Gerard is a member of the Mossman Industry Management Committee and the Douglas Advisory Board. He also works off-farm as a Technical Field Officer for Mossman Agriculture Services (MAS). He completed an apprenticeship as a Boilermaker at the Mossman Central Sugar Mill and gained broader experience in the industry as a Field Officer at the Mulgrave Central Sugar Mill, located just south of Cairns. Gerard is married to Terese and they have two children.
On farm, Gerard has implemented a transfer of farming practice to zonal tillage, under GPS guidance. To assist the quality of water leaving his farm, he uses hooded spray units and has installed sediment traps. Along with ACFA Chairman Don Murday, Gerard recently participated in the Australian pilot of the Better Sugar Initiative (BSI) farm audit. Also along with Don and other Mossman locals Gerard is growing cocoa, a high value crop which has produced chocolate of outstanding quality.
Gerard is the founding Chairman of the Mossman Next Generation Group which concentrates on positives issues such as encouraging farmers to plant more cane, aiming to improve current farming practices and encouraging farmers to put proper succession plans in place. The group is committed to developing leadership skills so that members can become actively involved in the industry’s decision making beyond the farm gate. Their activities include;
– Conducting study tours to learn about alternative crops and new farming systems.
– Profiling young people in the industry, introducing them to representatives of industry and business.
– Promoting the industry to children of the region through a colouring competition with the results being displayed at the Agricultural Show.
– Organising a cane display at the show.
– Developing leadership skills through leadership programs.
– Participating in company director and project writing training.
– Providing support to members through regular socials with their families and guest speakers.
– Providing younger people in the Australian sugar industry a “voice” so they can increase their contribution to the profitability and sustainability of the industry.
As an ACFA Director, Gerard hopes to engage and encourage farmers – the young and not so young – with his enthusiasm and experience. ACFA is currently holding nominations for two director positions in the central region and Gerard encourages younger farmers to follow his lead and get involved. He can be contacted on 0428 988 136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.