Board of Directors

Mrs Kay Hull AM (Chair)

Kay Hull is a Riverina personality, award-winning business woman, much lauded community leader and former Federal Member of Parliament, representing the Riverina for 12 years.

She has led, contributed to and been influential in a broad range of sectors in the community – from motor vehicles trades and services to local council, tourism, education, health, cancer support, and alcohol and drugs.

Having grown up in regional Australia, Kay has a passion for food and fibre production, and during her time in parliament, ensured the agriculture sector had a strong voice particularly in relation to water access for irrigation. Today she continues her staunch support of regional Australia’s agricultural sector as Chair of the AgriFutures Australia Board.

Taking on the Chairs role in 2016 Kay believes AgriFutures Australia is uniquely positioned to lead the way for Australian agriculture and deliver benefits to the entire nation by investing in people, forging new frontiers of learning, fostering an environment that prizes collaboration, entrepreneurship and real commercial outcomes, and investing in new and emerging industries to ensure the productive and competitive future of Australia’s rural industries.

Appointed 02/08/16 until 01/08/19.

Mr Kevin Goss (Deputy Chair)

Mr Kevin Goss has shown a career-long commitment to RD&E for sustainable agriculture and natural resources management that benefits rural producers.

Having served in chief and senior executive roles in a research company, statutory authority and government agencies, Mr Goss is currently Chair of the Biosecurity Council of Western Australia, an Honorary Research Fellow with The University of Western Australia and the independent chair of the Western Australian Marine Science Institution’s R&D Committee.

Mr Goss believes AgriFutures Australia is uniquely placed to lead cross-sectoral research and innovation in an evolving and more global agribusiness sector, facilitating startup and emerging industries while supporting all agricultural industries through leadership development and effective public policy.

He sees his role on the Board as an opportunity to draw on his extensive experience and to contribute to the organisation’s bold strategic direction, which requires innovation, entrepreneurship and new ways of doing business in the digital age.

“AgriFutures Australia has the culture to embrace this new era and ‘trail blaze’ private-public research and innovation collaboration through its agility and cross-sector mandate. This is a great challenge and a great opportunity for Australian agriculture.”

Appointed on 16/10/14 until 30/09/17.

M.A. (Communication), Michigan State University; B.Sc. (Agriculture) Hons (UWA)

Mr John Harvey (Managing Director)

Mr John Harvey joined RIRDC in May 2016 as Managing Director. He accepted the challenge to set a new, more commercial direction for RIRDC.

Mr Harvey aims to make it a change agent for transforming existing industries with new technologies and seeding new, high value industries that ensure Australian agriculture continues to grow.

Prior to this appointment, Mr Harvey held various positions at the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) spanning 18 years, including five years as Managing Director.

A graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Mr Harvey was a Director of Australian Crop Accreditation System Limited and a Director of the Value Added Wheat Cooperative Research Centre.

He has served on the boards of Pulse Breeding Australia, Barley Breeding Australia and the National Soybean Breeding Program. He was also a member of the Australian Winter Cereals Pre-Breeding Alliance and the CRC for Plant Based Management of Dryland Salinity.

Appointed 03/05/2016.

BSc (Rural) Hons (University of New England), Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Tony Hamilton

Dr Tony Hamilton is a farmer from Forbes, NSW, and is currently the Managing Director of a diversified cropping and livestock business.

A farmer all his life, Dr Hamilton has a passionate interest in all things rural and sees the importance of holistic farms and the pursuit of opportunities for new rural industries.

Dr Hamilton has been involved in RIRDC for a number of years, having started with the New Plant Products committee off the back of his experience growing new crops such as Jojoba and Azuki beans.

He also gained his PhD researching the agronomy and physiology of Azuki and Kintoki beans.

Dr Hamilton joined the Board in 2014 and believes Agifutures – the new name for RIRDC – really captures the enthusiasm and optimism he sees around the country for agriculture.

“Instead of an insular, rearward looking mindset, I see participants in agriculture entering a new era of forward looking, entrepreneurial expansion. It is my vision that AgriFutures Australia will be in a strong position to help facilitate this.”

Appointed on 16/10/14 until 30/09/17.

Bsc.Agr (Hons), PhD (Uni of Syd)

Dr William Ryan

Experience with his grandfather and wider family who developed farms from virgin bush in the wheatbelt of WA inspired Dr William Ryan’s interest for agriculture and he has worked in agriculture throughout his career.

He describes successfully implementing early weaning on extensive cattle stations in northern Australia as one of the proudest moments in his career.  The program significantly increased branding rates and also illustrated to him the tremendous impact that both research and development can have in a commercial cattle production system.

“Innovative research and development is vital to the development and growth of a vibrant and diverse agricultural sector. In a rapidly changing world, AgriFutures Australia has a significant role to play in developing and empowering the people of Australia’s rural industries who, in turn, build strong and resilient regional communities.”

Dr Ryan joined the Board in 2014 with a professional record that includes revitalising and leading Kondinin, one of Australia’s largest independent research groups. He is currently Chair of the Agricultural Produce Commission of Western Australia, a member of GRDC’s Western Panel, and an independent agricultural consultant.

Appointed on 16/10/14 until 30/09/17
Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (UWA); PhD (UWA) GAICD

Ms Heather Stacy AM

Ms Heather Stacy brings to the AgriFutures Australia Board extensive agribusiness experience with a noteworthy career in the corporate, government and not-for-profit sectors here in Australia and internationally.

Currently an Executive at the Alliance Group in New Zealand, Ms Stacy has held senior roles with the Fonterra Co-operative Group in Australia and New Zealand, BlueScope Steel, United Dairyfarmers of Victoria, Simplot and Metro Meat International.

A recipient of the Australian Rural Leadership Program and an ANZAC Fellow. Ms Stacey is committed to supporting thriving rural communities and joined AgriFutures Australia in 2014 to contribute directly to the development of new and emerging rural industries.

Ms Stacey said her greatest inspiration since joining RIRDC is the commitment of the people on Advisory Panels and the staff supporting rural industries to grow and prosper.

“I want to see AgriFutures Australia as the vanguard of innovation in agriculture – stepping up to meet the needs and expectations of future generations.  The organisation’s biggest challenge is to maintain the focus and momentum to stay at the forefront of the transformation of Australian agriculture.”

Appointed on 16/10/14 until 30/09/17

Dip App Sci (Ag); MBA (UofSA); GAICD; Grad Cert Rural Leadership (JCU)

Dr Keith Steele

For the past three years, Dr Keith Steele has brought his expansive agricultural knowledge to the Board.

Currently Managing Director of Steele Business Solutions Pty Ltd, Dr Steele is also contracted by AusIndustry as a Case Manager for Commercialisation Australia and a mentor at the University of the Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre.

With a passion for innovation and commercialisation of new products, processes and services, Dr Steele joined RIRDC because it is a small organisation with the potential to facilitate the emergence of new industries, disrupt business models and add significant value to existing (or create new) value chains.

“AgriFutures Australia is an organisation that identifies new opportunities early, facilitates development and commercialisation of those new opportunities, and encourages development of tomorrow’s leaders. The challenge ahead lies in identifying opportunities and people early and being brave enough to significantly disrupt existing value chains and change the status quo.”

Appointed on 16/10/14 until 30/09/17.

DPhil (Chemistry) (Waikato University, NZ); MAgrSc (1st Class Honours in Soil Science) (Massey University, NZ); BAgrSc (Massey University, NZ)

Dr Len Stephens

Dr Len Stephens has worked in rural R&D all his life, initially as a veterinary research scientist and pathologist, then as a R&D manager for a range of rural industries.

Currently the Managing Director of the Seafood CRC Company Ltd, a Cooperative Research Centre involving 30 industry and scientific partners focused on seafood productivity and market development, Dr Stephens is also Chair of Australian Seafood Industry Ltd, and a Director at Animal Health Australia Ltd and the SA Estuary Care Foundation.

With a strong interest in AgriFutures Australia’ mandate to carry out cross-sector research and research into national issues affecting agriculture, Dr Stephens joined the Board in 2011.

Dr Stephens says seeing the on-farm adoption of the many R&D products made available to smaller industries thanks to RIRDC funded research is one of the best parts of his role.

“As with all R&D Corporations, the big challenge for AgriFutures Australia into the future is to stay relevant to farmers by delivering useful outputs, teaming up with the best available science and researchers to work on projects, and having the courage and political will to be innovative and creative.”

Appointed on 01/07/11 until 30/06/14. Extended to 30/09/14. Reappointed on 16/10/14 until 30/09/17.

AICD; Dip Agr Sci; BVSc; MSc; PhD

Advisory Panels

AgriFutures Australia is committed to working with industry to deliver the research and development outcomes rural Australia needs. We work closely with advisory panels to decide on research priorities and to make investment decisions each year.

Export Fodder
Chair (vacant), Pat Guerin, Munro Patchett, Steve Martin, Sean Blechynden, Andrew Hayward

Chicken Meat
Gary Millar (Chair) Anthony Keyburn, Elizabeth Krushinskie, Greg Underwood, Guy Hebblewhite, Susy Klein, Peter Chrystal, Sheridan Alfirevich

Ian Mason (Chair) Drew Braithwaite, Peter Kaylock, Garry Knagge, Barry Kirkup, John Sheppard, Peter Herrmann, Russell Ford and Laurie Lewin

Honey Bee & Pollination
Dr Doug Somerville (Chair), Sam Malfroy, Danny Le Feuvre, Tiffane Bates, Dr Diana Leemon, Saul Cunningham, James Kershaw and Ashley Zamek and Dr Dave Alden

Shane Templeton (Chair) Mike Smith, Scott Kirkwood, Nicole Christodoulou, Henricus (Ric) Stevens, Jason Keating

Pasture Seeds

Chris Martin (Chair), Joe Cook, Keith Glasson, Mary-Jane Rogers, Shane Oster



Tea Tree Oil
Michael Flanagan (Chair), Dee-Ann Seccombe Prather, Jerry Vanclay, Digby Growns, Philip Butlin

New and Emerging industries
Ian Southwell (Chair), Paul Donnelly, Doug Jobson, David Falepau, David McNeil AC, Russell Glover, Christopher Joseph, Prue McMichael, Joanna Millar, Doug Stapleton

Thoroughbred Horses
Dr Nigel Perkins (Chair), Dr Catherine Chicken, Dr Judith Medd, Derek Field, Jacqueline Stewart, Tas Reilley

Camel Milk
To be reviewed and appointed

To be reviewed and appointed

To be reviewed and appointed

To be reviewed and appointed

Organisational Structure