A six-month course dubbed the Growing Leaders program, which will develop passionate vegetable growers into dynamic industry leaders, kicked off on the Gold Coast last month with a series of industry meetings aimed at honing leadership skills. The inaugural gathering of the program was hosted by industry body, AUSVEG, and undertaken by Rural Training Initiatives.

“The average age of Australian vegetable growers is now 54, so it is vital that we nurture, educate and assist the younger members of the vegetable industry and groom them for the demands of leadership, given their time to shine is just around the corner,” said AUSVEG spokesperson, Michael Bodnarcuk.

AUSVEG is Australia’s leading horticultural body representing 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.

“Due to the increased cost of labour and a flood of imported produce, food production in Australia has changed drastically over the past decade. As a result, growers must now be as in-tune with the art of business as they are with the growing of vegetables,” said Mr Bodnarcuk.

“The Growing Leaders program trains growers to approach their operations with a broad understanding, diversifying their skills so that they can master all aspects of the business, including chemistry, agronomy, logistics and finance,” said Mr Bodnarcuk.

“The vegetable industry has identified that the development and encouragement of future leaders is essential, and to this end, the Growing Leaders program seeks to expose young growers to industry leaders, representatives from Government, and leading horticultural researchers,” said Mr Bodnarcuk.

During their time on the Gold Coast, participants in the Growing Leaders program sat in on the industry Design Team meetings; responsible for developing ideas to invest $14 million of levy research funds annually. The Growing Leaders also took part in a special alumni networking event involving 40 of the industry’s leading members.

“By investing in programs such as Growing Leaders, the Australian vegetable industry is providing the next generation of growers with the skills they need to lead Australian vegetables on the world stage,” said Mr Bodnarcuk.

“Food production is on the verge of becoming Australia’s next boom industry. By encouraging strong leadership, we’re guaranteeing a great future not only for vegetable growers, but also for the entire supply chain,” said Mr Bodnarcuk.

This project has been funded by HAL using the National Vegetable Levy with matched funds from the Australian Government.

MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Bodnarcuk, Communications Officer, AUSVEG.
Mob: 0400 114 266 Ph: (03) 9882 0277 Email: michael.bodnarcuk@ausveg.com.au