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Heavy hitters making moves
TWO heavy hitters of Australia’s pork in- dustry, both well known to me, are on the move, rounding out 2020 – a year in which everything seemed to move, one way or another.
be to ensure that the mo- mentum of innovative re- search was not lost.
Most recently, I received an email in December from John Pluske, chief executive officer and chief scientist of Australasian Pork Research Institute Ltd, advising me and others that he would be leaving Murdoch Univer- sity as at January 1, 2021.
According to Pork CRC, APRIL’s objective was to support research and adoption that improves sustainable production and efficiency in the pork value chain for Australian and New Zealand indus- tries.
Professor Pluske has been working more than half his time in the APRIL role, which he took up in September 2018, with the balance for Murdoch.
However, it is widely known that Murdoch Uni- versity have been hit this year by the COVID-19 pandemic, as have other institutes around Aus- tralia heavily dependent on income from overseas students.
his intent to move on from his main executive role as chief executive officer of Canberra-based Co- operative Research Cen- tres Association this year, after a 10-year tenure.
My other heavy hitter mover is Rod Hamann, who joined the Board of directors of major Western Australian pork producer Westpork at its December 8, 2020 annual general meeting.
John Pluske wearing his APRIL hat.
Since joining Murdoch in 1999, Prof Pluske has held several leadership positions, including di- rector of the Animal Re- search Institute and acting deputy vice chancellor Research and Develop- ment on two occasions.
With student income down and balance sheets looking a bit iffy, redun- dancies have been offered.
Current vice-president Engagement and Global Relations at the Australian National University Jane O’Dwyer succeeds Tony, assuming the CRCA role in January 2021.
His most recent manage- rial role was at SunPork Fresh Food as executive general manager.
Murdoch University is a foundation member of APRIL, along with three other universities in Mel- bourne, Adelaide and Queensland and industry and commercial entities.
With more than 20 years under his Murdoch belt, I can only surmise John may have been attracted to a decent redundancy package.
Therefore, maybe the new year is time for team Peacock and Pluske to push APRIL to become the body it had always promised to be since oc- cupying the space so well filled by Pork CRC.
Highly experienced, Rod spent 17 years in the US and British pork industries where he held various technical, mar- keting and production op- erational roles, including executive vice president at Heartland Pork Enter- prises, VP production at Murphy Farms and PIC USA national sales man- ager, plus UK technical manager.
While most in and around pork research and development circles were aware that John’s energy and time were occasion- ally and not surprisingly somewhat compromised while wearing the Mur- doch and APRIL heavy hitter hats, it’ll be inter- esting to see where he pops up in the new year.
A good bloke, an ex- cellent researcher and a very respected person in pork circles, John will no doubt pop up somewhere – maybe even extending and expanding his APRIL role, which seems to me to be crying out for a bit more direction and lead- ership.
After all, our pork pro- ducers deserve to reap the rewards from a body dedicated to research and development.
I worked closely with John and Rod during my time managing commu- nications for Pork CRC, where they were both di- rectors.
I did make a few quick enquiries prior to column
John might be just the man to drive APRIL for- ward, along with its chair
After 15 well-docu- mented and widely ac- claimed years Pork CRC activities concluded on June 30, 2019, with a dec- laration that its post-CRC transition strategy would
Wearing his Murdoch hat, John also successfully managed numerous Pork CRC research projects.
deadline but alas discov- ered no revelations I can share.
Tony Peacock.
Tony has also signalled
APRIL was also respon- sible for delivering results from research outcomes funded by Pork CRC.
Rod Hamann wearing his Pork CRC hat during a Pork CRC Board visit in 2013 to Craig Mostyn Group’s Linley Valley Pork in Westerm Australia.
Whatever he decides to pursue, I wish him all the best.
For the sake of pork re- search and development in Australia, let’s hope so.
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Australian Pork Newspaper, January 2021 – Page 7

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