More than 35 grain merchants from Emerald Grain’s Australia-wide network met in Creswick, Victoria this week to plan for the 13/14 growing season. From as far afield as Geraldton in Western Australia and Toowoomba in Queensland, merchants came together to discuss how to better support Australia’s grain growers.

“Our grain merchants are the grower-facing part of Emerald and therefore a hugely important part of the business,” Emerald Executive Director – Distribution, Mick Cattanach.

He said Emerald had grown quickly since established by CEO & Chairman Alan Winney, Director Mick Chaseling and himself in 2004.

“We’ve gone from the three of us to nearly 200 employees in under ten years.

“We always knew our point of difference would be a strong focus on the grower. We know we won’t be successful in our business unless our grower customers are successful in theirs.”

He said part of this success was not only offering products that growers wanted, but building trust and rapport. “Building this trust and delivering better service is what we’ve been speaking to merchants about over the course of the past few days,” Mr Cattanach said.

The conference began in Melbourne on Tuesday with a tour of Emerald’s port facility. “Emerald’s investment in infrastructure is part of our commitment to serving growers.

“Not only are we providing more competition in the East of Australia, but we’re developing an integrated supply chain to create more efficiencies and in turn deliver better returns to growers,” Mr Cattanach said.

The conference also included a tour of Emerald’s joint-venture $2 million grain storage facility in Werneth. The facility is operated by Emerald in conjunction with Southern Quality Produce Co-operative Limited and local grower investors. It handled a record 90,000 tonnes of grain and oilseed during the 12/13 harvest.

“Our Werneth storage site is a great example of the work we’ve been doing with grower in the region,” Mr Cattanach said.