The board of Food & Fibre Gippsland (F&FG) has confirmed Ben Gebert as its new CEO. Gebert had been acting in the role since July.
F&FG chair Barry Rogers said, “It was a considered but ultimately easy decision – Ben had been doing a great job acting in the role and has a really clear vision for the next stages of growth.”
F&FG is a not-for-profit organisation working with industry and stakeholders to create opportunities for a prosperous and sustainable food and fibre sector in Gippsland. It works closely with all levels of government to support producers and growers, processors and manufacturers, and wholesale and retail businesses within the food and fibre value chain.
“At close to $7 billion per annum, F&FG’s value chain represents half of the entire Gross Regional Product of Gippsland. We want to see the sector grow significantly; already, we represent 25 per cent of Victoria’s milk production, and seven of Australia’s 10 largest salad growers are here in Gippsland,” Rogers said.
Gebert said he was looking forward to continuing F&FG’s work with a redoubled focus on growing the region’s profile as a leader in food and fibre production.
“I want to work closely with our members and stakeholders to hear their stories; plan activities together; and better understand how F&FG can work collaboratively to grow our sector.
“Our members are diverse – from large enterprises like Burra Foods to small farms, cafés, and butchers. They are all keen to have the chance to get together and chat, while hearing from industry specialists,” Gebert said.
Gebert moved to Gippsland in 2016, while working as an agribusiness banker. He then worked as a strategic partnership broker in the further education sector, before moving into senior project and management roles at F&FG.
He is a graduate of the Gippsland Community Leadership Program and credits it with focusing his leadership skills and building even stronger connections with other young leaders in the region.
Some of the projects delivered by F&FG are Future Drought Fund’s Victorian Drought Hub project; the joint F&FG and Latrobe Valley Authority Gippsland Smart Specialisation Project; and the joint CSIRO, Regional Development Victoria and F&FG Regional Investment Attraction Project, which brings globally recognised industry leaders and universities together to invest directly in the state’s future industries.
It recently signed a strategic partnership with the Trade Council of Denmark to work together on Gippsland's circular economy plan.