Australian Sandalwood co-operative
ISSUE 1 /SPRING 2018
From The Chair – Dean Butler
Welcome to the Australian Sandalwood Co-operative (ASC) and the first of our quarterly newsletters. The board that has been elected to represent the ASC bring a wealth of industry and research experience to propel the Australian Sandalwood plantation industry forward: Grant Pronk, Geoff Woodall, Andrew Robinson, Ros McFarlane (treasurer), Bethan Lloyd, Bruce Storer (Secretary) and Dean Butler (Chair).
It is an exciting time to be involved as the industry has reached an important stage in its development. Over the coming years the patience of growers will be rewarded financially for their investment and hard work.
Since or formation meeting in April the board and I have been busy with sorting out all the details of setting up the business details of the ASC. We have also been busy with establishing contacts with processors and working towards establishing the business function of the co-operative in a way that will return the best results to our members. The board has also provided feedback to the DBCA regarding the sandalwood regulations for the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 which will regulate the industry in WA.
The ASC will work on establishing markets for all parts of the sandalwood tree including nuts and timber. Initially the ASC will focus on nuts and then timber products. In the future the board will explore all avenues for value adding and maximising returns to growers. This year the board is busy working on the logistics for our first order of 20 tonnes of nuts. More information will be provided in coming weeks regarding this year’s harvest. This will provide a valuable learning experience for us in establishing the logistics and communication required for moving product within WA. In the future this will provide the basis for marketing all sandalwood product Australia wide. I do encourage all members to forward any opportunities for marketing development to the ASC.
I attended the Co-operatives WA conference in early September representing the ASC. This was a great occasion to network with board members from other Western Australian co-operatives. I was encouraged from the feedback I received from the other delegates as to the marketing potential we had as growers of a uniquely Australian product. The Geraldton Fisherman’s Co-operative were an interesting local example. The Geraldton Fisherman’s Co-operative supply 60% of the WA rock lobster export and effectively set the price paid to all WA rock lobster fishermen.
I look forward to working with you all as we develop the industry throughout Australia.
The draft ASC Mission Statement currently says…
…The ASC will support its Member growers in preparing, processing and selling their plantation-grown Australian Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) nuts and timber. ASC will create and promote a marketplace for Australian plantation sandalwood produce exclusively for the use and benefit of its Member growers…
MEET THE BOARD
Board directors from left to right
Dean Butler (chair)
Bruce Storer (secretary)
Grant Pronk and Geoff Woodall absent
See board member profiles below
Dean Butler: Chair
Dean has worked throughout the wheatbelt as a physiotherapist over the last 21 years and has recently completed a post graduate certificate in occupational health and safety management and most recently completed two post graduate units of study in co-operative management. Dean has worked in health management and occupational health and safety in the mining sector.
Dean has lived with his family in Toodyay for the past 16 years and has a small farm in the Koorda shire and has been growing sandalwood at both properties since 2009. Dean has been a member of the Australian Sandalwood Network since 2008.
Dean was one of the founding members of the co-operative and was elected as the chair. He aims to oversee the establishment of a strong co-operative structure that will establish a marketplace for plantation sandalwood and promote members produce locally and internationally. The co-operative should create value for members by maximising their returns. The co-operative should also provide end users with confidence in quality, continuity of supply, provenance, traceable and environmentally sustainable plantation sandalwood products.
Bruce Storer: Secretary
Born in Wyalkatchem before the turn of the century, I was educated at Bellevue Primary School and Wyalkatchem District High School until year 10. At the age of 15 I left school to pursue farming on our family property at North Gabbin and also learnt to shear. Over the next 10 years I spent seeding and harvest on the farm and the remainder of the year shearing. My shearing travels took me to Queensland, NSW, Tasmania, New Zealand, England, Wales and Scotland.
In 1989 we purchased a farming property in Cunderdin, where I continue to live with my wife and oldest son. It was here I had my first experience with sandalwood, after a fire on the property, during which neighbours pointed out several dead sandalwood trees. We promptly obtained a licence and salvaged the dead trees, thus discovering the lucrative sandalwood trade, then $7,000 a tonne.
In 1995 my wife and I purchased 387 Ha in Mt. Marshall. After purchase we discovered a large amount of remnant sandalwood growing on the property and we have since harvested about $30,000 worth of sandalwood, both green and dead, over the last ten years.
As a result we have planted 70 Ha of sandalwood at our Mt. Marshall property over a period of ten years. I have learnt a great deal about cultivating sandalwood and we have no hesitation in continuing to plant more and more sandalwood.
I have been involved with the Australian Sandalwood Network since its inception in 2002, as Committee and Chairperson. I am a Board member of the Wheatbelt NRM and I served on the Forest Industry Working Group, a state government initiative, representing cultivated sandalwood. I am also a member of Avongro, a not for profit Agroforestry focused organisation.
I believe the future for cultivated sandalwood is extremely bright and I look forward to being part of a great and profitable industry in the years to come.
I have spent most of my working life engaged in the Information Technology/Information Management arena before a change in the early 2000s into Environmental Science, where I spent the last 10 years as an Environmental Officer in the mining industry working on site in the Kimberley for several years and later in regulatory roles in Perth. I have very recently retired from professional life and now work a small farm, with my partner, growing Australian Sandalwood.
My interest in Australian Sandalwood sprang from a shared desire with my partner in planting trees in Western Australia. The decision to pursue growing Australian Sandalwood was long considered and never regretted. It ticks all the boxes for my partner and I from good soil management to sustainable farming, a match with the changing climate and finally being able to watch trees grow around us.
We have planted around 20-hectares of our 60-hectare property to Australian Sandalwood with a diverse range of associated host trees. We have three separate plantations planted over the past 10 years.
I accepted a nomination to the Board of the Australian Sandalwood Co-operative because I wanted to see the enterprise of growing and selling Australian Sandalwood produce to succeed where so many other initiatives for Wheatbelt farmers have failed. Think of oil mallees, brushwood, blue gums for wood chips and many others. All good farming opportunities, based on growing Australian native trees, but faltering because the market was not developed or the promised support was not delivered.
The Australian Sandalwood Co-op provides an opportunity for the current flock of Australian Sandalwood growers, believers in both the value of Australian Sandalwood for sustainable agriculture and in the products it provides, to band together and support new growers and promote plantation Australian Sandalwood.
Geoff is a sandalwood grower in the great southern region of WA. He has also been a researcher and has helped many people cultivate sandalwood species for over 20 years. He has pioneered many practical establishment techniques, including direct seeding methods, biodiverse cultivation systems and the orchard style of plantation where sandalwood are spatially offset from hosts for easy nut harvest. Geoff has a passion for our native sandalwood and other native plants with commercial potential.
Rosamund MacFarlane (Huxley)
Most people know me as Ros Huxley due to being married to the late Bob Huxley. I am a mother of four grown up children. I like to be proactive and I like growing anything for good purposes and WA sandalwood got me hooked from the moment I got here.
Through Bob, the ASN, other mentors and through working in our business “Sandalwood Solutions” I have gained a wealth of experience in the establishment of biodiverse sandalwood systems on wodjil soils, a type of acidic sandplain prevalent in our Shire of Mt Marshall and throughout the NE Wheatbelt. The sand is relatively easy to work and if established correctly, the plants can grow quickly on minimal rainfall.
In recent years Bob’s passion had been to find viable markets for the bountiful supply of sandalwood nuts, so I have become intimately conversant with everything from harvesting, dehusking, sorting, bagging and supplying to various entities. The challenge has been to create efficiencies to achieve the best financial return, a difficult task given that the dollar value for dehusked nuts has been very low. Local growers have been very supportive of this initiative which has paved the way for the future.
I am passionate about working together with others to start a sustainable endeavour which will give the best deal to sandalwood growers, initially for the sandalwood nuts and then for other sandalwood products including timber. I believe we will be able to deliver a consistent, good standard of product, as well as have continuity of supply for buyers of large, annual orders. As a group of sandalwood growers, we can do a lot more with ease together, than singly, to maximise the value of our product
I have worked previously as a landcare coordinator in the Shire of Toodyay and as private consultant in environmental management since then. I have been involved with the Australian Sandalwood Network since 2004 since establishing a sandalwood plantation on my rural property.
I think Santalum spicatum is an amazing species and has great potential to help improve sustainability, biodiversity and the economy of traditional farms especially those in in lower rain fall areas. My main hope for the co-operative is to provide economic returns for its members through quality and consistency of supply.
Grant has been involved in the Australian and international sandalwood industry since the early 1990’s. He served seven years in the position as the manager of the Western Australian government sandalwood resource and research development sections. Since 2011 Grant has been the managing director of his forestry consultancy business specialising in sandalwood plantations and their management. Grant is a long-standing member of the Institute of Foresters Australia (IFA).
Grant maintains a strong interest in the development of the sandalwood industry in Australia. His consultancy has assisted many private businesses and government entities with their sandalwood endeavours. He looks forward to sharing his knowledge and skills through the Australian Sandalwood Co-operative.
In 2005 Grant’s business (GP Forestry) established its own Australian sandalwood plantation within the Shire of Wandering. Over the last 20 years Grant has travelled throughout Australia and internationally assisting growers and industry managers involved in Australian sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) and Indian sandalwood (Santalum album). With having significant exposure to the broad range of components of the global sandalwood industry, Grant wishes to assist the Co-operative in providing advice on a range of strategies and commercial decision making. Grant also has a keen interest in evaluating and understanding the private sandalwood plantation resource in Western Australis and how to find the best utilisation and return outcomes for growers. Grant would like to see the Australian Sandalwood Co-operative established as a knowledgeable and experienced outfit that can provide considered, uncomplicated answers and valuable outcomes for its members.
Invitation to Members - Please contact us if you want to participate in the Pool but do not have the ability to process/transport your nuts. The ASC cannot say for sure we will process for them, but we are working in this space and may be able to assist.
Website Development - we are working towards improving the Web site and hope this will be done by end of 2018. got any great pictures send them in to us
Who’s doing the work - the Board is presently doing all the work for the Co-op, but in the future, we hope that Members might volunteer to help with the Co-op setup and work on nut preparation for other members.
Please contact Dean at email@example.com if you want to help
2018/19 Sandalwood Nut Season
In this 2018/19 season we currently have a buyer keen to trade with the ASC for current season’s Sandalwood nuts. The buyer will buy current season, viable sandalwood nuts, de-husked and free of non-viable waste (non-viable waste includes: green and/or poorly formed nuts; damaged nuts; and nuts affected by parasites or mould).
The ASC is intending to assist growers in the filling of this order by creating and managing a ‘Pool’ for its Members. This pool, “FY18/19 Pool No 1” will be open from the 30th of November 2018 and will close on the 31st of March 2019, or at a time earlier if the Pool target of 20 tonnes is reached. A second pool would then be opened for additional tonnage that may be forthcoming.
Members interested in participating in the ‘FY18/19 Pool No 1’ should contact the ASC to receive more information on the Pool. This will be posted to growers directly in the near future, once the criteria for the proposed Pools have been finalised. Please contact Bruce Storer for more information Email: MOB: 0459 549 109
Pools have operated in the grain industry since the 1930 in Western Australia. Participants in a pool deliver their produce, cleaned and packaged as requested by the Buyer, to a depot of the ASC. The Buyer will pay the pool manager, ASC, for the goods delivered. Participants in the pool are then paid by ASC in accordance with their contribution to the delivery. The pool manager subtracts a fee from the moneys paid for the delivery, which covers costs prescribed in the pool mandate (description of the pool’s operation). The members of the pool will be paid for clean net tonnes delivered to an ASC depot. When the Number 1 Pool has reached 20 tonnes it will be closed, and a second pool will be opened. The ASC cannot guarantee the time frame on the sale of the Number 2 Pool but are confident of securing a buyer for any additional receivals. The ASC is only the pool manager and nuts remain the property of the grower until purchased by the buyer. All growers will share equally in the proceeds according to their deliveries to ASC depots. All nuts will need to meet the delivery standard that is mentioned above.
Pools have the potential to create stability in supply and demand situations and can assist in yield fluctuation due to seasonal conditions. They also have the ability to collectivise growers produce for a better market price.
Australian Sandalwood Network has 5 nut wizards for hire by ASN and ASC members.
If you don’t know the nut wizard, they take out much of the back-breaking work involved in collecting sandalwood nuts off the ground.
There is no hire charge but a refundable deposit of $100 is required for each one hired
To Hire please contact Bethan Lloyd on 9574 5882 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimer : the information in this newsletter may be of assistance to you .The ASC board and newsletter editor do not guarantee that this newsletter is without flaw of any kind or is wholly appropriate for your particular purposes and therefore disclaims all liability from any error loss or other consequence which may arise from you relying on any information in this publication