Paintbrushes to potatoes in South Australia; the Heysen heritage
South Australian grower Tim Heysen is a self-proclaimed ‘latecomer’ to the potato industry and forms part of a family legacy well known for the production of paintings, not potatoes. Mr Heysen features on the cover of the new edition of Potatoes Australia released this week.
“Australian horticulture is full of characters with incredibly diverse and unlikely heritages and Tim’s story is a fascinating illustration of this,” said AUSVEG spokesperson, Hugh Gurney.
Tim’s grandfather, Hans Heysen, is recognised as one of Australia’s greatest landscape painters, but while Hans used a paintbrush to shape landscapes, Tim prefers a shovel and a tractor.
“The Heysen property is located in Kalangadoo, 50 kilometres north of Mt Gambier in South Australia and produces potatoes which are made into French fries, as well as seed potatoes which will be used to grow future crops,” said Mr Gurney.
In an interview with Potatoes Australia, Mr Heysen identifies what he believes are the major challenges facing Australian growers.
“The biggest threats to our industry today are imports and trying to remain competitive. There are two major components to staying competitive – one is our cost of growing and the other is the high exchange rate,” said Mr Heysen.
AUSVEG is the National Peak Industry Body representing Australia’s 9,000 vegetable and potato growers.
The magazine also features an intriguing interview with the Commercial Director of Dutch-based potato marketing industry leader HZPC, Herman Verveld, who discusses the challenges involved with steering the potato industry towards the needs of the consumer, how the Australian sector can become more market-driven and the importance of consumer research and communication.
Potatoes Australia also canvasses the latest Research and Development (R&D) information relevant to the potato industry including articles which investigate the improved management of White-fringed weevils, the potato genome and on-farm soil fumigation.
The magazine includes a grower profile on one of the youngest members of the Australian potato industry: James Weir from Crookwell, New South Wales.
“At only 18 years of age, James’ enthusiasm and passion for the industry shines through. James sets a fantastic example for other young growers,” said Mr Gurney.
MEDIA CONTACT: Hugh Gurney – Senior Communications Officer – AUSVEG
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