VICTORIAN Farmers Federation chief executive officer Graeme Ford has almost certainly lost an important bet this week.
And soon he will have to get down to Haig's Chocolates in Farrer House on Melbourne's Collins Street to buy the VFF's membership services manager Jenny Frederiksen a chocolate frog as payment.
Mr Ford wagered with Ms Frederiksen that only 10-15 per cent of VFF members would vote in the annual election of office bearers up to the closing of the postal ballot tomorrow.
But Tuesday this week Mr Ford reported that more 800 ballot envelopes had been returned and today he said there was "probably likely to be 1200-1300 envelopes already lodged".
A potential 10,300 votes could be cast by members, but many of the ballot envelopes would contain more than one vote.
"I reckon I am going to be proved hopelessly wrong, but it has been a good thing," Mr Ford said this week.
In the past, the VFF had struggled to get 500 voting delegates from branches to its annual meetings, usually held in Melbourne.
This year for the first time since the VFF was formed in 1979, all farm members of the federation can vote for candidates in leadership positions.
Postal ballots must be returned to the VFF by April 13 and results will be announced during the VFF Annual Conference in Bendigo on April 19-20.
Mr Ford said many members who had never been to an annual conference were appreciating the opportunity to elect the federation's new leadership.
"I think it has given a new sense of ownership to members."
Candidates for the roles of VFF president and vice president this completed a series of election forums across the state.
Key issues highlighted by members at the forums included rates, foreign ownership, animal welfare, the urban-country divide, right to farm and regulations.
VFF members can still vote personally in the three-way presidential ballot and the two-way vice president contest at the annual general meeting next week.
Ms Frederiksen's comment today was: "He really owes me a very large hamper."
But just to help seal their deal The Weekly Times can reveal that a normal chocolate frog at Haig's costs $1.15, a midi-sized 125gm frog is worth $9.25 and a super-sized 375gm frog can hop out the door for $21.50.
Go for a hamper of big ones Jenny!