Hancock Prospecting appoints John McKillop as CEO of Hancock Agriculture

We are pleased to confirm the appointment of John McKillop as the Chief Executive Officer of Hancock’s agricultural interests, including as the CEO of Kidman & Co, commencing on 1 November. John has an outstanding agricultural industry background, having held senior positions in multiple large, diversified agricultural businesses and industry bodies.

Over an extensive career, John has held multiple senior management positions in highly regarded Australian agribusinesses such as Stanbroke and Elders. John then held senior executive roles in several high performing businesses, including as Managing Director of Clyde Agriculture and Chief Executive Officer of Hassad Australia. He is also the Independent Chair of the Red Meat Advisory Council and has sat on multiple boards for agribusiness companies ranging from innovative technology companies to service providers.

Mr Garry Korte, CEO HPPL said, “John has been charged with making our agricultural division, the leading agricultural business in the country. We have made a head start, changing cattle care culture at Hancock, so that all our staff appreciate that, “happy healthy cattle are the best cattle”. Hancock has invested significantly in additional shading over years, including over water troughs and adjacent areas, stock yards and in birthing paddocks. Other initiatives include making branding irons as small as possible, and adding head rests and padding to weaner cradles. For staff safety we have changed windmills to solar bores, and installed digital UHF and repeater stations, so that our staff have phone, text and email contact across almost all areas of our properties, in the process building a communication network across an area similar in size to the south island of New Zealand! We are also conducting active research into electric and battery operated vehicles, which are under trial on several on our properties. Currently electric vehicles in our environment are still more expensive but over time this may change. Given the early stage of development of hydrogen with its many economic and safety issues to overcome, we are not trialling hydrogen vehicles in our agricultural operations.”

We have installed a hybrid solar power system on one of our remote Kimberley properties after a competitive bid process. Some commentators without direct knowledge of our operations have commented, that the system was more expensive than necessary. This ignores that, not being linked to the grid given its remote location, our system requires additional batteries to provide power at night when there is no sun or a grid to be able to rely on. This also does not take account of the fact that a building is required to properly protect the power systems and does not consider that stations in the north can be cut-off for long periods during the wet season, requiring adequate spares to ensure continuity of power. A further consideration is that solar panels have a limited life becoming less efficient over time and ultimately need to be disposed of, creating an environmental waste management issue, as well as needing further expenditure for the new replacement solar panels . Our conclusion taking these and other relevant factors into consideration was that the cost of solar in our remote operations is more expensive. Should this cost be able to be reduced then clearly we would be willing to conduct a further trial, given our plan was to provide hybrid solar power across all our stations and farms that are unable to be on the grid. While the commentators have provided generic costs for limited aspects of an installation we would welcome them or anyone else providing genuine suppliers who are able to provide reliable solar power equipment and installation, at a reduced cost.

Mrs Rinehart , Exec Chair of the HPPL group, and founder and patron of national agriculture and related industries day, added “Agriculture and its associated industries are essential for Australia’s future. It is a major employer, contributes significantly to our country’s revenue and provides food security to our population. To allow our industry to flourish we need an environment that welcomes investment, not overburdened by government costs and tape. I look forward to working with John towards making our agriculture division, even better, whilst also being mindful of government policies that hurt the whole industry and those businesses who depend on our agricultural industry.”

John McKillop said “I am excited to be joining Mrs Rinehart and the teams at Hancock and Kidman. I have watched the rapid expansion of this business, together with the important improvements Garry has referred to, and what has been achieved is truly outstanding. I am looking forward to working with a Chairman and Boards that are focused on further growth, who are active with innovation and continuing with industry leading standards in employee safety and animal welfare.