AS headers start to roll through Australia’s record pulse crop, the industry’s peak body, Pulse Australia, has elected a new chairman, Ron Storey, adding new expertise to its board.
Out-going chairman, Peter Wilson, stood down at the end of his six-year term having led the board through a period of unprecedented growth in the pulse industry.
In accepting the role of chairman, Mr Storey said Mr Wilson had served Pulse Australia and the industry well with a determination to see pulses take their place as a regular component in farming systems across Australia’s grain growing regions.
“Mr Wilson has been a champion of Australian pulses here and on the global stage,” Mr Storey said.
“In the 2016 International Year of Pulses the industry has enjoyed wider exposure within the farming and consumer communities, with an emphasis on the health, environmental and economic benefits of growing and eating more pulses.”
Mr Storey comes to the role of chairman after serving as a director on the Pulse Australia board for over 10 years.
His depth of industry experience and knowledge of the various structures across the agricultural and grains business sectors are key strengths he brings to the role.
“The pulse industry is now in a very positive position. Globally, demand is strong and growing. Locally, farmers are growing more pulses — area planted is up 35 per cent over the last decade. Even more importantly, value is growing because pulse prices are strong and there are thriving export container supply chains in Australia are adding value and creating regional jobs,” he said.
“Pulse Australia, with support from organisations like GRDC, has played a pivotal part in the development of the industry for over 30 years. It is important that the pulse industry has a strong, non-political voice, with an understanding of relationships through the value chain; from farm gate to international markets.”
Mr Storey plans to steer the peak body through a repositioning process that will ensure the essential services that underpin Australia’s premium quality export standards are maintained, along with international market development.
“Australia is the world’s largest exporter of chickpea and the vast majority of our pulses are sold into international markets,” he said.
“These markets have come to expect high quality produce from Australia and this has not come about by accident. It is the result of many years work by Pulse Australia and key research and development organisations that have championed improved varieties, better agronomic practice, adherence to quality standards and understanding customer needs.”
“We can’t drop the ball now when our growers and exporters are in full stride to meet the demand for healthy, affordable and sustainable food. We have to aim higher, and we will.”
In addition to Mr Storey’s appointment to the chair, Pulse Australia has also appointed Brett McIntyre as an additional director to the board.
Mr McIntyre brings to the board considerable pulse marketing expertise, with a particular focus on chickpea and mungbean production in NSW and Queensland.