VFF president David Jochinke says after reviewing 50 candidates the federation believes acting chief executive officer Stephen Sheridan fits the bill for the chief executive role on an ongoing basis.
He said Mr Sheridan had a unique combination of skills and attributes that could be difficult to find in the market, which included extensive commercial expertise and experience developed in various senior management roles in a large corporate agribusiness.
Mr Jochinke said Mr Sheridan also brought his own personal experience and empathy for the sector, having been raised on a mixed cropping, livestock and irrigation property.
Mr Sheridan’s appointment comes at an important time as the VFF works to increase agriculture’s influence in the next state election and potential federal elections, and tackles the ongoing organisational issues that all not-for-profit advocacy bodies face as industries consolidate and the number of farm businesses decreases.
‘‘I consider my commercial and industry experience and expertise places me in an ideal position to bring a new perspective to the VFF’s operations, while also being well informed of the issues and challenges being faced by VFF and the broader agriculture sector,’’ Mr Sheridan said.
‘‘I look forward to working with the board and management to bring these commercial attributes to achieving our objectives as one of ... the most effective, efficient, and influential member-based advocacy organisations in Victoria.
‘‘I am always heartened working in an industry that, though it may not sit front of mind for the urban population, is at the very heart of what we all devote so much of our time to. Our farm sector is the source of what we eat and drink, and the core ingredient to much of our fashion industry.
‘‘We should be proud that Victoria produces approximately 30 per cent of the nation’s agricultural product, providing healthy food not only for our domestic population to enjoy, but also numerous overseas countries, which in turn contributes over $11billion to our Victorian economy,’’ Mr Sheridan said.
‘‘Part of my challenge is ensuring that we at the VFF are advocating as effectively as possible on behalf of our members to ensure that government, industry and whole of community understand both the value of our agricultural industry to the economy, and that our domestic produce is some of the cleanest and healthiest in the world and should be valued accordingly.’’