Citrus grower Richard Byllaardt was elected Chair of Citrus Australia following the peak industry body’s annual general meeting.
Mr Byllaardt was elected Chair following outgoing Chair Ben Cant’s planned decision to step down after 3 years in the position. Mr Cant has been appointed Deputy Chair as part of the succession plan. Mr Cant and Independent Directors Iain Evans and Greg Fraser were all re-elected at the AGM.
Mr Byllaardt has served on the Citrus Australia Board for four years, and severed as Deputy Chair for the past three.
“It is a privilege to be appointed to this position and I would like to acknowledge the work of outgoing Chair Ben Cant and former Chair Tania Chapman. Their leadership over the past 10 years has been instrumental in building the technical capabilities of Citrus Australia that benefit growers nationwide.
“I look forward to travelling to all our citrus regions – from Manjimup in south west WA to Dimbulah in Far North Queensland – and talking to growers to hear how we can address issues that would benefit their business. I hope my own experience as a grower, who has dealt with everything from planting trees through to developing customers in export markets, will provide some benefit in these discussions.”
Mr Byllaardt was a co-owner and the former Managing Director of Seven Fields, and together with Greg McMahon grew the company to become one of the largest citrus growers in Australia with sites in Sunraysia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
As head of growing and marketing, he travelled regularly to key export markets, establishing a network of people around the world in the citrus industry. He said maintaining and growing current export markets would be a key focus.
Outgoing Chair Ben Cant congratulated Mr Byllaardt on his election and thanked him for his support over the past four years.
“Citrus Australia has grown from a facilitator of research and development for growers, and leader in market access, to a strong advocate for growers’ rights to all levels of government.
“Farming has always been a multi-faceted business and this is increasingly so. I’m proud that Citrus Australia reflects this in its representation of growers at all levels – by leading where R&D is needed, and also what governments should prioritise.
“We have faced many challenges in the past three years, in particular the citrus canker outbreak in the Northern Territory and the impacts of the pandemic on industry. It has been an honour to lead an organisation that always puts its members and growers first.”
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