Pohlmans named 2021 Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year
By Gabrielle Stannus
1. Pohlmans is a large, independently owned production nursery employing more than 200 staff and producing over 1,200 different plant species across 150 acres in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley (Image: Pohlmans Nursery)
Pohlmans have been recognised as the Australian Biosecurity Award 2021 Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year at the 2021 National Biosecurity Forum for their contribution to the development of BioSecure HACCP, the national industry on-farm plant protection and biosecurity program developed by Greenlife Industry Australia (GIA) and Hort Innovation Australia. Andy O’Brien, Innovation & Special Projects Manager, says Pohlmans’ involvement in BioSecure HACCP has benefitted not only the greenlife industry in general, but also their own business’s sustainability.
Pohlmans Nursery, a large, independently owned production nursery employing more than 200 staff and producing over 1,200 different plant species in Queensland’s Lockyer Valley, is a very deserving winner of this award, according to John McDonald, GIA’s National Biosecurity Manager.
“Pohlmans Nursery has been a significant partner in the development of the on-site plant protection and biosecurity program, BioSecure HACCP, allowing GIA to test procedures, systems and technology in an operating production nursery, as well as being an industry champion around the importance of rigorous plant protection and biosecurity programs across production systems and along supply chains,” John explains.
2. Pohlmans Nursery: Winners of the Australian Biosecurity Award 2021 Farm Biosecurity Producer of the Year (Image: Pohlmans Nursery)
Andy says that the award recognises Pohlmans Nursery for over ten years of work on BioSecure HACCP.
“We signed up to the Nursery Production Best Management Practice Program over a decade ago, and then adopted the industry-based environmental management system, both independently audited, to assist in keeping the business on track. In 2012, Pohlmans Nursery was approached by GIA to provide comment and feedback on BioSecure HACCP, then under development,” says Andy.
In 2013, Pohlmans became one of the first production nurseries to achieve BioSecure HACCP certification. This production nursery has since elevated their system to the market access level which allows them to use staff specifically trained under BioSecure HACCP and their robust plant protection and biosecurity system to self-certify stock. This has removed the demand for government inspectors and gives the business greater flexibility in meeting market expectations.
BioSecure HACCP has also benefited Pohlmans Nursery by improving plant protection systems, reducing pesticide applications, improving crop quality and reducing crop losses, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars in productivity gains as well as sustainability and environmental benefits.
“As a large-scale plant producer, we recognise our plant protection and biosecurity obligations with regards to mitigating our biosecurity risks, “says Andy, “BioSecure HACCP allows us to do this effectively and economically as its protocols and procedures are developed specifically to suit the needs of production nurseries like ours.”
BioSecure HACCP has enabled Pohlmans to establish an internal quarantine process for imported and exported plant material, underpinned by reliable plant data to support decision-making.
“BioSecure HACCP is now an integral part of our business’ plant protection operations, it is part of how we do business on a daily basis,” says Andy.
Andy’s colleague Chris Johnson, Pohlman’s Growing & Production Manager, agrees adding that BioSecure HACCP has allowed the production nursery to transition from paper records to an online data system, reducing costs and human error, as well as providing greater flexibility for self-certification.
3. Pohlmans’ Innovation & Special Projects Manager, Andy O’Brien (L) and Growing & Production Manager, Chris Johnson (R) (Image: Pohlmans Nursery)
“Our staff now use smartphones and tablets to monitor and survey crops. It has led to greater staff engagement and a team far more likely to communicate and act as soon as an issue is detected,” explains Chris.
Become BioSecure HACCP accredited
“We could not recommend the BioSecure HACCP program highly enough to other production nursery businesses looking to improve their pest, disease and weed management,” says Andy, “The support provided by John McDonald and GIA’s Plant Protection Officers is first-rate.”
To find out how your production nursery business can adopt and implement BioSecure HACCP procedures to create a robust plant protection program, visit www.nurseryproductionfms.com.au.
If you are seeking technical support related to the BioSecure HACCP program, please contact your state’s relevant GIA Plant Protection Officer (PPO) by phone or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The PPOs can visit your production nursery on an obligation-free basis to explain how the implementation of BioSecure HACCP could benefit your business through endemic plant protection practices to market access and biosecurity preparedness.