This story was published in Bundaberg’s News-Mail on May 1, 2019.

One of the nation’s leading experts in working with family businesses in regional Australia, Susanne Bransgrove, Director of Liquid Gold Consultants, will be one of the guest speakers at this year’s AgForum to be hosted collaboratively by local industry representatives on Friday May 10.

Susanne is one of an impressive line-up of speakers who will take to the stage during the event to discuss and educate those working in the agricultural sector about issues that are relevant to them.

Susanne will speak in the morning session on Keeping it in the family – dealing with long-term succession in a family business. Joining Susanne will be Janelle Gerry, Executive Director of Bundaberg’s Macadamias Australia.

Janelle and her brothers Trevor and Kevin are the second generation to run the family’s multi-million dollar macadamia business with an employee base of 70 to 80 staff. The family turned to Susanne for help with succession planning to ensure the business could be transitioned smoothly to the third generation of the family.

“Unfortunately, around 70 per cent of family business transitions to the next generation fail,” Susanne says. “When you don’t talk about what is going to happen tomorrow, people are left with assumptions and expectations and generally those don’t line up.

“The Wide Bay-Burnett region is made up of a large number of family businesses, particularly within the fruit and vegetable sector, who are all seriously considering the future of their business, how to transition to the next generation and what to do if the next generation don’t want to proceed down that path. These are vital conversations which need to be had today to ensure tomorrow is going to be ok.”

During their session at the upcoming AgForum, Susanne and Janelle will talk about the vital need for open communications, future planning and how to do it smoothly.

Other topics to be discussed on the day include showcasing Australia’s competitive advantages, the IoT (Internet of Things) and Blockchain technology, being successful in Asian markets and demystifying investments.

“We’re really excited about this year’s AgForum topics and presenters, and to have our local ABC Wide Bay Local Radio broadcasters Scott Lamond and Kallee Buchanan facilitating the Q&A session,” Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers Managing Director Bree Grima said.

“By coordinating the AgForum in partnership with AgroTrend organisers, we’re hoping primary producers and agribusiness people will be encouraged to head over to AgroTrend at the conclusion of the AgForum.”

This year’s AgForum is being held at CQUniversity, in tandem with AgroTrend, with all AgForum participants receiving complimentary passes into AgroTrend and a lunch voucher to support Rotary.

The AgForum, an initiative of Bundaberg Regional Council, Bundaberg Fruit & Vegetable Growers and AusIndustry, has become an annual event, and a platform for regional stakeholders to collaborate and bring expertise on a range of progressive topics to the Wide Bay-Burnett agribusiness community.

The AgForum organisers involved other regional stakeholders this year to support the event, including Growcom, the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Bundaberg Business Enterprise Centre, Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority, Trade & Investment Queensland and Regional Development Australia.

The AgForum is free to attend and will commence at 7am on Friday May 10, 2019 at CQUniversity (Building 5), with an industry breakfast and live broadcast by ABC Wide Bay Local Radio concluding at midday.

To attend the event, please RSVP via the online portal, contact Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers on 07 4153 3007 or email bfvg.info@bfvg.com.au