Seasoned agribusiness professional John McKillop has taken on one of Australia’s biggest farming jobs as head of billionaire Gina Rinehart’s vast farming interests.
Mr McKillop is the new Managing Director of the agricultural portfolio of Hancock Prospecting, including Kidman & Co, as of this week.
With over 25 properties in its portfolio, Hancock is the second largest beef producer in the country with a total herd capacity of over 340,000.
Australia‘s largest real estate owner Ms Rinehart is selling nearly two million acres of her properties in a jaw-dropping move to get rid of many of her resorts in northern Australia.
Seven major stations in WA and the Northern Territory covering some 1.876 million hectares are on the market although Ms Rinehart will always retain the title of largest landowner in the country, still spanning eight million hectares (after the sale).
It is understood that Mr. McKillop will retain his leading lobbying role as Chairman of the Red Meat Advisory Council.
But he will be stepping down as chairman of LAWD, a Melbourne-based rural property and valuation firm, and he is also a non-executive director of the Dairy Farmers Milk Cooperative, Compass Agribusiness, and the advisory boards of Hummingbird Technologies and Kinross Farms.
Mr. McKillop has also held senior positions at Meat & Livestock Australia, Stanbroke, Elders, Dairy Australia, Hassad Australia, Clyde Agriculture, Cubbie Cotton and the Primary Industries Education Foundation.
Former chairman of the Australian Meat Industry Council and founder of the branded beef company, Atron Enterprises, David Larkin left Hancock in July after four years in the role.
In a statement, Hancock Prospecting chief executive Garry Korte said McKillop had been tasked with making his agricultural division the country’s leading agricultural company.
Mr Korte said Hancock has made strides in the evolution of the culture of cattle care at Hancock “so that all of our staff appreciate that happy and healthy cattle are the best cattle”.
He said the company has invested in additional shading, including over waterers and adjacent areas, stockyards and birthing pens.
Other initiatives include making branding irons as small as possible and adding headrests and padding to cradles for weaners.
âFor staff safety, we have replaced wind turbines with solar wells and installed digital UHF stations and repeaters, so our staff have phone, SMS and email contact in almost all areas of our properties. , in the process of building a communications network in an area similar in size to the South Island of New Zealand.
âWe are also actively researching electric and battery-powered vehicles, which are being tested on several of our properties.
âCurrently, electric vehicles in our environment are even more expensive, but over time that can change.
“Given the early stage of hydrogen development with its many economic and safety issues to overcome, we do not test hydrogen vehicles in our agricultural operations.”
Ms Rinehart said agriculture and its associated industries are critical to Australia’s future.
“It is a major employer, which contributes significantly to the income of our country and ensures the food security of our population,” she said.
âFor our industry to thrive, we need an environment that welcomes investment, and not burdened with costs and government ribbons.
“I look forward to working with John to further improve our agriculture division, while also being mindful of government policies that hurt the entire industry and the businesses that depend on our agriculture industry.”
For his part, Mr McKillop said he was delighted to join Ms Rinehart and the Hancock and Kidman teams.
âI have observed the rapid expansion of this business, as well as the significant improvements that Garry has referred to, and what has been achieved is truly exceptional.
âI look forward to working with a President and Boards of Directors focused on continued growth, active in innovation and true to leading industry standards for employee safety and animal welfare. . “
At the same time, Ms Rinehart confirmed that her company has entered into a deal to potentially acquire the Great Keppel Island development project from Tower Holdings, subject to a “myriad of state and local government approvals.”
There is no confirmation of the price, but it is estimated to be around $ 50 million.
And also, Mr. McKillop’s move follows the resignation of Red Meat Advisory Council CEO Reith Parker.
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The story of McKillop Landing One of Australia’s Biggest Farming Jobs First appeared on Farm Online.