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.
Reappointed 02/08/19 until 01/08/22.

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 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.
Reappointed 01/10/17 until 30/09/20.

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.

Appointed 11/10/14 until 30/09/17.
Reappointed 1/10/17 until 30/09/20.

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

Audit Committee

Dr William Ryan (Chair)
Mr Richard Clark
Mr Ian Henderson

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.

Chicken Meat Advisory Panel

Guy Hebblewhite (Chair)
Praedium Agri-Management
Guy is the owner of Countryside Farming, a chicken meat production and cattle backgrounding business in northern NSW.  His family has produced chicken meat for Australia’s dinner tables for the last 45 years. In 2013 Guy received a Nuffield Scholarship where he travelled and studied agribusiness management whilst identifying suitable renewable energy technologies, such as anaerobic digestion, to use in the chicken meat industry. Guy also operates Praedium Agri-Management, an agri asset management business and consultancy. He holds a degree in Systems Agriculture from the University of Western Sydney and is the current chair of Nuffield Farming Scholars NSW Branch.

Greg Underwood (Deputy Chair)
Bioproperties Pty Ltd
Greg has more than 16 years’ experience in projects and business management, primarily in the veterinary biotechnology and agribusiness sectors. Specialising in poultry health and production systems, he is a former Director of the Australian Poultry Cooperative Research Centre and former Managing Director of Lohmann Layers Australia, Hy-Line Australia and Broiler Breeders Australia. Greg is currently the Group R&D Manager for Bioproperties Pty Ltd, which researches, manufactures and supplies vaccines globally, and a Director of Aves Consulting. Greg is personally motivated to deliver innovative solutions to industry problems. He has a strong focus on supporting local business to achieve high performance through a sustainable and ethical production system with a global outlook.

Dr Sheridan Alfirevich
Baiada Poultry
Sheridan is the National Technical and Animal Welfare Manager at Baiada Poultry, responsible for Baiada’s national flock health, animal welfare and livestock compliance. Her 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.

Katherine Balding
Katherine is the Technical Services Director at Ingham’s, where she manages the integration of nutrition, commodity purchasing, research and feed quality across all farming operations. With over 20 years’ professional experience, Katherine’s career has spanned National Nutrition Manager, Nutritionist, Quality Control Manager and Laboratory Manager with Ingham’s, Australia’s largest integrated poultry producer. Katherine has a Bachelor of Science, Food Science and Technology (Honours) from the University of New South Wales.

Peter Chrystal
Baiada Poultry
Peter has more than 30 years’ experience in the chicken meat industry, working as a nutritionist in Australia, South Africa and New Zealand. He is a nutritionist with Baiada Poultry where he has implemented new feed formulation software and introduced automated nutrition functions across the business. As the single biggest expense in rearing poultry, nutrition plays a significant role in industry and Peter has a wealth of experience in nutrition management both domestically and internationally. Peter has a Bachelor of Science, Agriculture and Animal Science (Honours) from the University of Kwazulu Natal.

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.

Susan Klein
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).

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.

Emerging Industries Advisory Panel

Brian Ruddle (Chair)
Impact Innovation Group
Brian has been involved in the innovation sector for more than 25 years across Australia, Asia, Africa and the Pacific. He founded Impact Innovation Group in 2006 which has grown to a 20 person team providing innovation, commercialisation and collaboration services for large multinationals, SME’s, startups, not-for-profit’s, universities, incubators and accelerators, and government agencies. He has also formed three agtech startups and a foodtech startup from university research. Brian sits on a number of advisory boards and committees and regularly provides advice to senior management teams wanting to deliver next generation products, services, processes and business models.

Susan Wilson
Bounce Partners
Susan has a recognised national profile in innovation and has contributed widely to Australia’s national innovation, science and economic development agenda through governance and advisory roles. Originally a private sector research scientist, Susan gained international cross-functional experience in startup to tier-1 multinational companies across the biotechnology, agrifood/FMCG, pharmaceutical, medtech, consumer electronics and heavy manufacturing industries. Susan holds a Bachelor of Science, Master of Business Administration and professional governance qualifications. She has a keen interest in open innovation and future workforce development in urban, regional and remote areas.

Ann Ross
Hive Haven
Ann Ross is a regionally renowned bee keeper based on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland. Her company Hive Haven specialises in producing award winning products from both the Australian stingless bee and the European honey bee. Since its establishment in 2011, Hive Haven has gone from strength to strength; the company has won several awards including a Queensland Community Achievement Award for Trade and Career, and Ann has been recognised in the ‘Top 50 Australian Business Leaders of 2018’ by the Australian Small Business Magazine. Ann has a Bachelor of Business and is a Graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She has a personal commitment to driving more innovation and celebration around the development of highly nutritional food sources.

Angeline Achariya
Monash Food Innovation Centre
Angeline is a globally recognised and respected leader in commercialising innovation to market. Angeline’s career has spanned more than 20 years of diverse international innovation and leadership experience in blue chip multinational companies like MasterFoods Japan, Fonterra, Yum! Brands and Mondelez International, which has resulted in more than 800 innovations launched in grocery retail, food service and quick service restaurants. Angeline’s strong commercial and innovation skills have paved the way for her to lead and establish a world first industry shared model, the Mondelez International Food Innovation Centre (FIC), which transitioned to Monash University in 2016 as a neutral industry shared innovation services startup to support the growth and revitalisation of the Australian food and beverage industry.

Christopher McLoghlin
Mycelia Organics
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 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.

Ian Smith
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.

John Lever
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 Taing
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).

Export Fodder Advisory Panel

Peter Baker (Chair)
Fenceline Consulting
Peter is a farmer with a strong affiliation with the grain and fodder industry and operates his own agricultural consultancy business, Fenceline Consulting, in the Mid North and Yorke Peninsular region of SA. With 30 years’ experience in the SA agricultural sector, Peter has worked in agricultural chemical sales, applied research, farm operational management, contract research, on farm agronomy and business support services. Peter has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Roseworthy Agricultural College and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors; he is a Director of SABOR Ltd and Board Member of the well-known HART Field Site Group Inc.

Sean Blechynden
Pentarch Agricultural
Sean was raised on his family’s apple and potato farm in Manjimup WA, and following short stints in the hospitality, travel and mining sectors, he pursued a career in agriculture. Sean worked as a contractor with his father supplying straw and oaten hay for export over a five-year period and for the past ten years has been working with Pentarch Agricultural in the acquisition division for Narrogin Hay WA.

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.

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

Nicole Christodoulou (Chair)
Carter & Spencer Group
Nicole is the Growing Operations Coordinator at Carter & Spencer Group and works alongside an experienced team focused on the sweet potato, greenhouse, citrus and ginger industries. Within her role Nicole is responsible for sales, customer relations, purchasing, payroll and when needed, ground preparations. While she is a newcomer to the horticulture industry, Nicole’s previous work has equipped her with a diverse skillset applicable to her new role, including quality control, document control, project administration and system implementation.

Jason Keating
Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF)
Jason has been involved in the production, sales, trade, research and development and policy of horticulture and livestock industries in various Australian States and Territories for over 20 years. Jason is an agribusiness and industry development professional for the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and has primary production interests in the Mary Valley, South East Queensland. He holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture from Melbourne University, a Graduate Diploma in Agribusiness from Monash University and a Master of Tourism from James Cook University.

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.

Scott Kirkwood
Ginger grower
Scott is a third generation ginger grower originally from the Gympie area where his father farmed ginger and beans. Scott’s father started growing ginger at Wamuran in the 1950s, and his family is now based in the South Kolan district of Bundaberg where they grow 30-40 acres of processing and market ginger. Their processing ginger stays local and supplies Bundaberg Brewed Drinks, while market ginger is sent to Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane wholesale markets.

Dr Mike Smith
Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF)
Mike is a Senior Principal Scientist with the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF) and has worked with the ginger industry for over 30 years. He is based at Maroochy Research Facility, Nambour, centred in Australia’s major ginger production area. Mike has focussed on applied research through strong industry partnerships and collaboration with colleagues within QDAF, as well as other research organisations. A major emphasis of Mike’s work has been production related issues impacting on the ginger industry’s profitability and sustainability.

Henricus Stevens
Ginger grower
Ric is a second generation farmer, now concentrating on seed production for the industry, and a passionate industry advocate keen to ensure R&D investment is made in a productive and beneficial manner, promoting all aspects of the industry. Ginger is an exciting industry to be involved in and Ric wants to use his years of experience to increase the consumption of ginger by building better consumer understanding and promotion of the health benefits.

Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel

Dr Doug Somerville (Chair) 
Doug is the Technical Specialist Honey Bees at the NSW Department of Primary Industries and has worked with NSW DPI for more than 30 years. Doug’s extensive knowledge of beekeeping practices in Australia and abroad was recognised in 2010 with an Award of Excellence from the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council, and in 2015 with the Goodacre Award, the highest accolade in the Australian beekeeping industry. Doug was appointed Chair of the AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel in November 2017.

Danny Le Feuvre (Deputy Chair)
Australian Bee Services 
Danny is the founder and managing director of Australian Bee Services based in Ardrossan SA. His previous experience includes irrigation consultancy, breeding GM canola, broadacre agronomy, research, development and extension. Danny is an executive on the South Australian Apiarists Association, Chair of the Apiaries Alliance SA, SA state representative to AHBIC and sits on several research project steering committees. He has a Bachelor of Applied Science from Melbourne University and is completing a Masters in Agribusiness at the University of Adelaide. Danny was appointed to the AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel in 2017.

Tiffane Bates
CRC for Honey Bee Products 
Tiffane is a fourth generation beekeeper and has worked in the WA bee industry for over 20 years. Tiff is Apiary Manager for the CRC for Honey Bee Products, prior to this she was the Apiary Manager for the Centre for Integrative Bee Research (CIBER) and a commercial queen breeder / producer. Tiff’s industry experience spans Better Bees Western Australia (Rottnest Breeding Program), Agricultural Produce Commission Beekeepers Producers’ Committee and Bee Industry Council of WA (BICWA). Tiff has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Biology and is a Churchill Fellow. She joined the AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel in 2017.

Prof. Saul Cunningham
Saul is a pollination researcher with more than 20 years’ experience. He has worked directly with beekeepers in his research on crop pollination, particularly his work in Australia on almond pollination, conducted over six flowering seasons. His research has also taken him around the world, learning about crop pollination and bee health in many countries. Saul has been a member of the AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel since 2014.

James Kershaw
NSW Beekeeper 
James is a fifth generation beekeeper from Southern NSW and is a partner in his family commercial beekeeping operation, Sterling Kershaw & Co. He currently runs 2400 honey production hives and 400 nucs for queen rearing and has provided a pollination service for almonds since 2007. James has been an active industry member for the past 14 years and has been President of the Southern Tablelands Branch of the NSW Apiarist Association since 2012. James has been a member of AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel since 2014.

Dr Diana Leemon
Diana is a mycologist and principal scientist for bee health and arthropod pest management within Agri-Science Qld, the Research and Development division of the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (QDAF). Over the past 18 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.

Sam Malfroy
Wheen Bee Foundation
Coming from a beekeeping family, Sam worked at Plant Health Australia (2011-2016) where he established and managed many national honey bee and pollination programs. For this work, Sam received the AHBIC Award of Excellence in 2016 for service to the honey bee industry. From 2016-2018 Sam worked at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in international trade and market access. Sam is currently employed by the NSW Government (Department of Premier and Cabinet) where he works on regional infrastructure and programs. Sam has been a Director of the Wheen Bee Foundation since 2016, and joined the AgriFutures™ Honey Bee & Pollination Advisory Panel in 2017. Sam holds a degree in Horticultural Science (Honours) from the University of Sydney.

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.

Ignite Advisory Panel

Guy Coleman
University of Sydney
Guy is a Precision Weed Control Scientist at the University of Sydney. He is responsible for the engineering controls component of a larger Grains Research and Development Corporation project. Guy is also the founder of AgriEducate, an online educational resource aimed at educating city dwellers about agriculture. Since deciding to pursue a career in agriculture over medicine, Guy is committed to sharing the story of agriculture, demonstrating its importance and value, and encouraging those who may not have otherwise considered a career in the industry.

Andrew Duver
Australian Agribusiness Group
Andrew is passionate about rural Australia, having grown up on family farms in the United Kingdom and Australia. This passion led him to a career in agricultural investment and finance. Andrew is an Asset Manager at the Australian Agribusiness Group. Investment management, cost-benefit analysis and production analysis are key skill sets. Andrew’s passion is to bridge the divide between investor requirements and the realities of agriculture, such as financial reporting and governance.

Joshua Gilbert
PwC Indigenous Consulting
Joshua is an Aboriginal (Worimi) man and believes it is critical for Indigenous people to have a voice in the future of our agricultural sector. Joshua brings a wealth of policy, financial and business planning knowledge to the AgriFutures™ Ignite Advisory Panel. He has worked with rural and regional communities to redesign health pathways and services in South West Queensland, wrote and led a research report on the commercialisation of native foods in Australia and designed a cash flow management package for 3 million small businesses across Australia for the Australian Taxation Office.

Susan Hall
Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development WA
Susan is driven in her day-to-day work goal of delivering value to the agricultural sector.
She is the Acting General Manager at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development within the Agribusiness and Food Investment officer. Her responsibility is to lead development and implementation of investment strategies to deliver opportunities to support the growth of the Western Australia agribusiness and food sector. Susan grew up on a family farm in Western Australia’s wheatbelt. She has a strong passion for building capacity and leadership in our industry. Volunteering on the Australian Grains Institute Council from 2011-2015, she led the development of an industry-funded project to develop a framework for supporting capacity growth in the Western Australia grains sector – now Careers in Grain.

Lucinda Hawkins
Bank of Queensland
Lucinda has been involved in agriculture her entire life. She hails from a cattle farm and completed an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Economics. She transitioned into agribusiness finance culminating in her current position as the National Head of the Bank of Queensland’s Agribusiness Unit. Her long tenure in the industry has allowed her to develop a deep understanding of the challenges agricultural producers face, the opportunities in front of them and what is deeply important to them.

Jessica Fealy
Tablelands Regional Council
Jessica grew up on a dairy farm in Malanda. She studied at the University of New England in Armidale and now raises her family and runs a lime, mango and avocado farm in Mareeba, Far North Queensland. Jessica has strong communication and stakeholder engagement skills and works at the Tablelands Regional Council as the Community Engagement Officer. For the past two years, Jessica has been a volunteer member of the driving team for Startup Tablelands: a social enterprise whose mission it is to enable innovation and entrepreneurship in rural and remote communities.

Simone Kain
George the Farmer
Simone is the Co-founder of George the Farmer, a farming character used to educate children about agricultural practices and food production. The South Australia local is also the Managing Director of Hello Friday, which provides communications solutions to a range of organisations. She wants to see rural industries continue to thrive and easily achieve that $100 billion industry status by 2030. Her unique and creative perspective on how we achieve that goal make her a valuable addition to the AgriFutures™ Ignite Advisory Panel.

Sally Leigo
Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia
Sally is the Northern Territory Project Manager at the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia and hails from a sheep and cattle property in New South Wales. Her strong stakeholder engagement skills as well as her background in precision pastoralism add enormous value to the AgriFutures™ Ignite Advisory Panel.

Nicolas Lyons
NSW Department of Primary Industries
Nicolas is the Development Officer Dairy – Technology & Robotic Milking Systems and has a national role supporting technology adoption on Australian dairy farms, with a focus, but not limited, to robotic milking. Prior to his involvement in agriculture, Nicolas Worked in an international commercial company with responsibilities across marketing, sales, support and installation of technology and automation.

Oli Madgett
Oli is the Co-Founder of Platfarm, a mobile activity tracker for farming equipment. He is also the Co-Owner of The Madgetts Block, a family vineyard in McLaren Vale. The former Facebook game developer from London fell into the agricultural sector and hasn’t looked back. His passion is to inspire innovation and entrepreneurship into our agricultural sector.


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, and she is the Chair of FarmLink Research, a not for profit agricultural research and extension organisation. 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 Law from the University of Sydney and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

David Brown
South Australian seed grower
David is a certified seed grower based in South Australia with 40 years industry experience. He operates an agronomy consulting business focused on advising cropping, sheep, beef and dairy farmers on pasture seed mixes and management. Career highlights include board member of the AW Howard Trust, which sponsors research students to pursue the advancement of pasture science, serving on the SA Advisory Board of Agriculture, GRDC Irrigation Committee and Ag Institute of Australia fellow. David has a Bachelor of Science (Botany) from the University of Adelaide.

Joe Cook
South Australian seed grower
Joe is a mixed farmer from Keith, South Australia. His farm “Scottswell” produces Lucerne seed and hay, clover seed, wheat, barley, lentils, canola, cereal hay, prime lambs and wool. Joe is a passionate member of the Lucerne seed industry; he served in the inaugural committee of Lucerne Australia and six years on the executive, two as chair. He has completed the SA Rural Leadership Program, has a Diploma in Rural Business Management and completed the Rabobank Farm Managers Program. Joe has a specific interest in integrated pest management.

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. Brian has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Biology and Geography Majors) from the University of Tasmania.

Dr Mary-Jane Rogers
Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
Mary-Jane is a part-time research scientist (pasture agronomy and physiology) and has been employed by the Victorian Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources for the past 30 years. As a senior research scientist, Mary-Jane has extensive experience in the development, management, implementation and publication of research projects. She has managed research projects on a range of pasture plant species, published over 100 scientific papers and supervised post-graduate students studying pasture sciences. Mary-Jane is the associate editor scientific journal Crop and Pasture Science, she is a Council Member of the Victorian National Parks Advisory Council and has a PhD from the University of Melbourne.

Rice Advisory Panel

Drew Braithwaite (Chair)
Independent Ag Pty Ltd
Drew is the Managing Director of farming business Independent Ag Pty Ltd, a specialist in seed crop production. Drew is a commercial agronomist and in 2016 received a Nuffield Scholarship which allowed him to investigate the importance and value of SunRice’s consumer brands to the rice industry. Drew’s research has contributed to understanding rice marketing and identifying potential new products for Australian rice growers. Industry involvement includes vice president of the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia Mirrool Branch, treasurer and secretary of the Benerembah Warrawidgee Water User Association. Drew has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Charles Sturt University.

Michele Groat (Deputy Chair)
Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA)
Michele has extensive experience across agriculture and natural resource community education, engagement and management and is currently the Project Coordinator of the On-Farm Irrigation Efficiency Program with the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia. As a rice grower, one of Michele’s proudest achievements is her work with the Murrumbidgee Valley Stakeholder Group negotiating a better Murray Darling Basin Plan outcome for the local community. Michele is a Director of Yenda Producers and is a former board member of the Winegrapes Marketing Board, Murrumbidgee Irrigation and Envirowise. She has a Bachelor of Natural Resources (Honours).

Dr Vito Butardo
Swinburne University of Technology
Vito is a rice grain quality and nutrition expert and teaches biotechnology, biochemistry and research subjects at Swinburne University of Technology. Vito’s rice research career began at the International Rice Research Institute and he obtained his PhD degree in Agricultural Sciences at the University of Queensland with research focused on ways to reduce the digestibility of rice grain to mitigate the rising incidence of over nutrition worldwide. He is a recipient of three postdoctoral research fellowships for his work on topics related to rice grain quality, nutrition and postharvest yield.

Brian Dunn
NSW Department of Primary Industries
Brian is a Research Agronomist (Irrigation) with NSW Department of Primary Industries based at the Yanco Agriculture Institute. Brian grew up on an irrigated rice, winter cereal and sheep farm near Leeton, he joined NSW Agriculture in 1985 as a Technical Assistant Rice Breeding and in 1987 he was appointed Technical Officer in Irrigation Agronomy. Brian has a particular interest in increasing the water productivity of rice and irrigated winter cereals and has lead projects on delayed permanent water in rice, with much of his research involving increasing yield while reducing water use and increasing sustainability. Brian has a Bachelor of Applied Science (Agriculture) from Charles Sturt University and Associate Diploma of Agriculture (Farming) from the Riverina College of Advanced Education.

Russell Ford
Russell is the Head of Agronomic Research and Development at SunRice. Russell’s involvement in the Australian rice industry has spanned more than 20 years and has focused on rice R&D; specifically variety development, grain quality, sustainability and improved farming practices. Career highlights include a Nuffield Scholarship and NSW Landcare Catchment Management Award for Innovation in Sustainable Farm Management. Russell is the former Chair of the International Temperate Rice Research Consortium and Chair of the Yanco Creek and Tributaries Advisory Council. He has a Diploma in Applied Science (Agriculture) from Longerenong Agricultural College.

Laura Kaylock
Farmer at D.D. Kaylock & Co and Project Officer at Western Murray Land Improvement Group
Laura helps run her family’s diverse property at Mallan in the southern Riverina. She has always had a strong interest in agriculture and completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at Charles Sturt University in 2014. Laura also works part-time as a Project Officer at the Western Murray Land Improvement Group. She has experience in the technical and operational considerations of rice crop management as well highly-developed project management, research, development and extension skills. She firmly believes the rice industry will face a number of challenges due to increased climatic variability and reduced water availability and she is confident research will play a large part in helping farmers adapt to these challenges.

Dr Laurence (Laurie) Lewin
Rice industry consultant
Whilst officially retired, Laurie offers consultancy services to the Australian rice industry and is a member of Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd (RRAPL). As a former rice breeder with the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Laurie was the leader of a team that developed more than 15 rice cultivars for NSW, which accounted for more than 95% of NSW rice production up until the time of his retirement. Career highlights include former Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Sustainable Rice Production, a Farrer Medal, Public Service Medal and election as Honorary Councillor of the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia.

Ben Ovenden
NSW Department of Primary Industries
Ben is a Plant Pathologist with NSW Department of Primary Industries based at Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute. Ben has had a long association with the NSW rice industry, first as a rice grower and then as a Rice Breeder with the NSW DPI Rice Breeding Program. As well as releasing two rice varieties, Ben lead the modernisation of the breeding program with the implementation of a molecular breeding program, a new plant breeding database, and genomic selection techniques. Ben has been actively involved in rice industry extension, including an industry review, and the development of an industry R&D strategy to focus rice research on water productivity. Ben has a PhD in cereal breeding and quantitative genetics.

Antony Vagg
Rice farmer
Antony has completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science at the University of Melbourne and a Graduate Certificate in Rural Science and Consulting at the University of New England. For four years, he worked as a Operations and Technical Services Manager at Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd. Here, he managed agronomy and trial outcomes, organised grower field days and oversaw specific projects such as the Clean Seed program. Antony is also a Nuffield Scholar and completed a research project focusing on rice straw utilisation. He is now back at his family’s farm and consults for a commercial agronomy firm part time.

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).

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.

Jerome (Jerry) Vanclay
Southern Cross University
Jerry’s career is tied to the tree plantation and forestry industries and he has a long involvement in systems thinking for industry and community development. As Dean of Science at Southern Cross University, Jerry regularly meets with tea tree growers and has a strong commitment to addressing industry challenges through innovation. Jerry has worked as an Assistant Forester, Mensurationist, Principal Scientist, Professor of Sustainable Forestry and is currently Head of School, School of Environment, Science and Engineering at Southern Cross University. Jerry is a Fellow of the Institute of Foresters of Australia and Royal Society of NSW, he is a board member for the International Union of Forest Research Organizations and has a Doctor of Science (Forestry) from the University of Queensland.

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 pathology and infectious disease. Catherine currently holds the position of Policy Advisory Councillor for Equine Veterinarians Australia, she is a previous 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 30 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; he is a director and vice president of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, director and president of NSW Thoroughbred Breeders Association, as well as director and treasurer of Hunter Valley Equine Research Centre.

Thomas (Tas) Rielley
Basinghall Farm
Tas has over 35 years’ experience in the thoroughbred horse industry and is the owner of commercial breeding and agistment property, Basinghall Farm. His industry experience has focused on management and farm development across a number of studs. Tas has an Associate Diploma in Horse Breeding and Management from Glenormiston Agricultural College.

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.

Organisational Structure

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AgriFutures Australia Organisation Chart: July 2019