|ACMF Mourns Loss of Industry President Gary Sansom AM
The Australian chicken meat industry is today mourning the loss of Mr Gary Sansom, a man whose contribution to the industry will leave a significant legacy for years to come. Gary passed away last week.
Gary first entered the Poultry industry in 1980 when he and his wife Julie established a contract chicken breeding farm at Jimboomba in Queensland. Gary soon became interested in contributing to the industry beyond his own front gate. His career followed an esteemed path spanning more than three decades.
1985: became Vice President of the Queensland Chicken Growers’ Association.
1991: became President of the Queensland Chicken Growers’ Association and a Councillor of the Australian Chicken Growers’ Council
1998: accepted the position of President of the Australian Chicken Growers’ Council
2002: took up the position of Executive Officer for the Australian Chicken Growers Council, a position that he still retained at the time of his passing.
Gary’s interests extended beyond the industry in which he was directly involved also, and for a decade he served at the helm of the Queensland Farmers’ Federation, only retiring from the presidency of that organisation in 2011.
Gary’s preparedness to step up and serve, and indeed lead, the industry took on a broader dimension in 2009 when Gary was first elected to the position of President of the industry’s peak industry body, the Australian Chicken Meat Federation (ACMF), a position which he held between 2009-2013, and then again from 2015 to his death.
Gary also served on the Chicken Meat Advisory Panel of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation from 2003, initially as a member of the Panel, and more recently as the Panel’s Chair. His particular contribution in this respect was to bring to the deliberations of the industry’s premier research funding body the very specific needs of the chicken-growing sector, whose needs were possibly overlooked to a large extent prior to his involvement.
Gary championed several key communication and training initiatives that were of vital importance to the industry. It is unlikely that there is anyone else in the Australian chicken industry that could have progressed several of these issues so successfully and very few who would have been prepared to take on the challenge of doing so.
Perhaps one of Gary’s greatest contributions was in the area of the environmental management of meat chicken farms. Through his efforts and leadership the industry’s access to and adoption of tools for managing the environmental impacts of chicken farming activities was significantly enhanced. In particular, he led the development of the industry’s first National Environmental Management System. Now on its third revision, this program has been accepted as the industry standard in chicken farm environmental practice since its publication in 2003.
There is no doubt that, without his efforts, the industry would not have achieved the gains it has in recognising the need to operate in an increasingly sustainable way, and implementing changes which reduce industry’s impacts on the environment.
Perhaps as significant has been his pivotal role in driving awareness of the importance of biosecurity in the industry and in engaging industry in the adoption of enhanced biosecurity programs.
In 2009, Gary’s contributions in these areas were rewarded when he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia for his services to primary industries through the development of sustainable agricultural practices and the promotion of environmental and biosecurity management systems within the chicken meat industry.
Gary’s greatest strengths were his ability to work with all sections of the poultry industry to achieve meaningful outcomes for the industry more broadly, and his ability to always see the bigger industry picture. He was always recognised to have the best interests of the industry more broadly at heart in all areas in which he acted on industry’s behalf. These qualities won him the respect of all sectors of the industry.
"On behalf of our members and the broader chicken meat industry, I offer our deepest condolences to Gary’s wife Julie, his son Josh and their family and friends” said Vivien Kite, Executive Director, Australian Chicken Meat Federation.