Board of Directors

Mrs Kay Hull AO


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Mr John Harvey

Managing Director

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Dr William Ryan

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Diana Gibbs

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Prof. Andrew Harris

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Danny Le Feuvre

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Emma Robinson

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Cindy Cassidy

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Audit Committee

Diana Gibbs (Chair)

Cindy Cassidy

Emma Robinson

Dr William Ryan

Advisory Panels

AgriFutures Australia is committed to working with industry to deliver the research and development outcomes that meet rural Australia’s needs. We work closely with Advisory Panels to decide on research priorities and to make investment decisions each year.

Members of AgriFutures Australia’s Advisory Panels are selected following an open call process which involves a competitive skills-based assessment and/or consultation with key industry bodies and stakeholders. The successful applicants are appointed to the respective Advisory Panel by the Managing Director of AgriFutures Australia. Applicants are required to declare any actual or perceived conflict of interest to the AgriFutures Australia Managing Director prior to  appointment. Any subsequent conflicts of interest are managed in accordance with the Corporation’s Conflict of Interest Policy.

The term of appointment of Advisory Panel members is initially for three years, with a maximum of two consecutive terms being applicable to any members of the Advisory Panel. However, it may be necessary to retain members for more than two, three year terms to ensure the availability of particular scarce expertise. Where possible, to maintain continuity of corporate knowledge on an Advisory Panel, only up to half the membership of an Advisory Panel are changed at any one time.

The operation AgriFutures Australia’s Advisory Panels is at all times consistent with the Corporation’s charter under the Primary Industries Research and Development Act (PIRD Act) and AgriFutures Australia’s Strategic Research and Development Plan. Functions of the Advisory panels include:

  • Advising on applications for RD&E support in accordance with the objectives and strategies in the Five Year Plans and Corporation guidelines
  • Advising on, and assisting in, the dissemination, adoption and commercialisation of the results of the RD&E activity
  • Monitoring progress in implementing the relevant RD&E Plan and contributing to progress reports to the Board
  • Consulting with, and reporting to, the relevant industry organisation/s in relation to the performance of its functions.

AgriFutures Australia is dedicated to embracing and promoting cultural, age and gender diversity on all of our Advisory Panels.

Chicken Meat Advisory Panel

Katherine Balding (Chair)
Baiada Poultry Pty Ltd
Katherine has over 20 years’ professional experience in the chicken meat industry and her career has spanned Technical Director, National Nutrition Manager, Nutritionist, Quality Control Manager and Laboratory Manager with Ingham’s, an Australia/NZ integrated poultry producer. Katherine recently joined Baiada Poultry Pty Ltd , Australia’s largest poultry integrator. Katherine has a Bachelor of Science, Food Science and Technology (Honours) from the University of New South Wales.

Susan Klein (Deputy Chair)
Susan is the National Technical Services Manager for Ingham’s Enterprises. Susan commenced her career with Ingham’s as a trainee microbiologist in 1995, after completing a Bachelor of Science majoring in Microbiology and Biochemistry at the University of Queensland. Susan’s portfolio includes food safety, quality and animal welfare systems across primary processing, further processing, supply and logistics, livestock, feedmilling and R&D, and she is a technical assessor for the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA).

Dr Sheridan Alfirevich
Sheridan’s expertise spans meat and layer chicken breeders, turkey breeders, meat chickens, turkeys, layers, hatcheries and processing facilities. Sheridan graduated from Murdoch University with a Bachelor of Science (Veterinary Biology) and Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, with Honours. She is a member of Avian Health Chapter of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists, President of the Australasian Veterinary Poultry Association and Board Member of Free Range Egg and Poultry Australia.

Dr Anthony Keyburn
Anthony is Research Scientist, Technical Manager Bacterial Diagnostic Laboratory, at CSIRO and has more than 10 years’ experience in chicken meat research focused on vaccine development, diagnostics, antimicrobial development and welfare. Anthony has a Doctor of Philosophy in Science from Monash University and he developed his industry and research networks through his involvement with the Poultry CRC PhD and Postgraduate programs and associated research projects. He is a Member of Australian Society for Microbiology, Australian Animal Health Laboratory Institutional Biosafety Committee and Technical Manager of the Bacteriological Diagnostic Group.

Jason Fry
Turosi Pty Limited
Jason has been involved within the Australian Poultry industry for 18 years beginning in 1994 as a food science graduate. Early on in his career, Jason completed a poultry farm management certificate and he’s held a number of technical roles in the areas of quality food safety, compliance, customer service, marketing and sales. Jason has also held leadership positions within the poultry industry for the past 15 years across a number of broad fields from marketing and product development to animal welfare and project management. His extensive exposure includes all aspects of the industry across multiple sites and across all states and territories. He’s been involved in a number of company, customer driver committees and programs and he’s looking forward to engaging at a grass roots level.

Tim Wilson
Scolexia – Avian and Animal Health
Tim Wilson is the Director of Research for Scolexia – Avian and Animal Health. Previously, Tim was the Deputy Veterinary Director of the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA). He has managed animal health research funding for Meat and Livestock Australia and has also provided veterinary and regulatory advice to chicken meat and egg producers in government, pharmaceutical and veterinary consultancy roles. He is currently the poultry representative on the AVA Therapeutics and Antimicrobial Resistance committees. His specific R&D interests for the chicken meat industry include: antimicrobial resistance, the impact of feed additives on microbiota, gut health and performance, vaccination efficacy and biosecurity. Whilst involved with the Advisory Panel, Tim hopes to encourage sound study design and funding of various projects that will result in benefits to the industry in the short, medium and long term.

Export Fodder Advisory Panel

James Kellaway (Chair)
Oz Group Co-Op
James has worked across Australia’s agricultural sector for over 35 years, within the sheep, beef, poultry, fruit and vegetable industries. His experience spans export market access and development, strategic management, research, development and extension (RD&E), government relations and marketing. James has a rural and farming background, growing up in Dorrigo, NSW, and a keen interest in fodder production. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) and a MBA, and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and the Governance Institute of Australia. As Chair of the Export Fodder Advisory Panel James hopes to lean on his experience and contribute to advancing productivity in the Export Fodder industry, maximising return on investment for levy payers and creating growth locally for healthy rural communities.

Pat Guerin
Balco Australia
Pat has been involved in the export fodder industry for 25 years in operational and technical management roles and is currently the Procurement and Technical Manager for Balco Australia. His role involves dairy farm management, dairy nutrition and crop agronomy with a strong skew to producing high quality fodder crops. Pat has been a broadacre farmer in WA and SA growing export cereal hay, and previously worked in the stock feed industry in both operational and technical roles for 15 years.

Andrew Hayward
Johnson Group
Raised on a mixed farm in Kapunda SA, Andrew has been involved in the export hay and stock feed manufacturing industry since 1994 and has worked in a number of administration and management roles. Three years living in the United Arab Emirates working for UAE Government Farmers’ Services Centre saw Andrew head up the animal feed department and managing the chain of Agricultural Input Shops. He returned to Australia in 2013 as General Manager of Johnson Group in Kapunda. Andrew has a MBA from the University of South Australia.

Mick Faulkner
Agrilink Agriculture Consultants
Mick is principal consultant agronomist at Agrilink Agricultural Consultants, based in South Australia’s Mid North. He has been involved in the export fodder industry for 30 years, providing advice to both growers and the processing and marketing entities to meet market demand, consistency of supply and product quality. Prior to the establishment of Agrilink, Mick worked in nutrition research and has maintained strong focus on research and adoption techniques throughout his career.

Zane Banson
Wingara AG Limited
Zane is an experienced Chartered Accountant specialising in Board Advisory, Corporate Governance and Financial Reporting for small and micro-cap listed companies. Zane comes with over 10 years experience in CFO Advisory, Company Secretarial, and Financial Reporting from KPMG, Exxon Mobil and boutique advisory firms.  He has managed and advised a wide range of emerging, growth-stage listed companies. His current role as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Director at Wingara AG Limited has seen the acquisition of JC Tanloden’s operating assets for fodder production, and Austco Polar Cold Storage for meat storage and handling. This also included the successful listing of Wingara AG on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX:WNR). He is driven by the pursuit of opportunities in exporting quality Australian produce in the fodder and meat industry, with a particular focus on supply chains. Zane has a Bachelor of Accounting and Finance from RMIT University, Melbourne and is a qualified Chartered Accountant. He is also certified by the Governance Institute of Australia.

Munro Patchett
Gilmac Pty Ltd
Munro grew up on a mixed cropping farm in Canterbury, New Zealand and is CEO of Gilmac, Australia’s largest hay exporter. Gilmac operates five pressing sites in three states of Australia with 150 employees Australia-wide. Munro has worked with Gilmac for 24 years and has been heavily involved with the construction of Gilmac sites and its pressing machinery. Spending time with growers and overseas customers, as well as overseeing the expanding business, is the core focus of Munro’s role.

Steve Woods
Australian Forage Group
Steve has produced oaten hay for over 25 years for the horse industry, export and domestic markets and has a 2000 ha operation at Calingiri WA, focused on oaten hay, wheat, canola, barley and a small cattle herd. He has spent time in China and the Middle East developing oaten hay markets and is currently a Director and shareholder at Hay Australia and Chairman Director of Australian Forage Group. Steve has been involved in the AgriFutures™ Export Fodder Program for two terms and wants to see RD&E contribute to a robust and financially competitive export fodder industry.

Ginger Advisory Panel

Jacqueline Wilson-Smith (Chair)
Sustainable Innovation Co.
Jacqueline has over 25 years’ experience in herb and spice innovation, marketing and R&D, having held global executive roles with McCormick and Gourmet Garden. She is dedicated to creating better food systems to feed the world. In 2019 she founded strategic consultancy, the Sustainable Innovation Co., to facilitate innovative and sustainable design-led commercial solutions to agri-food organisations. Jacqueline serves on several agri-food boards, committees and panels and is co-founder and former Chair of the Food Agribusiness Network (FAN). In 2017, Jacqueline was named the Queensland recipient of the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award and was appointed Chair of the AgriFutures Ginger Advisory Panel in 2021.

Jacqueline has a collaborative leadership style, a wealth of experience in chairing and facilitating boards, committees, panels, projects, workshops and meetings and is deeply passionate about all aspects of the herb and spice industry. As chair of the Ginger Advisory Panel, she looks forward to facilitating robust and respectful conversations so the panel can identify R&D programs that will ensure the resilience of Australia’s ginger industry for generations to come.

Ethan Graham
Ginger Grower
Ethan is the owner and operator of Mountain View Agriculture, a family farm in the Glasshouse Mountains, Queensland. He established his family farming business in 2014 and using his land management, crop growth and leadership expertise has grown Mountain View Agriculture into a successful operation. Ethan acknowledges the challenges of growing ginger and appreciates the importance of RD&E to understand the impact of growing conditions on ginger yield and quality. Ethan is interested in the role technology (for example robotic sprayers) can play in the industry as well as the health benefits for consumers and development of disease free ginger. He brings his creativity, business expertise and grower perspective to the Advisory Panel.

Jeff Skilton
Ginger grower at Skilton Farms
Jeff has been trading in the horticulture industry since he was 13 years old. He has grown a wide range of crops including Citrus, Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Watermelon and many more. Not only is Jeff a ginger grower in his own right but he is also a Builder by trade, which provides him with an inquisitive mind and an appetite for solving issues. Jeff enjoys solving issues on both the practical side of farming and the mechanical side to achieve improved outcomes, which can also be transferred to providing inspiration for applicable R&D for the industry.

Philip Brett
Philip is the owner and operator of a commercial ginger farm located in Kenilworth, Queensland. He has been affiliated with horticulture since the age of 14, growing various crops such as garlic, melons and now ginger. In 2019, Philip established his ginger farm and over three years expanded his growing production significantly. Philip is interested in developing the Australian Ginger industry into a resilient, economically competitive, and sustainable agricultural landscape. He brings a wealth of growing experience, enthusiasm, and a grower perspective to the Advisory Panel.

Rob Abbas
Rob has been involved with the Australian ginger industry for over 25 years, with experience ranging from farm agronomy to pest and disease control, to project management and extension services. He is committed to helping ensure the industry’s continued viability and growth. Rob’s specific RD&E interests are based around the need for the Australian ginger industry to not only maintain viability through best practice management developments but to also be a reliable supplier of a quality and safe product to markets. It is Rob’s hope that whilst on the Advisory Panel the industry will cement its reputation as a reliable and consistent supplier of a quality Australian product. This will be achieved through sound farm-based solutions to address the barriers currently effecting reliability of supply.

Kylie Templeton
Commercial Director and third generation farmer at Templeton Ginger Pty Ltd.
Kylie is responsible for the logistics of the business, liaising with wholesale agents, managing sales as well as marketing for the Templeton Ginger brand. She has led the business to handle its own Human Resources and organised all Food Safety and HARPS requirements.

Not only has she inherited the 70 years knowledge of all things ginger, she has also volunteered for nine years as the Secretary and Treasurer of the Australian Ginger Industry Association. She completed the Australian Institute of Company Directors Course providing her with a greater understanding of business skills and corporate governance.

Emerging Industries Technical Advisory Group

Dr Aanandini Ganesalingam

Dini is the Business and Research Development Manager for InterGrain’s wheat, barley and oat breeding programs and has more than 9 years’ experience in all aspects of RD&E. Dini has a PhD in plant breeding & statistics and an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Science (with Honours) and Economics from the University of Western Australia. During her involvement on the Emerging Industries Technical advisory panel, Dini hopes to contribute to the extension of R&D to ensure that various projects in their design and application, see implementation and deployment to the benefit of the industry.

Dr Anh Nguyen

Dr. Anh Nguyen owns and runs Torch Bearer Wines Estate. She was born and raised in the old quarter of Hanoi, Vietnam and has spent most of her adult life in Canada, USA, and Sydney working as a researcher and product development engineer, before making the career switch to her passion – farming and wine making. Anh won the prestigious AgriFutures Rural Woman Award for the state of Tasmania in 2019, holds a PhD in Environmental Engineering from University of Massachusetts Amherst and is a member of AICD. In addition to being the managing director of her own company, Anh is also a non-executive board director of Natural Resources Management South.

Bronwyn Venus

As the Head of Partnerships and Grants for Sugar Research Australia (SRA), Bronwyn’s focus is on identifying partnerships to support the delivery of SRA’s innovation and commercialisation agenda, building long-term, strategic partnerships aligned with the delivery of transdisciplinary systems and solutions to address industry priorities. As a senior researcher for more than 30 years with organisations including CSIRO, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and the University of Queensland, she is passionate about the agriculture and food industries.

Darren McCoy

Darren formerly ran his own corporate advisory business, specialising in inbound investment in Australian agriculture. He has since established a native botanicals business and has a deep understanding of the native foods industry, particularly Lemon Myrtle and extensive commercial knowledge of, and passion for, the Australian native botanicals market. He is as well connected to the myriad of dedicated traditional growers as he is to the vast network of global buyers of botanicals. Darren is a graduate of Wharton Business School, a leader and director with extensive cross-border business experience.

Dr Davina Gregory-Dunsmuir

In her current role as a Policy Analyst with the Department of Natural Resources and Environment Tasmania, Davina manages various policy initiatives to support the goals of the Department, in particular the Industrial Hemp industry, and projects to support the AgriVision 2050 goals among others. Davina is bringing her passion for supporting new industries to grow and develop through her lived experience with establishing strategic priorities, risk management, research, development and extension, new product introduction, governance and regulatory experience. Davina is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, with experience on a number of boards including the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and the Tasmanian Government Biosecurity Advisory Committee.

Derek Cropp

Derek is a consultant actively involved in obtaining seaweed aquaculture licences for private companies in Western Australia. He designed and operated Australia’s first successful commercial hatchery for silverlip pearl oysters (Pinctada maxima) in Western Australia. He taught micro-algae and shellfish culture at the UTAS Aquaculture Centre and trained staff at several commercial hatcheries around Australia. Derek is a Churchill Fellow and studied scallop culture in China, Japan, Canada and New Zealand while he was a scallop research officer with the Tasmanian Fisheries Dept. He has been an external member of the Institutional Biosafety Committee for UTAS since 2019 and is a well-connected and accomplished member of the Australian Aquaculture industry.

Dr Harjeet Khanna

Harjeet is an independent consultant and plant scientist with 35 years’ experience in agricultural research and research management. She was previously an Executive Manager at Sugar Research Australia (SRA) and brings with her extensive expertise in research program and project management, including R&D gap analysis, investment prioritisation and development of impact-oriented business cases to drive research investment. Her career highlights as a biotechnologist include generation of the world’s first Fusarium resistant Cavendish banana clones and high pro-vitamin A enriched banana clones for Africa, as part of Gates Foundation Grant Challenges in Global Health program.

Dr Keith Noble

Dr Keith Noble is a tropical fruit grower and Rural Planner in FNQ. He is a director of the Reef and Rainforest Research Centre and Chair of Terrain NRM, the Natural Resource Management body for Queensland’s Wet Tropics, previously a director of Growcom, Troplinks and Regional Development Australia. He was Founding Director of Australian Tropical Fruits and Australian Tropical Marketing before Cyclones Larry and Yasi changed the course of the emerging tropical fruit industry. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and a Registered Planner with the Planning Institute of Australia.

Dr Matthew Hall

Matt currently works as the Phytosanitary & Market Access Manager for Draslovka Services, focusing on the global acceptance of environmentally sustainable fumigants for the treatment of goods in international trade. He has over fifteen years of experience managing industry-funded research programs and has completed his bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Science and PhD in Horticulture at the University of Sydney and his Master of Business Administration at Griffith University. Matt is also an Adjunct Associate Professor at Central Queensland University (CQU), where he contributes to the Institute for Future Farming Systems.

Patrick Madden

Patrick has over 40 years’ experience in agriculture, in hands-on farming, academia, carbon research and rural policy. Whilst working on the mixed enterprise family farm in Central West NSW, he spent four years with TAFE NSW teaching early computer applications and wool classing, before moving onto university lecturing in farm economics and accounting. Over the past 20 years he has worked with the NSW Government in economic modelling, research and policy development, particularly in drought, industry assistance and regional development.

Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel

Professor Ben Oldroyd (Chair)
Ben has worked in the fields of honey bee genetics, behaviour and ecology for over 40 years. Throughout his career, Ben has held roles with the Victorian Department of Agriculture, the United States Department of Agriculture Honey Bee Breeding Laboratory in Baton Rouge and the Australian Research Council at La Trobe University. He has made important contributions to the industry, including researching the biology of Asian honey bees and Cape bees, launching the BEE Lab at the University of Sydney, establishing Plan Bee and helping beekeepers breed better, healthier strains. Ben has attained a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture at the University of Sydney, Ben completed his PhD in bee breeding. He has authored over 300 scientific papers on honey bees and stingless bees and in 2001 received a Doctor of Science for his contributions to the understanding of the evolution of honey bee societies. As Chair of the AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel Ben wants to use his unique skill set as a beekeeper, scientist and board member, to raise the profile of the program and make a lasting difference in the industry.

Dr Rob Manning
Rob is an independent consultant and former research scientist for the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development. Over the past 27 years, Rob’s beekeeping-research career has been topically wide and not confined to any one thing. His career highlights include an evaluation of the WA queen bee breeding program, surveying pollens for their fatty acid profiles and testing fatty acid enhanced feedstuffs to improve bee nutrition, and research into WA honeys – using the late Professor Molan’s methodology – to find antimicrobial activity in WA honeys. This project originally discovered the high activity of jarrah and marri (redgum) honeys (higher than manuka). Rob is keen to work with the Advisory Panel to explore honey bee nutrition, pollination and how honey bees can improve food production in Australia, as well as the drone side of queen bee breeding. Rob is also the recipient of several awards including the Goodacre Memorial Award, the Best Innovation or Invention Award (WA Government) and the Inventors Award (Karragullen Field Day).

Dr Diana Leemon
Diana is a business owner of Myco-Vation where she acts as a research advisor and consultant. Over the past 20 years, she has conducted and led research projects across a range of livestock industries including honey bees. Diana has been an amateur beekeeper since 1997 and has been associated with small hive beetle (SHB) research, almost since it arrived in Queensland in 2002. Diana joined the AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel in 2017.

Steve Fuller
Bee Services
Steve has worked in the honey bee industry for over 40 years. With his brother Wayne they run Bee Services in northern NSW, producing organic honey and pollinating fruit, berries and nuts across the north coast. Bee Services has been certified as an organic producer by the Biological Farmers Association since 2005.

Steve is a member of the Crop Pollination Association of Australia and is the current President of the north coast branch of the NSW Apiarists Association. He is passionate about educating people both within the honey bee industry and across the wider community, about the benefits of bees and their importance in the food chain.

Through his involvement on the Advisory Panel, Steve wants to share his experience and knowledge to advance the Australian honey bee industry and see an increased appreciation of the industry. He believes that if industry and researchers work together practical research outcomes will be delivered to address industry challenges.

Ashley Zamek
Hort Innovation
Ashley is the Research and Development Manager of the Pollination Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative at Hort Innovation. Ashley works with the 35 industries Hort Innovation represents, to address the need to create a sustainable and resilient Australian horticultural sector through improved crop pollination services and pollinator options. Ashley was appointed to the AgriFutures Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel in 2017.

Neil Bingley
Apiarist Neil Bingley works with his brother David and son, Brett in managing 2,000 hives across the South Eastern quarter of New South Wales which occasionally extends into Victoria. Neil has been a professional beekeeper since 1980 following in the steps of his Father. As a commercial beekeeper he is always looking for ways that lead to on-farm innovation. Neil has extensive involvement in the beekeeping industry as President and Executive of the NSW Apiarsts’ Association (NSWAA) and NSWAA’s Southern Tableland’s branch. Neil has also been an Executive Member of the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) and is a recipient of the Keith Mcllvride Memorial Award 2014. Neil looks forward to providing a commercial beekeepers perspective to the Advisory Panel and will be voicing the industry’s need for clear practical outcomes. He is keen to share his on-farm experiences and work with the Advisory Panel to ensure RD&E has practical outcomes for Australian beekeepers.

Jonathon Monson
Monsons Honey and Pollination
Jonathan is a fourth generation beekeeper from Victoria, working in the family’s beekeeping operation from a young age. Monsons Honey and Pollination is one of the largest pollinators globally, coordinating over 110,000 hives annually. Pollination is a major part of their business, with a particular focus on almonds.

Jonathan spent the 2010 season beekeeping in Canada, pollinating blueberries and experiencing varroa mite first hand. He has travelled to the United States on multiple occasions, meeting beekeepers, growers and researchers, discussing challenges facing the honey bee industry. Through his travels and conversations domestically and overseas, Jonathan has developed a good understanding of the key challenges facing the industry.

Jonathan would like to see further research into nutrition, supplementary feeding, and Queen breeding. He wants people to understand the heavy reliance on bees for food production and how fragile the insect is. Bees are one of the key foundations in the food production chain, if the bees are healthy, the industry is healthy.

Pasture Seeds Advisory Panel

Lisa Anderson (Chair)
Riverina seed grower
Lisa is a Riverina seed grower and prime lamb producer based near Wagga Wagga NSW. Lisa’s career has spanned governance, strategic planning and financial management. She is the Chair of FarmLink Research, a farming systems group, conducting broadacre research and extension projects. SALRC (Southern Australian Livestock Research Council) provides recommendations on R&D initiatives and investments in the Australian red meat industry for south-eastern Australia. Lisa is the Chair of SNSW. With extensive industry experience and networks, Lisa is interested in increasing collaboration between funding bodies to leverage adoption of RD&E outcomes. Lisa has a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Sydney and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Meredith Mitchel

Researcher, Agriculture Victoria

Meredith Mitchel is a pasture agronomist and research scientist with experience across various pasture systems. For the last 30 years, Meredith has worked with Agriculture Victoria, based at Rutherglen in northeast Victoria. During her career, she has worked across a diverse range of pasture systems, with a large focus on native grasses, including the selection of cultivars and the management of existing native pastures. The breadth of pasture related projects she has supported spans from native grasses species selection to management strategies for lucerne pastures. research, development, and the translation of research to industry. Meredith is bringing to the Pasture Seeds Advisory Panel her passion for research, development, and the translation of research into industry.

James Sewell
Grower, Kia-Ora Pastoral
James is a full-time farm manager on his property Kia-Ora Pastoral at Smeaton, Central-West Victoria, his enterprise produces breeder cattle and prime lamb; potatoes – seed and commercial; pyrethrum seed; irrigated lucerne and pasture hay; and rotates other crops such as canola, wheat, and barley. In his spare time, James works for Meridian Agriculture as a Pasture Agronomy Consultant, and in 2021 established the consultancy business ‘JC Sewell Consulting’, which provides RD&E services to the agricultural grazing and pasture seed industries. James has obtained a Bachelor of Agricultural Science with honours, a diploma of Agribusiness and Master of Science Degree. James is also a Qualified Person (QP) for Intellectual Property Australia (PBR Office) for many agricultural pasture and crop species. He initially begun his career as a research agronomist before moving into the RD&E space. With a diverse range of experiences and qualifications, James brings a strong technical background in pasture seed RD&E to the Advisory Panel.

Brian Field
Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania
Brian is a Senior Industry Development and Extension Officer with the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA). He has held various RD&E roles across Tasmania’s mixed farming systems, working in the grains, seed and pastoral based industries. Brian’s work is focused on developing industry connections for private and public partnerships to enhance RD&E delivery and impact. He has represented TIA on various local and national bodies and is the Tasmanian representative of the National Wool Strategy committee, a member of the Tasmanian Seed Industry Group, and developing initiatives to deliver drought resilience RD&E. Brian has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Biology and Geography Majors) from the University of Tasmania.

Guy Cunningham
South Australian pasture seed grower
Guy Cunningham runs a Lucerne and winter cropping enterprise on his farm in Keith, South Australia. The Cunningham family diversified their farming enterprise moving into pasture seed production in the 90’s when wool and sheep prices fell; this is where Guy’s appreciation for and understanding of pasture seed production began. Guy has been an active member of Lucerne Australia since its beginning in 2005 and served on the Executive Committee from 2011 to 2019, including two years as Chair. Through his experience as a grower and working with Lucerne Australia, he brings a wealth of industry experience and networks to the Advisory Panel. Guy is interested in getting the best return from RD&E investments for pasture seeds growers. Guy has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from Adelaide University and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Jess Nottle
Pasture Seed Production Agronomist
Jess is a Pasture Seed Production Agronomist based in Keith, South Australia and surrounding areas. Prior to completing her agronomy traineeship, Jess worked as an Export Administration Assistant with PGG Wrightson Seeds. Through her current and previous experience Jess has gained an excellent understanding of the pasture seed industry from both a seed growers and seed company perspective. Jess is eager to be more involved in the industry, currently supporting the Australian Seed Federation as the Southern Region Secretary and regularly engages with industry groups such as Lucerne Australia. Jess brings on the ground engagement with growers as well as a strong passion for Australian agriculture to the Advisory Panel.

Tea Tree Oil Advisory Panel

Michael Flanagan (Chair)
Tea tree oil producer, Northern NSW
Michael has been a tea tree oil producer for 20 years in northern NSW and is a qualified accountant with over 40 years professional standing. Prior to professional retirement he owned and operated a large regional NSW accounting, business advisory, taxation and financial planning practice. He worked at a senior level with the Australian Taxation Office in Canberra and overseas as an international taxation consultant. Industry involvement has included board member and national treasurer of the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association.

Phillip Butlin
Main Camp Natural Extracts
Phillip is the Managing Director of Main Camp Natural Extracts (MCNE), the world’s largest tea tree oil producer with operations across 10 farms in NSW. Prior to establishing MCNE, Phillip was an executive and director of Great Southern Limited, an ASX listed managed investment scheme business. Phillip has worked at Macquarie Bank in Sydney and Hong Kong in the bank’s equity capital market division and prior to Macquarie Bank worked for the international accounting firm, Arthur Andersen, in London and Sydney. Phillip has been a qualified accountant for over 30 years; he is a board member and president of the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association.

Digby Growns
Kings Park and Botanic Garden
Digby is the Senior Plant Breeder at Kings Park and Botanic Garden. He manages programs in the breeding and development of Anigozanthos, Boronia, Chamelaucium, Corymbia, Grevillea, Leptospermum and Scaevola. He has worked for many years on the development of Australian native plants for horticulture, and is responsible for the release of over 40 new varieties of native plants including the hybrid Chamelaucium ‘Pearlflower’ series and Grevillea ‘RSL Spirit of ANZAC’. He leads research into new technology developments in plant tissue culture, biotechnology and plant breeding. Digby has a Bachelor of Horticultural Science (Honours).

Associate Professor Reg Lehmann
Manufacturing Technical Services Manager – Integria Healthcare
Reg has have developed a strong experience base within the complementary medicine industry over the past 26 years, working in various roles in the manufacturing areas in senior management roles.  These roles covered Quality Assurance, Production, Technical, New Product Development and Research, his current role is Manufacturing Technical Services Manager for Integria Healthcare based in Warwick, Queensland.  This follows academic studies in Chemistry (Bachelor and PhD) and postgraduate studies in Brewing and Management.  Reg has maintained a strong connection with the University of Queensland as a resource for expertise and advice, reciprocating with input into university programs and activities such as Industry Advisory Board and student placements.

Dee-Ann Seccombe Prather
Down Under Enterprises International Pty Ltd
Dee-Ann is the founder and Managing Director of Down Under Enterprises International Pty Ltd., an international wholesale distributor of Australian tea tree oil and essential oils. With an expanding product portfolio, the business has a growing customer base in Asia and North America. Dee-Ann is a committee member of the Essential Oils Association of Australia and member of the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association. Career highlights include winning the 2015 Premier’s NSW Export Award for Women in International Business and Premier’s NSW Export Awards for Agribusiness, Highly Commended in 2016. Dee-Ann has a Master of Commerce from the University of NSW and Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney.

Gavin Ash
University of Southern Queensland
Gavin has had a long career in research in crop protection across a wide variety of annual (wheat, canola, rice) and perennial crops (jojoba, macadamia, grapevine). Currently, Gavin is the Executive Director of the Institute for Life Sciences and the Environment, but has also held a number of positions at USQ (Director, Centre for Crop Health) and Charles Sturt University (Acting Head of School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences) in the last five years. He has published widely in international journals, is an editor of several international journals, has held research grants valued at more than $17 million and continues to supervise post graduate students in plant disease, entomology, plant breeding and genomics.

Dr Cynthia Cliff
Technology at Work 
Cynthia has worked at operational, executive and board levels in a variety of public, private and not-for-profit organisations. Her experience includes RD&E (research, development, and extension), policy, economic transformation, technology and social change across a wide range of industry sectors including mining, agriculture, health and the environment. She is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) with 10+ years’ Board and Advisory experience. A journey from family farming background via a PhD in organic chemistry, consumer product testing, and health research has provided a springboard for career-long engagement in industry development work that often crosses traditional discipline and social boundaries in a way that has useful similarities with the production, formulation, manufacturing, and marketing challenges faced by the Australian tea tree oil industry.

Peter Entwistle
North East Agricultural Services
Peter is an agronomist who has provided a respected agricultural advisory service (North East Agricultural Services) to the Australian tea tree industry for the past 20 years. Advice includes plantation development, soil nutrition, insect pest management and, weed and disease management (IPDM). Most of the industry now uses this advice. Peter has also been employed by the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association (ATTIA) and the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) to carry out a range of research and extension projects to improve tea tree production. These include the ATTIA Code of Practice the industry now uses as a production standard and continual improvement to the IPDM strategy.

Glenn Donnelly
Blue Dog Agriculture
Glenn founded and has since been the contiguous Managing Director of Offco Pty Ltd (Oil Food and Fibre Company) T/A Blue Dog Agriculture, a vertically integrated Grower, Distiller, Distributor and Global Exporter of Australian Tea Tree Oil and other Botanical Derivatives. Glenn is a member of the Essential Oils Producers Association of Australia, a long-standing board member for over 25 years and is currently Vice President of the Australian Tea Tree Industry Association. Glenn is a qualified agronomist initially completing an Applied Science Diploma – Horticulture at the then Queensland Ag College in Gatton followed by a Bachelors in Agribusiness graduating in the first tranche of Agribusiness degrees in Australia from UQ Gatton.  Now with over 25 years of experience in the industry and having developed a world’s best practice distillation and distribution facility in Northern NSW, Glenn and Blue Dog Agriculture are regularly referred to as the industry’s benchmark grower and distillers. Glenn and Blue Dog Agriculture regularly conduct on-farm R&D and often in conjunction with universities including SCU Lismore.

Thoroughbred Horses Advisory Panel

Professor Nigel Perkins (Chair)
The University of Queensland
Nigel is the Head of School, School of Veterinary Science at the University of Queensland. He is the Deputy Chair of the Queensland Veterinary Surgeons Board, Director at Large for Region III (Australia, New Zealand & Asia) for the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges and represents UQ on the North Australia Beef Research Council. Nigel’s work has a strong focus on improving animal health, production and welfare outcomes in Australian livestock as well as providing leadership within the veterinary profession and in science, food sustainability and one health. Nigel is recognised nationally and internationally as a leader in the field of veterinary epidemiology.

Dr Catherine Chicken (Deputy Chair)
Scone Equine Hospital
Catherine is an equine veterinarian in the Hunter Valley NSW. She has a PhD in epidemiological aspects of Rhodococcus equi infection (rattles) in foals and is a member of the Australian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists in Medicine of Horses. She is a consultant to the Scone Equine Hospital on equine pathology and infectious disease. Catherine currently holds a position on the education subcommittee of Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA), she is a previous Policy Advisory Councillor for EVA, Scientific Editor of the Australian Equine Veterinarian and EVA Executive member and a former Superintendent of Scone Equine Hospital Clovelly ICU. Her special areas of interest include emerging infectious diseases, antimicrobial stewardship and One Health.

Derek Field
Widden Stud
Derek is the General Manager of Widden Stud, a position he has held for over 35 years. He has been heavily involved in thoroughbred horse research projects throughout Australia, including the development of a mares and stallions database for the Hunter Valley, the ‘Rattles’ research program, EAFL Outbreak, Equine Reproduction, West Nile Virus, and EAFL research.

Derek is an active member of the thoroughbred horse industry; and is a past Director and Vice President of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, past Director and President of NSW Thoroughbred Breeders Association, and is currently a Director and Treasurer of Hunter Valley Equine Research Centre.

Michael Grieve
Owner/Operator of Grandview Stud
Michael Grieve is a former teacher who has worked in Australia and overseas. During his education career he has held senior leadership roles including Head of Department Mathematics, Senior Dean, Head of Senior Students and Pastoral Dean. Michael has always had a love for horses and turned his passion for horses into a business establishing Grandview Stud, a thoroughbred property at Peak Crossing near Ipswich, Queensland. Michael has a strong focus on giving back to the community holding a number of volunteer roles with the Royal Queensland Show Council, Ipswich Show Society and executive member of the Queensland Thoroughbred Breeders Association.

Michael is passionate about the future of the Thoroughbred Industry and ensuring the “Sport of Kings” is accessible to everyone. He is also keen to share his industry knowledge with others and has a particular interest in exploring why foals are lost and why certain horses do better than others.

Dr Craig Suann
Dr Craig Suann was the chief regulatory veterinarian for the NSW thoroughbred racing industry for 33 years, most recently as the Senior Official Veterinarian at Racing NSW and previously for the Australian Jockey Club.

Craig served as Chairman of the Racing Australia Veterinary and Analysts Committee which provides expert advice relating to national drug control policy and equine health and welfare matters. He is a current member of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) Advisory Council on Equine Prohibited Substances and Prohibited Practices, and the IFHA Welfare Committee, in his capacity as an IFHA Technical Advisor.

Previously, he has been Chairman of the International Group of Specialist Racing Veterinarians (IGSRV), and past Secretary of the Australian Equine Veterinary Association (now Equine Veterinarians Australia), including convenor of its 1987 and 1992 Bain Fallon conferences.

Jacqueline Stewart
Racing Australia
Jacqueline is Keeper of the Australian Stud Book, the official authority for the identification of racehorses in Australia. The Australian Stud Book, a division of Racing Australia, was established in 1878 and contains records of the second largest population of thoroughbreds in the world. Jacqueline leads the Stud Book and Registration team to provide independent breed integrity and ensure it continually strives to improve the services for owners and breeders to remain a world leader in its field. Jacqueline joined the Australian Stud Book in 1998, becoming the Deputy Keeper from 2005 and the Keeper in 2014.

Mike Becker
Independent Stallions
Mike Becker has been involved in stud management for more than forty years, beginning at the former Goodland Park Stud, Narrung, South Australia. He managed Stockwell Stud in Victoria in 1989 for four years before launching Independent Stallions in 1992 which grew to 11 stallions by 1994.

Mike has been a board member of Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV) for 14 years, serving as President from 2000 to 2008. In 2008 he was honoured to receive life membership of TBV. He has also served on the board of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia for eight years.

He is particularly passionate about advancements and improvements in foal development and nutrition and how that relates to the farm gate in a workable application. He believes research outcomes need to be understandable, easy to use and available to any breeder to help reduce early foal deaths. As a member of the Advisory Panel, Mike hopes to use his extensive knowledge of the industry to add value to the research and development programs.

Organisational Structure

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AgriFutures Australia Organisation Chart: May 2022

Engagement Approach

Consultation Framework and Plan

An overarching consultation plan and framework, that outlines AgriFutures Australia’s approach to consultation, the mechanisms used and consultation activities utilised to promote stakeholder engagement across the business. This consultation plan and framework have been designed around six key principles: transparent; accessible; straightforward; well planned; fit for purpose; and responsive. These principles underpin meaningful, best practice consultation that is conducted in a genuine, frank, and respectful manner, promoting trust at the centre of all AgriFutures stakeholder interactions.

Please see a copy of each document, below:

AgriFutures Australia Consultation Framework

AgriFutures Australia Consultation Plan