Originally from a sheep and cropping farm near Colac in Victoria, Will studied agricultural science and agribusiness at Melbourne University and has held a range of portfolios within Hort Innovation over the years. He is currently one of the organisation’s Relationship Management Leads, and has served as Relationship Manager for the olive industry for around two years.
For Will, the most rewarding aspect of his role is having the opportunity to visit growers one-on-one across the country and hear about the issues that matter most to their businesses.
“We have invested in a range of R&D projects to address key issues for the industry. Talking with you provides a crucial feedback mechanism to help ensure we are investing in priority areas,” Will said.
“I can also provide updates on current olive levy investments and how outputs from these can help your business grow.”
What does your role as Relationship Manager entail?
My role is to develop a sound understanding of the industry, including any opportunities or risks that face the sector, as well as the drivers of profitability for growers. I then work closely with growers and the broader industry, through the Strategic Investment Advisory Panel, to ensure we invest levy funds and funds from the Australian Government into the areas that are deemed to be the highest priority. My role is also to form a key link between growers and these strategic levy investments.
What is the most common feedback you receive from growers?
That depends a bit on the grower of course, but probably the most common issues we hear about from growers are production related. That said, we also have plenty of discussions about
risk management (food safety, biosecurity etc) and stimulating demand.
What are the key opportunities for the olive industry?
The industry’s greatest strength is its product but there are plenty of consumers out there that are either bewitched by the latest fad or simply don’t understand olive oil well enough. In addition, many consumers have no idea that we have a strong olive industry here in Australia. There’s a great opportunity to build support for the Australian industry and increase consumer understanding of the benefits of olive oil. There are a number of projects and non-levy funded activities in place to do this and we are all eager to get results.
Why should growers contact you?
What is the best way to do this? While we have a range of options for seeking advice from growers, the one-on-one interactions we have are invaluable. By staying in touch with Hort Innovation, growers will also be staying in touch with the latest R&D results and projects. I’m always available by phone or email to talk.
Contact Will on 0427 920 924 or [email protected]
R&D Insights is the new insert containing the latest levy-funded R&D project updates, research findings and related industry resources, which all happen under the Hort Innovation Olive Fund. The olive levy is payable on olives that are produced in Australia and either sold by the producer, or used by the producer in the production of other goods. The levy rate on olives is $3.10 per tonne. The investment of R&D funds ($3 per tonne) is managed by Hort Innovation, the not-for-profit, grower-owned Research and Development Corporation (RDC) for Australia’s $9.5 billion horticulture industry. Separately, Plant Health Australia (PHA) manages certain plant health programs on behalf of industry (using a $0.10 per tonne component of the levy). Hort Innovation partners with leading service providers to complete a range of R&D projects to ensure the long-term sustainability and profitability of the olive industry.