Byron women take a growing lead in horticulture industries
LOCAL women are continuing to take on leadership roles in the horticulture sector, with the appointment last week of Bangalow Wholesale Nursery's managing partner Tracey Knowland as chair of the Nursery and Garden Industry Association, Northern Rivers.
This follows on from the appointment last year of Maree Curran, owner of Eden at Byron Garden Centre, as president of the Nursery and Garden Industry NSW.
Employing more than 5000 people and with annual farm gate sales in excess of $650 million, the nursery industry is arguably the largest player in the region's agriculture/ horticultural sector.
"The Northern Rivers is responsible for 33% of the state's nursery farm gate revenue and is viewed Australia-wide as a premium area for plant production" Ms Knowland said.
While being thrilled to take on her new role, Ms Knowland has seen challenges and changes in the industry.
"The biggest challenges we have faced over the past year were the two extreme weather events we had in January this year.
"The other big challenge facing our industry is bio-security, especially with a disease like myrtle rust appearing here in Australia within the last four years."
The Knowlands' business Bangalow Wholesale Nursery has more than two hectares under nursery beds from seedlings to super-advanced stage.
This area is considered a premium growing area. The climatic conditions here on the North Coast can give trees from five months to a year head-start in growing.
"I just love trees and their whole aesthetic," she said. "In summer time there is nothing lovelier than sitting under a tree."