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 Ian Henderson (Deputy Chair)

Mr Ian Henderson is the founder, CEO and Principal Vinegar maker at Australian Vinegar and has a desire to help new and emerging industries evolve into self-sustaining, productive and profitable industries.

With degrees in Mathematics and Physics, in addition to Winegrowing, Mr Henderson has had a varied career. Initially specialising in IT management, data security, data matching and fraud detection in the public service, he made the move to wine production, focused on domestic and export sales, which led to an opportunity to become a vinegar maker.

A career highlight was receiving a prestigious Winston Churchill Fellowship in 2006 to study Vinegar making in Europe. This allowed him to understand the possibilities in emerging industries, and how regulation and industry unity is essential to success.

Mr Henderson is excited about the future for AgriFutures Australia and wants to unite the various rural industries to build a community that shares research outcomes, inspires one another and adds value to each other through collective investment in R&D.

“If we are to make commercial outcomes for commercial businesses we need to look, think and act like a commercial entity ourselves.”

Appointed 1/10/17 until 30/9/20.

B.Sc. Mathematics, Physics (Griffith University), Assoc. Degree Winegrowing (CSU), Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, Professional Member Australian Institute of Food Science and Technology.

Mr John Harvey (Managing Director)

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

Mr Harvey aims to make AgriFutures Australia 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 Kate Andrews

Dr Kate Andrews has a diverse professional background which spans Natural Resource Management (NRM), stakeholder engagement and research into policy and practice.

Her experience in rural industries is personal and professional. When she was young, Dr Andrew’s father developed the first export standard buffalo abattoir in the Northern Territory. Her family were also involved in tea tree production.

Dr Andrews has held a variety of roles across Australia, many focussing on NRM. She is currently the Executive Officer for NRM Regions Australia, a consultant and visiting lecturer at the ANU Fenner School for Environment and Society.

Prior to this, she worked to establish the Lake Eyre Basin Coordinating Group (Australia’s only community designed and managed cross-border NRM organisation), and became its first CEO. She was also Chair of Territory Natural Resource Management while based in Darwin and has participated in national committees including the Australian Landcare Council and CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship advisory committee.

“I see the relationship between research and producers as crucial. We need to go beyond a pipeline approach to better service people with relevant, accessible and useful research. AgriFutures work highlights the importance of developing people and communities when seeking to enhance rural industries.”

Appointed 1/10/17 until 30/9/20.

Bachelor of Science, Hons (Australian National University), PhD (Australian National University)

Mr Ric Clark

Mr Ric Clark is an information and communications technology (ICT) leader who has spent his career building bridges between industry, research and application.

He has had a diverse career both in Australia and abroad, working with high profile ICT companies including Nokia/Alcatel-Lucent, NICTA, Ericsson and Philips, in senior manufacturing, strategy, R&D, business development, CTO and CMO roles.

Mr Clark has had extensive experience across the Australian science, technology and innovation sector, contributing to ICT public policy, R&D investment incentives, ICT start-ups and university syllabus.

He has a strong belief that strategy is only as good as its implementation and that ICT is an enabler across all industries.

“I firmly believe the best innovation occurs at the intersection of R&D, whatever the technology, and a demanding user looking for efficiency and/or differentiation. Our agricultural sector, and its importance to the Australian economy, makes it amongst the best local ‘users’ with this critical demand.”

Appointed 1/10/17 until 30/9/20.

Bachelor of Production Engineering (Swinburne University); Centenary Medal for contributions to ICT R&D policy; Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Dr Katrina (Kate) Fairley-Grenot

Dr Kate Fairley-Grenot brings to the AgriFutures Australia Board strong stakeholder engagement experience and a background in strategic planning for rural research and development.

She is stakeholder-oriented with more than 20 years’ experience in management consulting, initially with Coopers & Lybrand then as a business owner. Former roles with grants selection and audit committees, as a start-up CEO, research institute COO and industry analyst, in addition to a strong interest in the relationship between finance and research systems in agriculture, underpin Dr Fairley-Grenot’s commitment to the prosperity of rural industries.

An experienced director, Dr Fairley-Grenot has sat on the board of Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation (now Wine Australia) and Wirra Wirra Vineyards. She has also served as Chair of Australia’s Rural Research and Development Council and on the Prime Minister’s Science Engineering and Innovation Council’s Carbon-Energy-Water Intersections Working Group.

“My vision is that AgriFutures – with and for its stakeholders –continues to ensure that Australia’s agricultural sector has broad and timely access to applicable, world-wide R&D outputs well into the future.”

Appointed 1/10/17 until 30/9/20.

Bachelor of Science, Hons (University of Sydney); PhD Biophysics (University of Sydney); MSc Science & Technology Policy (Sussex); Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and Fellow, Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.


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 the new name for RIRDC – AgriFutures Australia – 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 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.

He joined the AgriFutures Australia Board because of its unique role in research and development across Australian agriculture.

“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 the Kondinin Group, one of Australia’s largest independent research groups. He is currently Chair of the Agricultural Produce Commission of Western Australia, Chair of the Guildford Grammar School Foundation and an independent agricultural consultant.  He has previously been a member of GRDC’s Western Panel, a senior executive in the Heytesbury Group and a director of Vasse Felix Pty Ltd.

Re-appointed 1/10/17 until 30/09/20.

Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (UWA); PhD (UWA), Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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
Peter Baker (Chair), Pat Guerin, Munro Patchett, Steve Martin, Sean Blechynden, Andrew Hayward

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

Drew Braithwaite (Chair), Dr Ben Ovenden, Brian Dunn, Garry Knagge, Barry Kirkup, Michelle Groat, Dr Laurie Lewin, Russell Ford and Dr Vito Butardo

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

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

Pasture Seeds

Lisa Anderson (Chair), David Brown, Joe Cook, Brian Field, Mary-Jane Rogers



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

New and Emerging industries
David McNeil AC (Chair), Paul Donnelly (Chair)Ian Southwell, Doug Jobson, David Falepau, 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

To be reviewed and appointed

To be reviewed and appointed

To be reviewed and appointed

Organisational Structure

AgriFutures Australia Organisation Chart: February 2018