Chair’s Report – by Nicky Mann

chairs_reportDear valued members of Protected Cropping Australia,
I just wanted to write a personal letter in this Christmas edition of the Soilless magazine to THANK YOU most sincerely for being a member of the Protected Cropping Australia peak industry body.

Without your ongoing support the current board of directors and myself would be out of a role and probably concentrating a little harder on our own enterprises & jobs!

However, we believe that contributing to the industry, builds a better community for everyone. So thank you for being involved too.

Connected Collective

As a collective team we are feeling really inspired and challenged to try and make a big difference in the coming two years to our amazing industry. Yes, I am surrounded by a group of talented and passionate directors keenly assisted by our wonderful company secretary, Saskia Blanch and we have BIG PLANS.

So what’s in it for PCA members?

Firstly, we are aiming to double our presence and membership numbers to quantity 1,000 getting more growers involved and connected, as well as assist our valued Allied Trade service a larger, yet highly targeted group.

With more members we will have more bargaining power on your behalf with the politicians who hold the purse-strings.

So if you know anyone that SHOULD be a member of PCA please put them in contact with Saskia, thankyou!
(All our contact details are on the back cover, as always.)

Why Become A PCA Member?
Because we target the specialist hydroponic and greenhouse growing industry, across several commodity groups.

PCA Two Day Regional Study Tours

Secondly, we are planning to hold two 2 day regional tours twice every year. We want to showcase different areas across Australia and we want to really get our growers exposed to new growing regions, novel crops, new techniques, and we want to listen and learn from extraordinary growers doing exceptional things.

Central Coast, NSW 8th – 9th March 2018

Our first two day regional tour will kick off on 8th and 9th March 2018 and cover Port Stevens, Newcastle, Central Coast, and Peats Ride of New South Wales. There is a huge amount of low-med-high tech greenhouse businesses in this area with diverse crops, greenhouses and systems. And yes, you will be visiting Wade’s and my farm, Roses & Berries 2 Go among others.

Naturally PCA members will get the best access to all PCA events.

Tasmania, November 2018

The second regional tour will be in Tasmania in November 2018. Again this will be a 2 day tour and showcase some of the finest protected cropping businesses.

So add these dates to your diary now. And Allied Trade, if you want to be involved with these tours, contact myself as soon as possible. We already have Achmea Australia as the coach sponsor and others.

PCA One Day Workshops

Our one day grower workshops around Australia will continue. The next one is planned for April 2018 in Western Australia to be organised by PCA Director’s Charlie Blogna and Nam Ly, followed by another in the NSW Mid-North Coast in August followed by South Australia in September. (See page 41 Soilless Calendar).

Will you join us too? We hope so.

Membership Survey Feedback

We HEARD you in the 2016 member survey and we are LISTENING.

You say that grower workshops, networking opportunities, farm visits and knowledge transfer are high up on your list of expectations from the PCA. So that is exactly what we are planning for you.

Join us at the PCA trade booth at the upcoming conferences and trade shows;

Berry Quest International Conference
12 – 15th February 2018, Launceston
Hort Connections
18 – 20th June 2018, Brisbane
Hydroponic Farmer’s Federation Conference & PCA AGM
25 – 27th June 2018, Melbourne

These are fabulous opportunities to expose protected cropping to the greater fruit, vegetable and orchard industries who are eager to learn more about protecting their precious crops and using our advanced growing systems. So get organised now to attend Berry Quest, Hort Connections & HFF in June 2018 to begin with.

PCA Corporate Governance

The new Board of Directors are also getting our governance and house in order with some proposals to make amendments to the constitution which will be tabled at the next general meeting.

The goal is to simplify PCA membership categories, pricing as well as the voting process at elections. The Board of Directors is also getting all procedures in place to be transparent and professional.

We will appoint an expert to help formulate a thorough strategic and business plan to steer Protected Cropping Australia into the future.

PCA’s 15th biennial conference, trade show & farm tours 2019

chairs_report_2Our 2019 conference plans are getting locked into place and it will not be long before the date and venue is announced – watch this space – we are aiming to make it bigger, better and more informative than ever before.

Lastly, on behalf of the Board and Secretary of Protected Cropping Australia I would like to you wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. We ask you to be safe on the roads and enjoy time with family.

May your irrigation keep working, controllers not break down, crop covers keep intact and your plants strive.

Thank you for those of you bringing beautiful, fresh, safe and nutritious tomatoes, cucumbers, capsicums, eggplant, zucchinis, flowers, fish, leafy greens, herbs and berries to our Christmas table this year – We salute you!

Protected Cropping Rocks!!!!!!!