THE nursery industry peak body Greenlife Industry Australia has appointed two new extension officers to help protect the $2.8 billion industry.
The extension officers are being funded by Hort Innovation under a national biosecurity and sustainable plant production program to engage with production nurseries.
It comes as the industry is facing extreme challenges from emerging exotic and endemic plant pests, climate change, and changing regulations.
The officers will help provide production nurseries with crucial guidance and support to mitigate any risks to productivity and profitability.
GIA national biosecurity manager, John McDonald, said the extension officers would work alongside industry to enhance plant protection, biosecurity, and sustainable cropping systems.
Mr McDonald said the team would provide on-site support programs under Australian Plant Production Standards.
“Each grower’s journey towards best management practice looks different, faced with challenges unique to their region, crops, and production type,” Mr McDonald said.
“Our role is to help growers get the information that they need, to effectively and sustainability enhance their plant production procedures through the implementation of best management practices, and helping guide them through the adoption and implementation processes.”
This year, the team of extension officers has completed more than 1200 grower visits across Australia.
“Representing the frontline of biosecurity, plant protection and sustainable plant production, there are now five extension officers across the country, providing on-the-ground support to industry,” Mr McDonald said.
“With a larger team, their work will go further in increasing the reach of best-practice innovation and adoption by growers, to ensure that industry is able to continue sustainably producing healthy stock, so communities are equipped to adapt to climate change risks, access plant-based foods and protect the livelihood of millions of Australians.”