Next Crop of leaders in the Australian sugarcane industry

Date Posted

24 September, 2019

Posted by

Cathy Weis

The Australian sugarcane industry has nine new potential leaders graduating from an innovative leadership development program.

Called Next Crop, the program is an investment by Sugar Research Australia (SRA). It is a professional and personal development program aimed at sugarcane growers and has created a network of confident, committed future leaders for the Australian sugar industry.

SRA CEO Mr Neil Fisher said that developing future industry leadership has been identified as a priority through SRA’s five-year strategic plan and via ongoing engagement between SRA and the industry.

“To continue to grow and prosper, our industry needs to increase our leadership capacity. This is more important than ever as the industry faces headwinds from depressed global sugar prices and other challenges,” Mr Fisher said.

He said Next Crop is specific for the Australian sugar industry and had helped emerging leaders build their skills and contribute to future leadership roles, delivering a benefit for the whole industry.

The 2019 graduates are Aaron Moore (Atherton Tableland), Tony Bartolo (Mackay), Chris Lyne (Burdekin), Ben Spann (Rocky Point), Kevin Stevens (Brisbane), Michael Giudice (Mossman), Leyton Peterson (Hervey Bay), Rhonda Pirrone (Burdekin) and Michael Cavallaro (Bundaberg).

Mackay grower Mr Tony Bartolo said he enjoyed the diversity of the program.

“The program gave me an opportunity to reflect on myself and to learn with other growers from across the industry. Working on the projects gave us all an opportunity to bring our specific skills together as a team. The future of the sugar industry depends on strong leadership and it will benefit each of the respective regions to have NextCrop participants,” Mr Bartolo said.

The graduates focused on two project concepts aimed at creating a more positive and sustainable sugarcane industry for everyone. The projects were presented at the graduation event where guest speaker Paralympic gold medalist Kurt Fearnley spoke to the group about recognising your strengths and building on them.

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