NEW blood has entered the board of Horticulture Innovation Australia (HIA) but the majority of the faces remain the same.
The nation’s horticulture research and development corporation welcomed two new members, Jenny Margetts and Paul Harker, at the organisation's annual general meeting last Friday.
Ms Margetts has worked in the horticultural industry for more than 25 years in a range of roles across the supply chain.
Mr Harker has more than 20 years of retail experience spanning store operations, supply chain, buying and marketing, including four years heading up the fresh produce buying team of one of Australia’s largest retailers.
The board is charged with jointly managing $120 million in research, development and marketing activities across the horticulture industry each year with funding from the Australian Government, grower levies and other sources.
While the AGM was closed to the media, it was live-streamed. Growers, peak industry body representatives and other stakeholders attended, according to HIA.
HIA company secretary Sally Holmes said 221 eligible voting members registered which amounted to 27 per cent of all levies managed.
The meeting also resulted in a change in the constitution which formerly required a statutory declaration to confirm levy amounts.
"Hort Innovation recognised through feedback that the requirement to submit a stat dec to support the amount of levies paid was a disincentive to participate," Ms Holmes said.
"Therefore, at the meeting, the board put forward a change to the constitution to remove the stat dec process.
"This was supported, and as a result, Hort Innovation expects to see increased engagement with the AGM process next year."
Selwyn Snell retained the HIA chairman's position while northern NSW grower Mark Napper was re-elected deputy chair.
The complete board comprises:
- Selwyn Snell (chair)
- Mark Napper (deputy chair)
- Paul Harker
- Stephen Lynch
- Prof Rob Clark
- Richard Hamley
- Sue Finger
- Jenny Margetts
- Peter Wauchope
There were seven candidates in the running for five board positions.
On the day of the AGM, HIA hosted a morning forum in Sydney to provide insights into the horticulture industry.
The speakers included celebrity chef Kylie Kwong; Young Farmer of the Year and CEO of Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs, Jan Vydra; and I Love Farms general manager Emma Germano.
In his welcome, HIA general manager of research marketing and investment, David Moore, described the speakers as champions in their field.
"Some of you may know them; some, you may not know as well but I can assure you that each one of these individuals will have a profound impact either directly or indirectly on our industry in the next short to medium term," he said.
"There are people we need to be engaging with at Horticulture Innovation. They are people who share our vision and want to drive this fantastic, vibrant industry to a higher level."
Mr Snell said he was honoured to be re-appointed to the position by the board, and was keen to work with fellow members.
“This is a really exciting time for the Australian horticulture industry. Growers have never been more innovative and there is so much technology coming online,” he said.
“Consumers are also becoming increasingly health conscious so the consumption of fruit, vegetables and nuts is in the spotlight like never before."
Mr Snell said HIA was working hard with growers to identify and tap into new trade markets, with a number opening up in recent years.
“At Horticulture Innovation Australia we are progressing in leaps and bounds. The organisation is in a great place, working closely with industry and top national and international researchers, companies and government agencies to get tangible results for nation’s growers,” he said.
Mr Snell welcomed the re-appointment of Professor Rob Clark and Peter Wauchope to the board.
He also thanked retiring former directors David Moon and David Cliffe for their work and commitment, wishing them the best of luck in their future endeavours.
Mr Snell said HIA had close to 600 projects in the research and development pipeline, and was in the process of delivering more than 100 marketing projects.
“Over the past year, Hort Innovation has driven a host of wins for industry including streamlined and strengthened health and safety audits to save growers time and money when accessing major supermarkets and key overseas trade markets," he said.
“I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings and I look forward to working with growers, industry representative bodies and research partners to continue to see never-before-seen advancements in Australian horticulture."