Dr Yolande Kliese has this week joined the busy Australian Macadamia Society team as its research and innovation manager, based at Maryborough.
The creation and funding of the new position by the AMS is a significant move that acknowledges the importance of continuing to support and foster innovation in the local industry as a way of maintaining Australia’s preeminent role as a global supplier of premium nuts.
According to AMS CEO Jolyon Burnett, with Yolande’s broad agricultural experience over two decades in successful commercial enterprises such as Wesfarmers Landmark and MSF Sugar Pty Ltd, the society is confident of her ability to perform at the high level that will be required in her new position.
“Yolande impressed us with her obvious commitment to improving outcomes for growers and her extensive experience working in a range of positions, from rural finance officer with Wesfarmers Landmark to senior agronomist and manager of farming operations with MSF Sugar Pty Ltd,” he said.
Yolande said she is excited to be joining the AMS and is looking forward to learning about the macadamia industry, and working with its growers, who have an enviable reputation of being open and willing to adopt new ideas and to innovate.
“My background in both research and commercial production will assist greatly in the new role,” she said.
Yolande’s experience with MSF Sugar Pty Ltd, which is an integrated grower, processor, marketer and exporter of raw sugar, will provide a solid base for her new role in the macadamia industry. She worked in a variety of senior positions with the company, including as senior agronomist, where her focus was on helping growers adopt new practices to achieve higher productivity and profitability.
A priority for the macadamia industry is to similarly increase production and profitability, and Yolande will be able to apply her valuable experience in this area to develop and implement practical strategies with macadamia growers.
“At the end of the day enterprises need to be profitable, and I will be able to bring my experience understanding yield and cost of production in the sugar industry to macadamia growers,” she said.
This is one reason why Yolande said that she is excited to see the benchmarking work already undertaken in the macadamia industry as a way of identifying where gains can be made.
Yolande will focus on working with innovative growers to help them do their own on-farm trials and research and on acting as a point of contact and resource between the industry and government initiatives such as new regulations in Queensland and Clean Coastal Catchments program in New South Wales.
“I enjoy bringing people together to collaborate for continuous improvement and am passionate about soil health for productivity and sustainability,” she said.
She will also represent the AMS in Queensland and will work closely with Industry Development Manager Leoni Kojetin to promote the adoption of Hort Innovation levy-funded research and development.