Victorian farmers elect first female leadership duo

Terry Sim, December 11, 2020

New VFF president Emma Germano.

VICTORIAN farmers have elected the first female president and vice president duo in their farmer organisation’s 41-year history under its current structure.

Victorian Farmers Federation members have elected third generation mixed farmer Emma Germano to replace Wimmera farmer David Jochinke as their new president and egg producer Danyel Cucinotta is the body’s new vice president.

Ms Germano is managing director of her family’s mixed farming operation at Mirboo North in Victoria’s Gippsland region, growing premium quality fresh vegetables for local and export markets, as well as running sheep and beef cattle.

The 36 year-old has previously held the role of VFF vice president and has been the VFF Horticulture Group president since 2017. She was awarded a Nuffield scholarship in 2014 to research examining global export opportunities for Australian primary producers.

Ms Germano said it is so heartening that the VFF members have expressed themselves as progressive and forward thinking in regards to their vote for diversity; gender, age, farming location and commodity.

“It underpins the survey results from our survey this year.

“The overwhelming majority of members believe that the role they want the VFF to play is irrespective of place, commodity and size of their agribusiness.”

VFF vice president Danyel Cucinotta.

Ms Cucinotta, 28, is a third-generation Victorian caged-egg farmer helping to operate her family’s egg farm, onsite café and deli in Werribee on Melbourne’s western outskirts.

She is a current committee member of the VFF Intensives Group, holds an Agriculture Diploma and Bachelor of Business and is an Egg Farmers Australia media representative.

Ms Germano has said her core focus as president will be to evolve and modernise the organisation in  in culture, governance and advocacy; implement responsible use of VFF assets; foster a connected and engaged farming community, and; provide proactive and sophisticated advocacy.

The VFF elections this year were run online and through Link Market Services for the first time.

During the election campaign, Ms Germano said she will be focussing on issues that tend to disproportionally impact Victorian regional farming communities more so than metropolitan areas, as well as key global issues that potentially could impact the Victorian farming community through supply chains.

VFF returning officer and chief executive officer Stephen Sheridan welcomed the next generation of leaders poised to be the voice of the VFF and Victorian farmers.

“I congratulate both Emma and Danyel on their appointments and look forward to working with them and the wider VFF team to deliver the best possible outcomes for our members and regional Victorians over the coming years.”

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes congratulated Ms Germano and Ms Cucinotta on their election and thanked Mr Jochinke for his four years of service advocating for Victorian farmers.

Ms Symes said Ms Germano is an excellent advocate for Victorian agriculture.

“She brings lived experience and a forward-thinking attitude to this role.

“I can’t wait to start work with her and Ms Cucinotta to tackle the challenges and opportunities facing our farmers.”

The Andrews Labor Government said Ms Germano brought a wealth of experience to the role and Ms Cucinotta will also bring valuable knowledge to her role.


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