ICGO requested the meeting to help their members better understand AgForce from a grassroots producer perspective and how we so effectively operate as a peak body for related but independent industries while at the same time retaining a laser-like focus on adding member value.
Of course, in a sign of the times, the meeting ended up being a 'virtual' one, but one I very much appreciated the opportunity to participate in.
I was pleased that our commodity board presidents - Will Wilson (cattle), Alan Rae (sheep and wool) and Brendan Taylor (grains) - were able to 'attend' to explain how the system worked so well from the perspectives of their own industries.
The ICGO crew showed great interest in finding out how our commodity boards retained their independence and their ability to make decisions on issues specific to their industries, while still benefiting from the unity and strength of the entire membership on industry-wide issues.
To be honest, when you take a step back and think about it, it really does take some time to get your head around it!
It is quite a powerful system, and a testament to the innovative and forward thinking displayed by the industry leaders who forged AgForce from three disparate peak bodies more than 20 years ago.
As a grazier who has been involved in industry issues both pre- and post-AgForce, I very much enjoyed the conversation - even some of the trickier questions.
At this point, I would like to acknowledge not only ICGO members, but the cane industry generally and the broader ag industry for the maturity that has been brought to this conversation.
It isn't always an easy conversation, but it has remained a considered and respectful one. While no one knows how this story ends, I love the way it is being told.
Whatever decision the AgForce Board makes later this month on whether to accept ICGO's request to introduce a fourth commodity representing cane - and whatever ICGO's decision on whether it will fold its membership into AgForce's initial cane farmer members - this conversation has shown that we can remain united and benefit the common cause of agriculture even when we don't always agree.