VegNET

VegNET - the national vegetable industry extension program

AUSVEG is delivering the third phase of VegNET, the vegetable industry extension program that is run by growers, for growers.

The new VegNET program will be led and coordinated by AUSVEG, with on-the-ground extension to be undertaken by trained and experienced regional development officers in organisations with strong grower networks in vegetable producing regions.

The program is overseen by a National Coordinator, who will work with each regional group to ensure a consistent, efficient and effective extension program that supports vegetable growers in growing healthy crops and develop successful, profitable businesses.

VegNET is funded by Hort Innovation, using the vegetable research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.

The new VegNET project will run for five years and involves AUSVEG working closely with regional development officers who have strong grassroots connections with local growers. These officers will increase industry’s awareness of and engagement with best practices in high priority areas, and will help growers adopt practice changes to improve the productivity, profitability and competitiveness of their businesses.

Project team Delivery Partner
Project Lead Zarmeen Hassan, AUSVEG
Project Monitoring and Evaluation RM Consulting Group
 
Region Regional Development Officer (RDO) Contact
New South Wales Sylvia Jelinek, New South Wales Local Land Services sylvia.jelinek@lls.nsw.gov.au 0427 086 724  
Northern Territory Mariah Maughan, NT Farmers E: ido@ntfarmers.org.au M: 0417 618 468 T: (08) 8983 3233
Queensland – North and Far North David Shorten, Bowen Gumlu Growers Association rdo@bowengumlugrowers.com.au 0419 429 808  
Queensland – Bundaberg Andrew Halpin, Bundaberg Fruit and Vegetable Growers vegnet@bfvg.com.au 0407 366 797  
Queensland – Southern Queensland Caley Croft, Lockyer Valley Growers ido@lockyervalleygrowers.com.au 0456 956 340  
South Australia Olivia Pineau, AUSVEG SA olivia.pineau@ausveg.com.au 0404 772 308
Tasmania Ossie Lang, RM Consulting Group ossiel@rmcg.com.au 0430 380 414  
Victoria – Gippsland Bonnie Dawson, Food and Fibre Gippsland Bonnie.Dawson@foodandfibregippsland.com.au 0407 683 938  
Victoria – Northern, Southern and Western Danielle Park, AUSVEG danielle.park@ausveg.com.au 0432 324 822  
Western Australia Michael Bartholomew, vegetablesWA michael.bartholomew@vegetableswa.com.au 0427 373 037  

History of VegNET

In 2016 Hort Innovation invested in ten regional capacity building projects to effectively transfer R&D information to vegetable growers through regionally-based extension projects and associated coordination and training projects. These projects were contracted to delivery partners based in the ten major vegetable growing regions and were unified under a national brand – VegNET.

Phase One The first phase of VegNET finished in early 2020, with the regional development officers (RDOs) delivering R&D awareness and extension activities in their geographical regions.

Phase Two The second phase of VegNET finished in September 2021, and resulted in each region developing regional priority areas for extension. These regional priorities were collated into national priority areas to inform a national extension program that is nationally-consistent and regionally-specific.

The most common challenges from the consultations carried out to develop the National Vegetable Extension Strategy were in relation to:
  • Water (availability, quality and cost)
  • Labour (availability, awards, HR and skills)
  • Input costs
  • Biosecurity
  • Pest management
  • Market development (including export)
  • Post-harvest and marketing
  • Urban encroachment
  • Social license (environmental impact and chemical (mis)usage)
  • Business management


Phase Three AUSVEG is delivering the third iteration of the VegNET program, which will run for five years and involves AUSVEG working closely with regional development officers who have strong grassroots connections with local growers to address the regional and national priority areas identified in Phase Two of the program. These officers will increase industry’s awareness of and engagement with best practices in high priority areas, and will help growers adopt practice changes to improve the productivity, profitability and competitiveness of their businesses.

This project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the vegetable research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.