Advisory Group

The Centre has an Advisory Group of industry leaders, who provide input and essential feedback to the direction and efforts of the Centre. [Advisory Group Terms of Reference.]

Current Advisory Group members are:

Mr Andrew Hall (Chair) Solutions in Liquid Technology (SLTec)

Andrew Hall (Chair of PHCAG) graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Batchelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) in 1990, majoring in Agronomy.

Andrew is currently Regional Manager and Senor Agronomist (Tas and Southern Vic) for SLTEC fertilizers, an innovative Australian fluid fertilizer manufacturer.

During his career Andrew has specialised in Pome and Stone fruit production including management of quality assurance and field services for fruit exporters Top Qual Pty Ltd and Cherry Isle Tasmania; Production Management of large apple and cherry orchards in both Victoria and Tasmania over a period of 14 years including the establishment of Reid Fruits plantings in the Derwent Valley and has also worked as a Horticultural Agronomist with major Tasmanian agri-business Roberts Ltd.

Andrew has a keen interest in the future expansion of perennial horticulture in Tasmania and agri-education to meet the demand for a skilled agricultural workforce.

Mr Bradley Ashlin, Farm Manager, Top Qual Orchards

Brad is Farm Manager with Top Qual and was named the Apple and Pear Australia Ltd Grower of the year in 2013.

Mr Mick Lang, Research Scientist, Walnuts Australia

Professional objectives are participation in the horticultural industry via: 1) Research (research, development and extension) and Innovation to assist in the sustainable management of crops, 2) provision of objective advice and support to students and early career professionals and, 3) liaison with specialists involved in the multidisciplinary approach to crop production.

Mick is Principal Scientist with Walnuts Australia - Management of walnut RD&E, and provide recommendations for maximizing production and quality of product. Liaise with the Australian Walnut Industry Association (AWIA) and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) for the use of chemical products in walnuts. Walnut industry representative on the Tasmanian Perennial Horticulture Advisory Group, and committee member of the AWIA.

Mr Rob McEldowney, Manager, Essential Oils of Tasmania

Rob McEldowney is an Agricultural Scientist with 28 years experience in the natural botanical extracts industry. He is currently Managing Director of Essential Oils of Tasmania Pty Ltd.

His experience covers all aspects of the production and marketing of a broad range of products for the flavour, fragrance, cosmetic and therapeutic goods sectors. This has involved development of agronomic systems for broad acre production of temperate herbs, new plantation systems for woody perennials and the pioneering of intensive cultivation of Australian native species.

He has designed and constructed specialised mechanical harvesting equipment for crops as well as extraction and refining facilities. He has also had extensive experience with the marketing of essential oils and plant extracts and the development of supply relationships at an international level.

He has been involved with broader aspects of the Australian essential oil industry and is a committee member and past president of the Essential Oil Producers Association of Australia.


Howard Nichol

Originally from North East Victoria, Howard was brought up on a farm overlooking the headwaters of the Murray River.

A degree in Agricultural Science from La-Trobe university led to employment within the Victorian Department of Agriculture and then with the Victorian Eastern Development Association.

Howard has worked extensively in regional economic development in Victoria’s Gippsland and South Western regions and has worked in both the private and public sectors, including State and Local Government and membership based Non-Government Organisations.

Since moving to Tasmania in 2004 Howard has worked in the Regional Economic Development sector before taking on his current role in 2013 as Plant Industry Analyst with DPIPWE’s AgriGrowth Tasmania. In August 2016 Howard and his family purchased ‘Eversley Cherries’ a small boutique cherry orchard overlooking the Tamar River at Legana.

Mr Matthew Pooley, Manager, Pooley Wines

Focused and driven for producing premium quality Tasmanian wines. This is based on developing a sustainable and profitable family wine business. In July 2013 was awarded a prestigious Nuffield Farming Scholarship – is a representative on the South eastern irrigation advisory committee and industry representative on the Sense T Viticulture project advisory committee as well as the Wine Tasmania technical committee.

Mr Oliver Ward, Project Agronomist, Hop Products Australia

An experienced and qualified agricultural scientist, Oliver Ward graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Applied Science (Horticulture) in 1999 and a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) with Honours in 2005.

Oliver is currently the production agronomist for Hop Products Australia and manager of their 225ha hop farm at Bushy Park Estates in Tasmania's Derwent Valley (www.hops.com.au ). Previously, Oliver was a Senior Agronomist with a large Tasmanian agri-business in south-east Tasmania, where he specialised in viticulture with many of the region's iconic vineyards.

Oliver is a passionate advocate for sustainable and efficient production of Tasmania's premium perennial horticulture crops, with a particular interest in hops and wine grapes.