AGRICULTURAL economist Paul Deane feels like he has come home to his roots with his appointment as the new executive director for the National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia.
The former senior agricultural economist at ANZ Bank started work this week in the position formerly held by Chris Wilcox, who has retired after 13 years in the role.
Mr Deane said on a personal level, he has always had a strong affinity with the wool industry. He grew up on a fourth generation sheep and cropping farm in central Victoria.
“I then went on to study agriculture at the University of Melbourne, including completing a Masters degree on farm profitability of genetic change in the Merino industry and market implications for the supply chain.
“Having the opportunity to work back in this iconic industry is like coming home again,” he said.
“The wool industry is where I started.”
Mr Deane has spent the past two decades working within the Australian agricultural sector, including in the wool industry as a market economist within the Woolmark Market Intelligence team, where he gained an in-depth knowledge on Australian wool production and the wool supply chain. He worked for four years in the Woolmark Market Intelligence team at the Woolmark Company as a lead economist where he worked on projects including the ‘Market Demand Potential and Customer Requirements for Ethical Merino Wool in Western Europe, Japan and USA’, while also serving as the Secretary and principal analyst for AWI Australian and State Wool Production Forecasting Committees.
As a senior agricultural economist at ANZ bank, Mr Deane led the development and promotion of the bank’s research in the agribusiness sector, advising government, corporate and institutional agribusinesses ranging from global trade houses, processors and global consumer food and fibre brands. The NCWSBA said Mr Deane has an in-depth knowledge of Australian and international markets and supply chains in the grains, sugar, natural fibres, fertiliser, biofuels and animal protein sectors.
Looking forward to building industry efficiencies
Mr Deane said he is looking forward to hearing first-hand the issues faced at a producer and broker level, and back through the pipeline to see where the industry can continue to build in efficiencies. He sees his role as supporting brokers and growers to help the industry.
“Everyone has got to keep working toward efficiency and productivity.”
Mr Deane believes the Australian wool industry is in a very unique position, being the world’s major producer of Merino wool. Whereas in the beef industry Australia competed with major supplying countries like the United States and South America, in sheep and wool production it had no significant competitors on the volume supply side, he said, apart from perhaps New Zealand with lamb.
“So I am very positive on the outlook for the Australian wool industry,” he said.
“It is in an enviable and unique position and that means the fundamentals are really positive.
“There are a lot of solid building blocks that put us in good stead.”
Mr Deane said current industry issues included increasing uptake of quality assurance or integrity schemes for transparency and efficient information flow along the supply chain.
“How that integrates into supply chain information flow efficiencies is something that I think the industry will be focussing on.”
Deane’s experience welcomed
NCWSBA president Rowan Woods said the council is really thrilled to appoint Paul with his experience in Australian agribusiness and a detailed knowledge of the Australian and global wool industry.
“With Paul’s appointment, the NCWSBA can look forward to continuing to provide key benefits to members including a weekly market analysis newsletter, while working with industry on issues such as how new technologies can enhance both the efficiency and transparency for the sale of wool throughout the supply chain.”
“From a supply chain and market perspective, many agricultural industries and companies are having to grapple with not only the rapidly changing consumer environment and societal expectations, but then at the same time deciding on what and how which digital investments to make in an equally fast evolving landscape.”
The NCWSBA represents the majority of Australian wool brokers, with members accounting for over 80 percent of wool sold at auction in Australia in 2019/20.