectual property developed
as the codes of practice. Following the enthusiasm shown by the industry
towards our effort at the Perth conference, AFSA continued to develop
FertCare® into a training program. Again I was asked to present to the FIFA
biannual conference held at Sanctuary Cove during 2001 the topic this time was
“Factory to Farm the Next Generation”

This presentation covered the previous work of AFSA and concluded that if
FertCare was to progress then we had to work together with the rest of the
fertilizer industry as an industry united.

Today

FertCare® is now jointly owned by AFSA and FIFA.

Today we are at a function that 2 years ago would not have been possible. The
two major industry groups are showing the public that we are a responsible and
credible industry body.

We are a group that is truly representative, and one that can manage industry
issues from security of products to food safety and environmental responsibility.

Today Fertcare® has increased in stature as it is now a total industry approach to
various components of the fertilizer supply and service industry. FertCare®
training is now a three tiered structure under the direction of a broadly based
training committee of technical experts and a management group consisting of
myself, representing AFSA, Daryl Dent, representing FIFA and our joint executive
manager Nick Drew.

Level A covers the basic training courses including transport, storage and
handling, spreading operation and basic product knowledge. Training packages
are being upgraded and redrafted by Bendigo Regional Institute of TAFE. It is
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envisaged that the training of this section will be conducted by trainers contracted
to TAFE and working with participants in the workplace. The Fertcare units can
be delivered as part of a Certificate 3 in rural operations, opening up the
possibility of funding support through traineeship programs.

FertCare® Level B has been developed by Nutrient Management Systems under
contract to FIFA. Level B is structured to cover sales staff at shop counters and
those who provide basic nutrient and or soil ameliorant advice to customers. This
level of FertCare® is already being delivered and is proving popular with
participants for the quality of information it contains and the day to day
usefulness of the skills and knowledge acquired. The training for this level has
been developed as an open book exercise and is provided on a CD which talks
to you. Trainers contracted by Agsafe are currently offering this course across
Australia.

FertCare® Level C is specifically targeted at those who provide detailed plant
nutrition and soil ameliorant advice based on soil and plant testing.

A training program has been developed to deliver skills and knowledge in
environment and food safety risk management, in storage handling and logistics
including a good understanding of the level A and B material and the Accu-
Spread program.

An individual’s ability to provide a good quality soil and plant test interpretation
will not be part of the training but will be assessed by a process of recognition of
prior competency. This will be based either on individual assessment or on proof
of completion of a recognised system of training such as Nu Logic or Nutrient
Advantage once they are assessed as meeting the standard.

A pilot training course of the level C environment, food safety, storage handling
and logistics training has just been completed. Following a review of the
feedback at a meeting here on Friday, it will be made available across Australia
through trainers contracted by Agsafe.

Tomorrow

FertCare® into the Future
Working together AFSA and FIFA have agreed to develop and implement a
business accreditation scheme that should ensure the widespread adoption of
the Fertcare® program.

FertCare® will be developed into an accreditation scheme that is based on
training of staff to manage risks in the areas of environment, food safety and
occupational health and safety. It will incorporate accreditation of premises based
on quality assurance for environmental risk management and occupational health
and safety management.

Maintenance of accreditation will be based on periodic assessment. For
premises, accreditation will be based on achieving target levels of staff training
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and on achieving standards for premises that manage environmental and
occupation health and safety risks.

Compulsion:

Public concern relating to occupation health and safety, environment and food
safety risks associated with fertiliser and soil ameliorant products will inevitably
lead to increased regulation of these issues. The management of compliance
with regulations will receive equal attention.

The industry is making a significant commitment to managing the risks
associated with its products through the FertCare® program. It is AFSA’s
and FIFA’s intention that the Fertcare program will form the basis of both
managing these issues and of any regulatory mechanism.

FIFA and AFSA will write to the ACCC to describe our current voluntary
FertCare® scheme to ensure that there are no competition concerns. Having
established a dialogue FIFA will then explore with the ACCC and or State
Governments the options for greater compulsion in order to be prepared when
the need arises.

The need for compulsion is likely to be driven either by a lack of implementation
of the voluntary FertCare® program or by external factors leading to public
pressure (eg an environmental incident or media campaign).

Under the voluntary Fertcare® program members of AFSA and FIFA are
committed to reaching targets for the percentage of staff successfully completing
the training program. These targets will be implemented progressively so that by
June 2008, 100% of eligible staff should be trained.

Growing political pressure to take action to safeguard the Great Barrier Reef from
nutrients contributed by the catchment area is a very public focal point for a wider
national concern about water quality. Throughout the agricultural areas of
Australia eutrophication caused by increased nutrient loading and decreasing
river flows is increasingly receiving public attention and demanding a political
response. Whilst the issues are complex, fertiliser is clearly a potential contributor
to the problem and the fertiliser industry and easily identified and therefore
targeted industry in any attempts to manage it.

Regardless of whether the mechanisms to manage these issues are voluntary,
regulated or a combination of the two, positive industry involvement has the
potential to improve environment and food safety outcomes by ensuring that
programs are efficient and effective. It also has the potential to encourage a
balanced approach to issues of productivity and profitability.

What does it mean to you?




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For the general public, concerned about issues of food safety and environmental
damage, Fertcare® is a guarantee that the industry is acting in a responsible and
significant way to reduce these risks.

For the regulators, and Governments generally, Fertcare® is a partnership that
can assist in implementing standards and compliance that will deliver real
reduction in these risks.

For the research and extension community, Fertcare® is an efficient and
effective means of ensuring that current knowledge on managing these risks will
be provided to users of soil ameliorants and fertilizers as a consistent and
practical message.

For the users of our products and services, Fertcare® will be a standard that
ensures that the advice you receive will include full consideration of environment
and food safety risk and will be based on the consensus of sound science.

For FIFA and AFSA members, Fertcare® is now an integral part of our industry.
It will assist us in managing the greatest risks that our industry faces, through
constructive engagement with the science community, our customers and our
Governments.


Commitment from Industry Players

All of the delegates to this conference should be involved in the future
development and implementation of FertCare®.

The industry will need considerable financial commitment to implement and
manage this very important project into the future. Both FIFA and AFSA have had
considerable financial support from the Federal Government in developing and
delivering this program, and whilst we hope that we will get continued support for
development and promotion of the program it is clear that implementation must
be paid for directly by the industry.

As a responsible industry, perhaps a levy should be applied to all product
manufactured or imported into this country, say 4 million tonnes @ 10c =
$400,000.00 per annum. This levy could be collected in the same manner as the
Grains Levy i.e. at the last point transaction. This collection system would involve
all players and it would mean something if Laharum Bulk Handling had to
contribute $1,000.00 towards the future of FertCare®.

As mentioned previously, this joint Conference would not have happened 2 years
ago, but today we are achieving something vitally important to our industry. The
fact that this conference has been oversubscribed gives me great hope that we
are well down the road of commitment to this project.

To maintain the current position, where AFSA and FIFA are seen as a truly
representative, responsible and credible partner with Government, with our
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customers and with the science and extension community we must deliver on
Fertcare®.

Before you leave this conference I hope that you will seek out Peter Verrion or
Doug Baker from BRITAFE, Colin Boldra from Agsafe or Tom Cowlrick and his
colleages from Nutrient MS and book your staff into a Fertcare® course.




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Appendix 1 – Management Structure

Management Structure

A management structure and various contracted parties are in place to develop,
manage and deliver the training programs. The current structure of the
FertCare® training program is detailed below.


                   FIFA BOARD                     AFSA COUNCIL

 Program
 Management
                     FertCare® Management Committee




    Nutrient MS (B, C)              FertCare®                 AFSA
                                     Training               Committees
                                    Committee               Organic
    BRITAFE (A)                                             Inorganic
                                                            Logistics

 Development                            Technical Quality



            Agsafe              BRITAFE (A)
                                                Training Management (RTO)




     Recognition             Trainers (B, C)              Trainers (A)
       Of Prior               Nutrient MS                    TAFE
     Competency               Others TBC                 Lescun, Hatty
       ASPAC                                              Others TBC
                              Training Delivery




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