One of my favourite things about representing primary producers is that you won't 'die wondering' what they think!
The producers I have met over many decades, both here in Queensland and elsewhere, are salt of the earth - friendly and welcoming, like all country people, passionate about farming, and brutally honest.
This has certainly been my experience over the past few months with the board and members of Invicta Combined Growers' Organisation, known locally as ICGO, soon to become AgForce's first cane members.
The fact that we share so many personal qualities - as well as issues like Reef regulations, vegetation management and sustainability - gives me great confidence that cane farmers will be right at home at AgForce.
ICGO's request to join AgForce and our decision to take them on as our fourth commodity has received a lot of attention including in the media, some of it negative but the vast majority positive and supportive.
This is consistent with what we found during our consultation with members over the past two months.
Sure, a few vocal members continue to oppose the move - and that is absolutely their right and I applaud their honesty - but around 85 to 90 per cent are strongly in favour because of the benefits they can see to themselves, their business and their industry.
I have nothing but praise for our members and the wider ag industry for enthusiastically and honestly engaging in what was, at times, a difficult conversation in reaching the right decision.
Something that hasn't been adequately acknowledged, I believe, is the commendable courage and 'future-thinking' demonstrated by ICGO in approaching AgForce, knowing it was the right decision but certainly not an easy one.
This demonstrates the quality of their organisation and their members, and I look forward to welcoming them to the AgForce family and adding their strong and honest voices to ours.