HJA Newsbuds

New CEO coming for HIA

Horticulture Innovation Australia (Hort Innovation) recently announced the resignation of Chief Executive Officer Mr. Matt Brand. Mr. Brand will continue in the role (until mid-2022) while the recruitment of a new CEO takes place. Hort Innovation Chair, Ms. Julie Bird, said Matt has overseen the development and launch of the 2019-2023 strategic plan, and the recent 5-year strategic investment plan (SIP) refresh across all 37 levied industries. He initiated the process improvement project, to assist in improving transparency, visibility and responsiveness of the investments made on behalf of the horticulture industry and has driven a project with peak industry bodies on transforming how we receive investment advice. More than half of Mr. Brand’s tenure was spent navigating a rapidly changing landscape because of the pandemic, including leading the business remotely and supporting the team working from home to deliver our core business, while at the same time supporting the horticulture sector to respond to a range of COVID-related crises around labour, export and demand creation.

New Directors for HIA

Two new Directors have joined the Hort Innovation Board as the grower-owned Rural Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) gears up for its next phase of growth. At the organisation’s virtual Annual General Meeting, voting members elected Catherine Oates and Robert Mullins and re-elected Julie Bird to the Hort Innovation Board. The newly constituted Board then voted that Julie Bird would retain the Chair, and Paul Harker would remain the Deputy Chair. Ms. Bird said horticulture is the fastest-growing agricultural sector in Australia, with a 27% hike in value over the past five years to $15.1 billion, and modelling shows that figure could double by 2030. Ms. Oates is well equipped for the position as an experienced Non-Executive Director with 20 years of international senior management experience in the wine sector, a strong understanding of agri-business, effective stakeholder engagement, RD&E, global marketing, market access, and sustainability. Mr Mullins brings with him a broad range of experience, having held senior technical and commercial leadership positions, and boasting a strong history of industry commitment, said Ms. Bird. She recognised outgoing Directors Stephen Lynch and Sue Finger for their valuable contribution to organisation and the industry as a whole.

Setting a course for protected cropping

A strategy to provide direction and support for crops grown under shelter in Australia has been launched. Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud, said the Australian Protected Cropping Strategy 2021-2030 was a pathway for the industry to develop. He said, “The strategy will look to increase knowledge and the capacity of industry to adopt, and take advantage of, protected cropping systems. With these systems we can look at developing new markets, both domestically and internationally. Implementation of the Strategy is being led by Protected Cropping Australia with support from Hort Innovation. From high-tech greenhouses to basic covers and nets, protected cropping is becoming a popular choice for Australian horticulture. The strategy was developed by Elio Jovicich and Vicki Lane from the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF), and Gary Saliba from Strategic Journeys, plus industry stakeholders. The industry will also need to assure that the environmental footprint well managed.”

Scottish caution on ‘amateur lumberjacks’

Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) recently urged amateur lumberjacks who are venturing in to forests to cut up wind-blown trees, to stay at home and leave the job to the professionals. The call came as staff in one region liaised with police about an individual caught with a chainsaw, cutting storm damaged trees without any safety gear, without any authorisation or any understanding of the risks to either themselves or the public. FLS Chief Executive, Simon Hodgson, said “No matter how well-intentioned, amateur lumberjacks are putting at risk life and limb, not only their own but also those of our staff and contractors who have to make safe the amateur efforts, and those of forest visitors who, arriving later, might think that the trail has been professionally cleared and is safe. Rather than ‘helping’, these people are making matters worse by making us divert our resources into making safe their efforts.

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