Leadership training proves popular
A LEADERSHIP training workshop was delivered by Growcom to young horticulture growers (35 years and under) last week in Brisbane.
Feedback was positive from the growers who came from family-run enterprises producing strawberries, vegetables and herbs.
On the first day the tailored industry training program featured presentations on the major issues in Queensland's horticulture industry; fundamentals of policy development; how to talk to the media; social media advocacy; marketing trends in fruit and vegetables; commercial opportunities for value-adding; workforce development and climate change policy.
The second day featured a visit to the Brisbane Markets and the IGA Distribution Centre at Rocklea. Participants then attended Growcom's AGM and a Growcom Board meeting.
On the third day, the growers joined Growcom staff for a crisis communication workshop focusing on food safety and heard a presentation about the Reef Rescue program which aims to provide incentives to growers to improve water quality flowing from farms in reef catchments.
The young growers were then asked to talk about their own businesses and the challenges and opportunities of working in horticulture. In the last session they were joined by Robert Pekin, Founder, Food Connect and Sally Brent, group general manager, Bunny Bite Foods to discuss alternative routes to market.
Aims of the program include establishing networks among the growers, increasing their participation in government and industry policy development and establishing a mentoring and succession planning process.
More than 20 growers expressed interest in the program but were unable to attend due to commitments on their farms. Growcom will hold additional regional workshops in an effort to provide the training to more young growers.
In addition, the participants last week will be asked to run regional events targeting young growers in their turn. A group with the knowledge base and capacity to both represent their industry and further build the youth leadership network in horticulture is the ultimate aim.
The Next Gen project is funded through the federal Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries under the program, Australia's Farming Future.
By ALEX LIVINGSTONE
Growcom chief executive officer