Two long standing growers are stepping up to join the Avoco Grower Relationship Committee (AGRC).
New members Ross Woods and John Cotterell attended their first meeting of the AGRC governance group in October.
The huge experience of Ross and John is welcomed by Avoco during a time of some uncertainty for the industry. Increased global competition and ongoing disruptions to shipping services due to Covid-19, coupled with increased domestic crop volumes in Australia, combine to make for challenging times.
Avoco marketing and communications manager Steve Trickett says both Ross and John’s commercial and orcharding experience will be valued. “It’s great that we have growers of such calibre in Ross and John joining the AGRC to help guide Avoco through unsettling times for growers. Particularly when you consider the projected volume growth and the need to achieve incremental improvements in productivity, fruit quality and market performance.”
Based near Katikati in the Bay of Plenty, John has been in the industry for 22 years, ever since he and wife Cindy bought their orchard in 1999. At that time, they planted 4.1ha in avocados.
“In 2016 we bought a neighbouring property that had 1.0ha planted in avocados. We have since planted another 5.4ha to give us a total area of 10.5ha of avocados. It goes without saying I am very passionate about the industry and its future,” he says.
John also managed a 40ha avocado development for an absentee American owner for three years from 2006, worked part time for Team Horticulture Ltd as well as for Riversun Nursery in 2009/10, and in April 2010 joined Southern Produce Ltd as a growers services representative for 10 years.
A man who likes to keep busy in the industry, John has experience on boards that he is keen to utilise in the AGRC role. He served as a Team Avocado trustee for six years from August 2004 and was a New Zealand Avocado Board director for eight years from 2011.
When he and Cindy aren’t spending time on the orchard, they enjoy spending time at their holiday house at Lake Rotoiti fishing for trout or socialising with family and friends.
Based in the Far North and from a veterinarian background, Ross has been in the avocado industry for more than 20 years. He is keen to start advocating for growers.
Ross would like to see Avoco remain a strong market player, and growers and marketers mutually benefiting from a close relationship that places excellent avocado product in diversified markets resulting in consistently good OGR’s.
Ross is pleased the AGRC role will enable him to communicate more closely with marketers and other areas of the industry.
“This gives me the opportunity to highlight things that may have an influence on marketing decisions at a regional or national level,” he says.
“The Far North and Mid North areas are so different from the Bay of Plenty that we have to ensure that we are in their ear at times. Examples of this may be environmental challenges, labour challenges, pest or political challenges.
“If I bring any of these challenges to a meeting with appropriate emphasis, then I am fulfilling one of my key roles.”
Ross acknowledges that avocado growers are living in challenging times and need to support one another.
“I don’t believe that it is all doom and gloom with pricing or Covid-19, and I suppose I’m an optimist.
“OGR’s will be a challenge for some growers. I’d like to be in a position to reassure growers that Avoco’s plans and structure are in a sound position to take us all forward in a sustainable manner.”
Away from work, Ross and wife Kathy like to travel while engaging in their passion for scuba diving. They have been to countries such as the Galapagos Islands and love the fishing and diving opportunities the Far North offers from their beach house at Teal Bay.