|A Victorian potato grower is using social media to ensure the next generation of growers is able to share industry research and knowledge and increase awareness of mental health-related issues.
The Young Potato People (YPP) networking group was founded by Thorpdale potato grower Stuart Jennings with support from crop protection company Adama to help young potato growers connect with each other and improve communication. In recent years, the group has expanded to help young growers build better relationships with like-minded industry members.
“YPP is a fantastic initiative that is helping up-and-coming potato growers become more aware of industry research and the benefits it can have for their business,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Shaun Lindhe.
“The YPP is also an important tool that uses Facebook and Twitter to raise awareness of mental health issues for the industry’s young members and help encourage growers to share their experiences with others in a supportive environment.”
A profile of Stuart Jennings is featured in the latest edition of Potato Grower Success Stories, an annual publication produced by AUSVEG and funded by Horticulture Innovation Australia that highlights the rewards that six potato growers have reaped from implementing potato levy-funded R&D on-farm.
“Stuart is also a regular contributor to industry publication Potatoes Australia, where he is able to promote the latest research taking place in the industry in an effort to inspire growers to take advantages of the latest local and global research and to encourage business innovation,” said Mr Lindhe.
“It is important for the industry to tell the stories of growers who are successful, innovative and socially responsible to encourage others to consider new practices and embrace change.
“Stuart has demonstrated all of these traits in his adoption of social media to ensure young growers are aware of the latest developments in industry research and also create a community that offers support and guidance for young growers who can often feel isolated and be hesitant to seek help.
“Stuart, along with the other growers featured in the Potato Grower Success Stories publication, are great examples of the benefits available to a grower’s business from being actively involved in industry and adopting new research as it comes to light.”
AUSVEG is the leading horticultural body representing Australia’s vegetable and potato growers.