ENSURING agriculture is valued by the community, industry and government is a key challenge for the new chief executive officer of the Victorian Farmers Federation, Stephen Sheridan.
The Victorian Farmers Federation today announced it had appointed its former acting chief executive officer to the body’s top staff role.
“After an extensive search by Jo Fischer Executive, the Victorian Farmers Federation board are pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Sheridan as chief executive,” VFF president David Jochinke said.
Mr Jochinke said the VFF “tested the marketplace” and chose Mr Sheridan from more than 50 candidates.
Mr Sheridan said part of his challenge was to ensure the VFF is advocating as effectively as possible on behalf of its members to ensure that government, industry, and whole of community understand both the value of our agricultural industry to the economy. Victoria’s domestic produce is some of the cleanest and healthiest in the world and should be valued accordingly, he said.
The VFF said Mr Sheridan’s appointment came at an important time, as the VFF works to increase agriculture’s influence in the next state election, potential federal elections, and the ongoing organisational issues that all not-for-profit advocacy bodies face as industries consolidate and the number of farm businesses decrease.
“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, if not 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 too,” he said.
“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% 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 $11 billion to our Victorian economy.”
Mr Jochinke said Mr Sheridan has that unique combination of skills and attributes that can be difficult to find in the market. This included extensive commercial expertise and experience developed in various senior management roles in a large corporate agribusiness, several years already with the VFF gaining experience across all levels of government and industry, and his own personal experience and empathy for the sector being raised on a mixed cropping, livestock and irrigation property.