Chris has a keen interest in soil biology and fungi, he considers it the master in allocating resources to their highest and best use. Inspired by his farming company – Mycelia Organics, Chris co-founded escaVox.com to solve a range of quality and data management issues for the agricultural sector. His company is using IoT technology and dynamic data to improve processes, save waste and enhance quality and value propositions for farmers. Chris is the 2018 Australian Organic Farmer of the Year, 2018 AusVeg/PMA Young Grower of the Year, 2018 ABC Rural/Kondinin Group Young Farmer of the Year and recipient of an Award for Excellence in Technology, and sits on the board of Organic Industries Australia.
NSW Office of Regional Economic Development
Ian Smith is the Director of the NSW Office of Regional Economic Development. Ian has more than 20 years’ experience in international trade and investment in both private and public sectors. He has specialist expertise in a broad range of industries and disciplines including disruptive technologies, freight and logistics, business development, international marketing, market entry strategy, competitor analysis and cross cultural leadership. Ian oversaw the development and commercialisation of two startups in the international trade sector that reduced the barriers and increased the capacity of Australian companies to compete globally. In his current role, Ian leads the delivery of regional industry and infrastructure programs across regional NSW to maximise investment, build capacity and enhance employment growth.
Dr Mila Bristow
Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Resources
Mila is the Director Plant Industries within the Northern Territory Government’s Department of Primary Industry and Resources. With a plant science background, she has a passion for complex questions about how best to manage sustainable production landscapes and she is driven to see Indigenous agribusiness development for the benefit of their communities. Mila has held leadership, science and capacity building roles in Northern Territory Government, Charles Darwin University, and Queensland Government. She hold a Bachelor of Science (Honours) from the University of Queensland, a PhD in Forest Science from Southern Cross University, and has completed the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation’s 2018 Agribusiness Leadership Program.
Koorana Crocodile Farm
As a secondary school science teacher turned Research Station Manager for CSIRO (animal health), John has had a varied career, but it wasn’t until an opportunity presented itself in Papua New Guinea (PNG) that John’s focus turned to wildlife industries. His love of nature coupled with his “make it work” innovative approach to problem solving has aided the development of the crocodile, cassowary, dugong, deer and butterfly industries in PNG. A proven innovator, following a return to Australia, John started the first commercial crocodile farm in Queensland. John is a strong advocate for alternative agricultural production and believes that agricultural development and investment is best embraced and encouraged alongside an appropriate research base to understand the risks and opportunity.
Will is Co-Founder of Beanstalk, a venture building business focused on scaling high growth agtech companies. As a humble observer of our food system, Beanstalk exists to challenge, empower and guide everyone along the food value chain to take action to build the next iteration of our food system. Over the past 10 years, Will has dedicated his career leading key initiatives in the Australian and Asia-Pacific agriculture sector across strategy, policy, inbound international investment, trade facilitation, industry development and resources management. Will currently serves on the Committee for the Australian China Business Council (ACBC) for Agribusiness and Food, Committee for ACBC Future Leaders, and AgTech Advisory Panel for Startup-O (a Singapore based venture building platform).