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Speaker and chair profiles

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photo of The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP

The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP

Deputy Prime Minister
Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources

In February 2016, Barnaby Joyce was elected unopposed as Leader of The Nationals and was sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister. Barnaby was re-elected as the Member for New England at the 2016 Federal Election.

Following the election of the Coalition to Government in September 2013, Barnaby was appointed Federal Minister for Agriculture and Deputy Leader of The Nationals with Water Resources being added to his portfolio on 21 September 2015.

He is strongly committed to bringing his passionate advocacy for rural and regional Australians, which has earned respect across both sides of the political divide, to the New England electorate.

Barnaby is one of a family of eight from a cattle and sheep property near Woolbrook in the southern New England. While studying accountancy at the University of New England (1986-89), Barnaby met Natalie, who is from Manilla, and the two were married in 1993. Their four daughters were all born in Tamworth.

Always a keen rugby player, Barnaby proudly threw on the jersey for St Albies College at UNE. After graduation, Barnaby spent three years with a chartered accountancy firm then a short period with an American multinational in cost accounting before completing five years with a major regional bank. With a choice between a senior role in banking or starting his own business, Barnaby chose the latter and owned and operated Barnaby Joyce and Co for ten years in the western Queensland town of St George.

In 2004, he was elected to head The Nationals Senate team in Queensland and won back the previously lost Senate seat. Barnaby was a voting member of the Senate Economics Committee and was author of “The Birdsville Amendment” to protect small business.

In 2009, he was elected to the role of The Nationals Leader in The Senate and became Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Water.

He is a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary, a former serving member of the Australian Defence Force Reserves and a long term member of St Vincent De Paul. Barnaby represented Central North NSW in Rugby and has three times been the subject for the Archibald Prize.

photo of Leigh Radford

Leigh Radford

ABC Rural

Leigh joined the ABC as a trainee rural reporter in Melbourne in February 1988 and has worked at all levels of regional, state and national reporting and also as a long serving Country Hour Presenter. Leigh has been the Head of ABC Rural since 2005.

Leigh has nearly three decades of extensive travel around Australia in these various roles and has broadcast programs from literally right across the country and into the outback. He regularly hosts large national conferences and particularly enjoys the community engagement opportunities his role allows.

Leigh is a multi-award winning broadcaster, with a number of Dalgety Awards for Excellence in Rural Journalism, (including the national award winner in 1992); several Landcare awards, and he was the inaugural winner of the Telstra Rural Journalist of the Year award in South Australia. He comes from a background of environmental sciences and has an Honours degree in biogeography. Leigh is passionate about the people and issues of rural Australia and has a great love of the environment.

photo of Peter Gooday

Peter Gooday

ABARES

Peter Gooday has been acting Executive Director of ABARES since August 2016. In this position he oversees the Bureau’s program of work, including research and commodity analysis.

Prior to this Peter led ABARES research on farm analysis, productivity and biosecurity. Recent work in this area has focused on providing analysis and policy advice on factors affecting agricultural profitability and productivity growth.

Peter has been involved in a broad range of research and analysis, including water market reform, productivity analysis, infrastructure issues affecting agriculture, fisheries management, economic issues associated with native forestry; meeting environmental objectives cost-effectively as well issues affecting international and domestic mineral industries and commodity analysis.

He has a Degree in Economics with Honours from the Australian National University.

photo of Chris Richardson

Chris Richardson

Deloitte Access Economics

Chris Richardson is a Director of Deloitte Access Economics and is one of Australia’s best known economists. Chris heads Deloitte Access Economics’ forecasting and modelling unit. He is the author of three regular publications: Business Outlook, Employment Forecasts and Budget Monitor. His comments on trends in the economy and their effect on business regularly appear in daily media coverage.

photo of Michael Every

Michael Every

Rabobank

Michael Every is the Head of Financial Markets Research Asia-Pacific. Based in Hong Kong, he analyses the major developments in the Asia-Pacific region and contributes to the bank’s various economic research publications for internal and external customers and to the media.

Michael has more than 17 years of experience working as an economist and strategist. Before Rabobank, he was a Director at Silk Road Associates, a strategy consultancy based in Bangkok. Prior to this, he was Senior Economist and Fixed Income Strategist at the Royal Bank of Canada based in both London and Sydney. Michael was formerly also an Economist for Dun & Bradstreet in London, covering ASEAN.

Michael holds a Masters degree in Economics (with distinction) from University College London and speaks Thai.

photo of Ticky Fullerton

Ticky Fullerton

Sky News Business

Ticky is the new Business Presenter at Sky Business.  She was previously presenter of the ABC TV’s the Business show.  In her 12 years with the network, Ticky has been an investigative reporter for Four Corners, the presenter for the national farming program Landline, and a reporter for Lateline, working in the Canberra press gallery and in business journalism.

In August 2004, she won the Australian Government Peter Hunt Eureka Prize for Environmental Journalism.

Prior to journalism, Ticky was an associate director with investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston. She spent 10 years with the group, first in London working in the Euromarkets, and then Sydney, where she was involved in capital raisings and advisory business for both governments and corporates.

Ticky is the author of Watershed, the first comprehensive book on the future challenges facing Australia in water and the tensions between the many stakeholders.

Ticky was also a director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Irrigation Futures. She is a mother of one, and has a law degree from Oxford University.

photo of Angus Taylor

The Hon. Angus Taylor MP

Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation

Angus entered politics in 2013 when he was elected as the Federal Member for Hume in NSW.

Building on his background in economics, Angus was appointed to parliamentary committees on employment, trade and investment, and public accounts. He was also chair of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties. Angus was promoted to Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister with special responsibility for Cities and Digital Transformation in February 2016. He was reappointed to the frontbench after the 2016 Federal election.

Angus’ portfolios stretch across the whole of government to improve city liveability and tackle long standing issues of traffic congestion, housing affordability and the need to create jobs closer to where people live. He has a focus on regional cities and outer suburban cities. With a passion for cutting edge technology and the benefits for citizens of the digital age, Angus authored an essay The Promise of Digital Government which was published by the Menzies Research Centre in 2016.

Prior to entering parliament in 2013 Angus was a director at Port Jackson Partners where he was a strategy and business advisor on the resources, agriculture, energy and infrastructure sectors. Prior to this he was a partner at global consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

Angus has a Bachelor of Economics (First Class Honours and University Medal) and a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) from the University of Sydney. He also has a Master of Philosophy in Economics from Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. His thesis was in the field of competition policy. In his private capacity Angus has founded or advised a number of small, fast growing start-up businesses, particularly in the agriculture sector. He lives at Goulburn with his wife Louise and their four children.

photo of Dalene Wray

Dalene Wray

OBE Organic

Dalene is OBE Organic Group's General Manager, and began with the company in 2004. Since then, she has performed practically every role including overseeing production at the slaughter house. Dalene has unique knowledge of OBE Organic's business from how the cattle are raised through to how chefs serve their steaks.

Dalene grew up on the family's properties in the heart of the Channel Country and has an intimate knowledge of the land and people that make OBE Organic's beef line a world-beater. Dalene's familiarity with the Channel Country provides a strong link between OBE Organic's producers and the OBE Organic administrative and management team and board of directors.

Dalene and her family spent five years to 2015 living in Hong Kong where she managed the company's quickly expanding business in the region and the Middle East. This base gave her quick access to OBE Organic's importers in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Kuwait, Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to Hong Kong, Dalene lived in Beijing for six months, studying Mandarin. Dalene is also fluent in French, speaks Spanish and understands Afrikaans.

photo of Richard Heath

Richard Heath

Australian Farm Institute

Richard grew up on a family farm on the Liverpool Plains in North West NSW, and managed the cropping operations for nearly two decades. Crops grown included wheat, barley, chickpeas, faba beans, canola, sorghum, sunflowers, mung beans and cotton. Richard has been an early adopter of new farming technologies and travelled on a Nuffield Scholarship in 2003 researching precision applications of fertiliser.

He has had extensive off farm consulting roles including working with the Grains Research and Development Corporation advising on research priorities for Australian grain growers.

Richard is now the General Manager of Research for the Australian Farm Institute, responsible for carrying out research projects and compiling reports on a range of farm and agriculture related issues. Previous to this role Richard was an Associate Professor of Agronomy and Farm Management at the University of Sydney, responsible for the management of the university’s North West farms group. Richard also is a director of Nuffield Farming Scholars Australia.

photo of David Henry

David Henry

CSIRO Agriculture & Food

Based in Melbourne, Dr David Henry is a Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO and Research Leader of the Digital Agriculture initiative. His focus is on the development and application of precision and remote digital technologies, and how to capture value from new technologies in industry.

David’s current work has national reach and global significance across the dairy, beef, sheep and mixed farming systems and includes on-animal and vegetation sensing, autonomous animal control (virtual fencing), integration and delivery of information to end-users, and bringing together smart data analysts with domain experts to really extract useful information from large and streaming real-time data flows.

photo of Jane Weatherley

Jane Weatherley

Meat & Livestock Australia

Jane has worked for Meat & Livestock Australia for almost 10 years, and is currently the Chief Executive Officer of National Livestock Identification System (NLIS) Ltd, where she is responsible for managing red meat industry integrity systems including the National Livestock Identification System (NLIS), Livestock Production Assurance (LPA) and National Vendor Declaration (NVD).

In addition to this, Jane is to lead the transformation of NLIS Ltd into the Integrity and Information Systems Company, which will drive the delivery of the industry's Value Chain Digital Strategy.

Prior to this role, Jane was the General Manager, Livestock Productivity, managing Meat Standards Australia, genetics and sheep productivity research and development.

Jane’s previous roles include working for Rabobank in far north west Tasmania, conducting extension research and evaluation projects at the University of Tasmania and working as red meat extension officer for the (then) Department of Primary Industries in Tasmania. Jane maintains an active role in her family beef breeding operation on Bruny Island, Tasmania and has a PhD from the University of Tasmania in farming systems research, development and extension.

photo of Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson

ABARES

Tom is a senior economist in ABARES productivity section, and currently leads research into risk management and innovation on Australian farms. His previous research examined the various aspects of Australia’s farm sector, including trends in the structure of the farm population and the effects this has on industry-level productivity growth; the drivers of aggregate farm performance; the role of corporate entities in funding investment in Australian farms; the potential use of multi-peril insurance products; and the causes of slower productivity growth in the cropping industry.

Tom has previously worked as a commodity analyst at ABARES, and as an applied economist at the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries. He holds degrees in Commerce and Agricultural Science with honours, and a PhD, all from the University of Melbourne.

photo of Emma Robinson

Emma Robinson

Caerphilly Station, QLD

A beef producer from North Queensland, Emma is an enthusiastic advocate for family farming and is interested in exploring how technology, farmer collaboration and consumers can reshape supply chains. Emma has founded The Beef Co-op Project to explore opportunities to future proof family farming through co-operative business models.

In 2016 Emma was named the Queensland 2016 RIRDC Rural Woman of the Year and in 2015 undertook a Winston Churchill Trust Fellowship to research farmer cooperatives and beef supply chain innovation in the UK, US and Canada. Emma has previously worked in the Queensland Department of Agriculture and is a former director of Beef CRC Limited. She has formal qualifications in agricultural science, technology management and strategic foresight.

photo of Darrin Lee

Darrin Lee

Bligh Lee Farms, WA

Darrin is Managing Director and a partner in Bligh Lee Farms, a mixed 6500 hectare farming operation 400km north of Perth and 17km north-east of Mingenew, in Western Australia. The operation has 4000 sheep for meat and wool production, and grows wheat, barley, canola, narrow leaf lupins, oats and albus lupins, with a value-adding project for the latter through a “Paddock to Plate” joint venture initiative.

Darrin is a Western Panel Member of the Grains Research and Development Corporation and was recently appointed Head of Technology Partner Programs at Origo Agriculture. Darrin’s previous roles include as board member of local grower research and development organisation Mingenew Irwin Group, and past member of the Growers Advisory Council for CBH Group. He has an interest in digital agriculture - adopting moisture probes, weather stations and remote-sensing devices across Bligh Lee Farms. Darrin’s passions are food production, technology, rural life and agriculture in general.

photo of Patrick Hone

Patrick Hone

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation

Patrick was appointed Executive Director of the FRDC in April 2005 and is also a director of the former Seafood CRC and a member of the National Marine Science Committee. Patrick has extensive knowledge of the fishing and aquaculture industries and has played a key role in the planning, management and funding of fishing and aquaculture related research, development and extension in Australia. In recent years Patrick has become one of Australia's leading spokespeople on the role of marine science.

Patrick has a PhD from the University of Adelaide, and previously worked for SARDI on a wide range of aquaculture research for southern bluefin tuna, Pacific oysters, mussels, yellowtail kingfish and abalone.

photo of Robert Curtotti

Robert Curtotti

ABARES

Robert Curtotti leads ABARES Fisheries Economics section. During his career, Robert has been involved in research across a broad range of areas affecting Australia’s agriculture and energy sectors. The section he now leads is responsible for the annual Australian fisheries and aquaculture statistics publication and economic indicators reports for Commonwealth fisheries. He has experience in commodity analysis and application of quantitative tools to analyse economic issues.

Robert has authored many ABARES publications that focus on natural resource management issues.

Robert holds a Bachelor of Economics and a Master’s degree in the Economics of Development, both from the Australian National University.

photo of Pia Winberg

Pia Winberg

Venus Shell Systems

Pia has worked across sustainable marine industry development and academia for the past 18 years; integrating marine production systems sustainably with the environment. However translating this knowledge into real world outcomes is a challenge. Consequently Pia’s research effort has crossed the boundaries between ecological marine science and the disciplines of health, nutrition, biotechnology and the commercial world.

Making science real to humanity is a core goal of Pia’s and includes taking the production of marine molecules into behavioural changing effects on the mental health of prisoners; shifting chronic, western diseases through gut health intervention with seaweed ingredients; and printing new biomaterials from seaweed for regenerative medicine.

Pia is the founding director and Chief Executive Officer of Venus Shell Systems Pty. Ltd., a new Australian company taking the science of marine biological systems through to production of high quality marine ingredients. A subsidiary company, PhycoFood Co. is developing convenience foods that are healthy and accessible to all, not just the foodies, while PhycoLab is developing new biomaterials from seaweed for advancing bionics through tissue regeneration in medicine.

photo of Brad Adams

Brad Adams

Ocean Grown Abalone

Brad Adams is a third generation fisherman with a lifelong involvement in the abalone industry For 12 years Brad worked as commercial abalone diver along Western Australia’s south coast, and has two younger brothers who still dive the family’s abalone licence. The Adams family passion is all about abalone.

Brad not only has a great deal of knowledge about how abalone live in the wild, but has extensive abalone aquaculture experience. Brad worked in Tasmania for a number of years after completing his post graduate degree in aquaculture in 1992 where he conducted a lot of the early research on culturing abalone in cages on long-lines.

Brad has been actively involved in abalone aquaculture research and development in Western Australia since 2000, working on both shore based and sea based abalone culture systems.

In 2009 Brad and his partners founded Ocean Grown Abalone Pty Ltd (OGA), a commercial aquaculture business that has researched and developed greenlip abalone ranching technology in Flinders Bay, Western Australia.

Brad’s practical abalone fishing and aquaculture background and formal science training is complemented by a MBA in 2010. Brad was also a Director of the peak industry body the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council from 2009 to 2011 and Chairman from 2011 to 2013.

photo of Roger Edwards

Roger Edwards

Goolwa PipiCo

Roger is agricultural economist who has operated his own consulting business for 27 years, specialising in business and industry organisation and development, primarily in the fishing sector. He is a partner in a medium size South Australian grain marketing company and a food import/export business, and is a part owner and the Chair of Goolwa Pipi Company.

photo of Matthew Koval

Matthew Koval

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Matthew is the First Assistant Secretary of the Biosecurity Policy and Implementation Division within the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. Prior roles to this include Acting First Assistant Secretary of the Trade and Market Access Division, the Agricultural Policy Division and Minister Counsellor (Agriculture) based in Brussels, Belgium.

Matthew has worked on a broad range of domestic and international agricultural policies at both the state and Australian Government level, including biosecurity, drought management, education and training, agricultural chemicals, rural adjustment, rural financial counselling and water management initiatives. He has represented Australia at international forums and is a previous Chairman of the International Grains Council. Matthew has tertiary qualifications in science, public administration and applied finance.

photo of Andreas Glanznig

Andreas Glanznig

Invasive Animals CRC

Andreas is the CEO of the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre - one of the world’s largest integrated pest animal research and innovation collaborations. It’s 27 research, government and industry partnerships have established an innovation pipeline that includes new wild dog, fox and feral pig toxins, new rabbit and carp biocontrol agents, and DNA based surveillance tools, supported by a PestSmart best practice management toolkit.

photo of Cameron Allan

Cameron Allan

Meat & Livestock Australia

Cameron is a Program Manager at MLA, overseeing the Sustainable Feedbase Resources portfolio that includes feedbase production, natural resources, climate adaptation and mitigation, weeds and pest animals. Cameron’s background was with NSW Agriculture in animal production research and focussed on meat, fibre and fertility of sheep and goats, including, pasture and weed ecology, grazing systems (pasture, livestock, and land interactions).

This expanded to a project coordination role in the Meat Research Corporation, now Meat & Livestock Australia.

photo of Andy Sheppard

Andy Sheppard

CSIRO

Dr Andy Sheppard is a Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO as well as the Research Director of the Managing Invasive Species & Diseased program in CSIRO Health and Biosecurity; Officer-in-Charge of CSIRO’s European Laboratory and the CSIRO-DAWR Relationship Manager.

Andy is an adjunct professor at Charles Sturt University and has served on the Australian Weeds Cooperative Research Centre Board; the OECD Cooperative Research Programme; CABI Executive Council and Board; Griffith University School of Environmental Sciences Advisory Committee and the Lincoln University BioProtection centre Advisory Board in New Zealand.

He leads international collaborative research in Australia, the USA, Europe and South Africa on the ecological management of priority weeds and pests principally using biological control. His primary research interests are around invasion biology, with recent research including risk and decision analysis, environmental impacts of novel non-food crops, and carbon-biodiversity trade-offs. Andy has co-edited two books and has more than 100 book chapter and international journal publications to his name. 

photo of Steve Jefferies

Steve Jefferies AM

Grains Research and Development Corporation

Dr Steve Jefferies has more than 32 years of experience working in the Australian grain industry, mostly in research management. In July 2016 Steve commenced as Managing Director of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). From 2002 to June 2016, Steve was the CEO of Australian Grain Technologies, Australia’s largest and market leading wheat breeding company. From 1996 to 2002 Steve was a wheat breeder, barley breeder and senior lecturer with the University of Adelaide.

From 1984 to 1996 Steve held several positions in research management and ministerial liaison in the South Australian State Government.

Until taking his current position as Managing Director GRDC, Steve was also Non-Executive Director of Birchip Cropping Group, Non-Executive Director of Barley Australia, Chairman of the Australian End Point Royalty Steering Committee, member of the Waite Institute Strategic Leadership Committee, and member of the Australian Wheat Quality Classification Council reporting to Wheat Quality Australia and responsible for managing the wheat quality class system in Australia.

In June 2016 Steve was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s birthday honours list for significant services to primary industries.

photo of Alistair Davidson

Alistair Davidson

ABARES

Alistair leads ABARES biosecurity economics research and the department’s Regulation Reform Unit. Alistair’s policy research over the past 15 years at ABARES and the Productivity Commission spans biosecurity, regulatory economics, farm productivity, agricultural trade liberalisation and natural resource management. Prior to joining the Australian Government, Alistair managed an irrigated cropping and beef property in western Queensland.

Alistair holds a Master of Economics from the Australian National University and a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Queensland. He is currently completing an Advanced Diploma of Leadership and Management.

photo of Mat Regan

Mat Regan

CBH Group

Mat was appointed General Manager Corporate Services with the CBH Group in May 2014 and is responsible for the human resources, organisational development and shared services portfolios. Mat has worked with the CBH Group for 15 years leading teams in the IT and grain quality areas, and most recently in the role of Grain Quality Manager where he led the implementation of quality optimisation and supply chain optimisation.

He holds a Masters of Information Management from the University of Western Australia, a Bachelor of Science (Computer Science) from Edith Cowan University and is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

photo of Ben Boughton

Ben Boughton

Satamap / Gilroy Farms, NSW

Ben Boughton is a farmer from Moree in NSW, and founder of Satamap. Ben graduated from the University of Queensland in 2008 with a degree in Agricultural Science - Rural Management, and went on to study a Graduate Certificate in Geographic Information Science (GIS). In between stints on the family farm, Ben has worked for a precision agriculture consultancy and spent one year at John Deere in Brisbane.

More recently Ben was awarded a Nuffield Scholarship to study the potential for UAVs (drones) in agriculture which led to worldwide travel throughout 2014. At present, Ben’s time is split between producing wheat, barley, chickpeas and sorghum on the family’s 2200 hectare farming operation and developing Satamap, an innovative web application that utilises satellite imagery to help anyone in the agricultural industry better understand the environment they work in.

photo of David Parker

David Parker

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

David is a Deputy Secretary in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, with responsibility for issues including water, export, trade and market access and the department's economic and scientific research arm, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES).

David was previously a Deputy Secretary in the Department of the Environment and The Treasury. With a career spanning more than 25 years with The Treasury, David has worked on financial sector liberalisation, tax reform, macroeconomic forecasting and policy, competition policy, energy policy and international economic issues. More recently at the Department of the Environment at various points he also oversaw portfolio responsibilities including water, Antarctica and national parks as well elements of climate change policy. From 1997 to 2002 David worked at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. David was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2012 and has qualifications in economics and law.

photo of David Galeano

David Galeano

ABARES

David Galeano leads ABARES research on farm analysis, productivity and water. Prior to re-joining ABARES in May 2016, David led the social and economic work at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority and had responsibility for implementing various aspects of the Basin Plan. He also held senior positions at the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, leading the economic aspects of Commonwealth fisheries management.

David also spend time at the Department of the Environment focusing on benefit cost analysis on environmental programs. David began his career at ABARES as a graduate mainly working on fishery economics research. He has a degree in Agricultural Economics with Honours from the University of Sydney.

photo of Peter Durand

Peter Durand

Irrigation Australia

Peter is a current director of Irrigation Australia Limited, the peak industry body representing the irrigation industry. He has held a variety of roles throughout his 20 year career in the irrigation industry, including research work on irrigation channels in the Ord Irrigation Area, working for a regional irrigation dealership and currently, as the Business Development Manager for Netafim Australia/New Zealand.

Netafim is a global company specialising in smart water solutions for agriculture. Peter travels to the main irrigation regions of Australia and is passionate about improving technology adaption and improving productivity in Australian agriculture. Peter holds a Bachelor Degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering (with Honours) and a Graduate Diploma in Management with the Australian School of Business.

photo of Simo Tervonen

Simo Tervonen

Waterfind Australia

Simo has developed an in-depth understanding of Australia’s water markets. This expertise and experience covers all facets of water policy, rules and regulations, law and trade protocols.

He is responsible for new market development, water market research and analysis. Simo’s work has enabled Waterfind to become central in the development and growth of water markets across Australia.

With over 10 years of experience in academic, industrial and financial sectors, Simo oversees all levels of Waterfind trade and market operations, policy and regulation education.

He holds a Master’s Degree in Industrial Management and Economics & Business Administration.

photo of Peter Cosier

Peter Cosier

Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists

Peter is a member and director of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, a private institution established in 2002 with the aim of connecting science to public policy. The Wentworth Group has been active in water reform, native vegetation management, climate change, optimising carbon in the landscape, and environmental accounting.

Peter has a background in science, natural resource management, and urban and regional planning. He has worked in private business and at all levels of government including six years as a policy advisor to the then Australian Government Minister for the Environment, Senator Robert Hill.

photo of James Bentley

James Bentley

National Australia Bank

James, an experienced environmental economist, leads NAB’s Natural Value strategy. James has worked in UK government, with international consulting firms and at Australia’s largest irrigation company providing advice on water resources and carbon market economics, environmental policy and natural resource risk management.

photo of Jenny O'Sullivan

Jenny O'Sullivan

Malabar Farms, Gippsland VIC

Jenny is well known for her role in promoting sustainable, productive agriculture, particularly in Gippsland where she and her husband run a 680ha beef and sheep property. Jenny’s interest in developing sustainable food systems began in 1998 when she initiated the development of Gippsland Natural Beef.

In 2002 she managed the Gippsland Beef and Lamb Environmental Management Systems pilot project. This project resulted in the development of a world class environmental management system. More recently she has been involved with the Australian Land Management Group’s Certified Land Management program with other South Gippsland producers.

photo of Anne Ruston

Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources
Senator for South Australia

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, has been a Senator since September 2012.

In July 2014, Anne was elected Senior Deputy Government Whip in the Senate and chair of the Senate Environment and Communications Legislation Committee. She was also an active participant in the Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, initiating inquiries into the Australian citrus and wine industries.

Senator Ruston was appointed Assistant Minister of Agriculture and Water Resources in September 2015.

Prior to becoming a Senator, Anne held several senior positions in government and the private sector, and was the inaugural chief executive of the National Wine Centre.

Born and raised in Renmark, on the River Murray in South Australia, Anne is a proud member of the community where she lives and works today.

Anne is a primary producer and an irrigator, producing commercial cut flowers and implementing irrigation efficiencies on her property that reduced water use by more than 60%. She is a passionate advocate for rural and regional communities and for a balanced approach to water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin. Her vision for the Murray-Darling is for it to become the world's best example of an environmentally healthy, sustainable river system supporting efficient irrigation industries and vibrant river communities.

photo of Warren Preston

Warren Preston

United States Department of Agriculture

Warren serves as Deputy Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), advising the Chief Economist, the Secretary of Agriculture, and top policy officials on the economic implications of policies, programs, and legislative proposals affecting the U.S. food and fiber system and rural areas.

Warren supports USDA policy decision-making by evaluating policy options on complex domestic and global agricultural issues. After serving as USDA's Acting Deputy Chief Economist beginning in February 2015, Warren transferred permanently to the Office of the Chief Economist as senior economist for agricultural policy in August 2015.

Prior to joining the Office of the Chief Economist, Warren served as an economist and associate deputy administrator, analyzing and overseeing programs and policies across the full spectrum of marketing activities administered by the Livestock, Poultry, and Seed Program of USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service. From 1992 to 2001, he worked as an economist and branch chief in the Packers and Stockyards Programs of the USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, playing a key role in integrating economic analysis into investigative procedures and processes. From 1986 to 1992, he held a research and teaching position as an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics at Virginia Tech, focusing on agricultural marketing and the interface between public policies and food system performance.

Warren earned his bachelor's degree in dairy science from Ohio State University and his master's and doctoral degrees in agricultural economics from Purdue University.

photo of Ashok Gulati

Ashok Gulati

Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations

Professor Ashok Gulati is currently Infosys chair Professor for Agriculture at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). He is an eminent Indian agricultural economist and a former chairman of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), Government of India.

Ashok was Director at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) for more than 10 years. He worked as a Chair Professor NABARD at Institute of Economic Growth. Prior to that he was Director/Chief Economist, Agriculture and Rural Development at National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) from 1991 till 1997.

He was the youngest member of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council of Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Member of the Economic Advisory Council of the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh and Member of the State Planning Board of Karnataka.

Ashok has served in both academic and policy advisory capacities in India. He has authored 13 books on Indian and Asian agriculture as well as written numerous national and International Journal and media articles. He completed his M.A. and Ph.D. from Delhi School of Economics. For his contribution to the field, the Government of India honoured him in 2015 with the Padma Shri, a high Indian Civilian Award.

photo of David Galeano

Kym Anderson

University of Adelaide and Australian National University

Kym Anderson is the George Gollin Professor of Economics at the University of Adelaide in Australia, where he has been affiliated since 1984. Previously he was a Research Fellow at the Australian National University (1977-83), following graduate studies at the University of Chicago and Stanford University. In 2012 he rejoined ANU part-time as a Professor of Economics in its Crawford School of Public Policy.

Kym was on extended leave at the Economic Research division of the GATT (now WTO) Secretariat in Geneva during 1990-92 and at the World Bank’s Research Group in Washington DC as Lead Economist (Trade Policy) during 2004-07. He is a Fellow of the AAEA, AARES, AAWE, ASSA, APPS and CEPR. He is also Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Washington DC-based International Food Policy Research Institute. Kym has published around 400 articles and 40 books, including The Political Economy of Agricultural Protection (with Yujiro Hayami, 1986), Disarray in World Food Markets (with Rod Tyers, 1992), The World’s Wine Markets: Globalization at Work (2004), Agricultural Trade Reform and the Doha Development Agenda (with Will Martin, 2006) and, during 2008-10, a set of four regional and three global books on distortions to agricultural incentives.

His publications have received a number of awards from professional associations, including the Australian, European and American Agricultural and Applied Economics associations. His latest books are Agricultural Trade, Policy Reforms, and Global Food Security (December 2016) and Finishing Global Farm Trade Reform (January 2017). He is a recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Economics degree by the University of Adelaide and a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of New England. In 2015 he became a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC).

photo of Neil Plummer

Neil Plummer

Bureau of Meteorology

Neil has been in the weather, climate and water 'business' for more than 30 years and has a keen interest in helping governments, industries and communities better manage risks and capture opportunities. His main focus is to see benefits from climate information and forecasts flow to end users. Listening to and 'workshopping' with farmers has always stimulated ideas as well as being a career highlight.

Neil has been head of Climate Information Services with the Bureau of Meteorology for the last six years. From 1997 to 2001 he was the Bureau's Climate Data Manager before leading its National Climate Centre in 2002. In 2008 he shifted into the world of hydrology as Manager of Extended Hydrological Prediction. Neil has held positions on various World Meteorological Organization expert teams and management committees. He currently chairs the Bureau's board for the Climate and Ocean Support Program in the Pacific and is a member of the Earth Systems and Climate Change Hub Stakeholder Advisory Group.

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Zvi Hochman

CSIRO

Dr Zvi Hochman is a Senior Principal Research Scientist and a Research Team Leader, Integrated Agricultural Systems, with CSIRO Agriculture and Food based in Brisbane.

Zvi is a systems agronomist with expertise in exploring productivity frontiers in dryland cropping, in managing climate-related crop production risk and in agricultural decision support.

In addition to his work on the impacts of climate trends on crops, Zvi is currently researching how to best quantify, map and diagnose the causes of the gap between potential yields and the actual yields achieved by grain producers in Australia’s rain fed environments. He is also researching indicators of natural capital in cropping and mixed crop-livestock systems.

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Neal Hughes

ABARES

Dr Neal Hughes is manager of the Water and Climate section at ABARES. Since joining ABARES in 2006, Neal has researched a range of water, climate and agricultural productivity issues including the design of water property rights and markets, water policy and irrigated agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin and the effects of climate variability and change on agricultural productivity.

In 2011 Neal was awarded an Australian Government Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Phd Scholarship.

Neal holds an honours degree in economics from the University of Melbourne and a Phd in economics from the Australian National University.

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Paul Swan

Australian Wool Innovation

Dr Paul Swan is General Manager - Research for Australian Wool Innovation (AWI). Paul has extensive experience in development and operational delivery of strategies for wool production and textile research, education, and commercialisation in Australia and internationally.

Paul spent nine years providing commercial consulting services to a wide range of wool-related commercial enterprises, including stud and commercial Merino producers, wool selling brokers, and wool processors and retailers. Paul also spent eight years with the then CSIRO Division of Wool Technology, developing objective specifications for wool compressibility, fibre curvature, and staple structure, and prediction of wool handle.

Paul’s key career achievements include managing of a number of substantial investment portfolios in on-farm and post-farm sectors of AWI; establishing a number of major joint ventures including Sheep Genetics Australia/ MerinoSelect (Australia’s national sheep genetic database), SheepGenomics, AWI On-Farm Fibre Measurement program, Australian National Dark and Medullated Fibre Response Program; and development of the Sheep CRC’s wool program.

Paul holds domestic and international representative roles including the China-Australia Joint Working Group on Wool; as Chair of the IWTO Environmental Credentials Working Group; National Convention Centre Animal Biosecurity Research, Development and Extension Strategy Working Group and the FAWO National Executive and Emergency Animal Disease Working Group.

Paul’s qualifications include a Doctorate of Philosophy in Wool Science and a Bachelor of Science in Wool and Pastoral Science from the University of New South Wales.

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Caroline Gunning-Trant

ABARES

Dr Caroline Gunning-Trant is manager of the Agricultural Trade section at ABARES. In her early years at ABARES she was as an analyst in the Agricultural Commodities section, and before that she worked as an economist at the Canadian Department of Agriculture.

More recently she’s led work on European and South American commodity markets, was part of the team that produced the What Asia wants series ofreports looking at the future food demand in Asia; and analysed the impact of trade agreements on the Australian agricultural sector.

Caroline holds a PhD in agricultural economics from the University of California at Davis.

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Angus Ireland

Australian Wool Innovation

Angus is the Program Manager – Fibre Advocacy and Eco Credentials for Australian Wool Innovation. Angus has considerable experience in raw wool specification and management of wool research and testing operations, and has contributed to the development of automated wool sampling and testing instrumentation for characteristics including staple length, staple strength, dark fibre, colour, diameter variability and yield.

Angus’ current focus is on extending the scientific basis for wool’s wellness and environmental attributes, including support for new product categories. This involves partnering with research institutions in Australia and overseas for specialist human wellness research, environmental research, and facilitating international advocacy through organisations such as the International Wool Textile Organisation.

Prior to joining AWI, Angus worked in a variety of research and operational roles at the Australian Wool Testing Authority Ltd. Angus studied wool and pastoral science at the University of NSW and completed a postgraduate Diploma of Business at Deakin University.

Angus is married to Irene and together they have four children – Kate, David, Lachlan and Sarah. Angus is closely involved with operation of the family property at Mudgee in NSW.

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Rick Lambell

Kmart Australia

Rick has more than 15 years of experience working with organisations to enhance their social and environmental performance, with a career that has spanned academia, non-profit sector, management consulting and corporate sustainability. Since 2014 Rick has been leading the development and execution of Kmart Australia’s first sustainable development program Better Together.

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Dave Alden

Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

Dave is the General Manager Research and Innovation at the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), where he has worked for seven years. He is responsible for delivering high impact research, development and extension solutions to stakeholders through the management of investment programs in new and emerging Industries, established levies industries and cross-sectoral national rural issues.

Prior to joining RIRDC Dave worked at the Australian Fisheries Management Authority for twelve years, where he managed a suite of fisheries and the research needs for the Authority. From 1988 to 1997 Dave was a lecturer at the University of Melbourne and in the United Kingdom, enjoyed delivering ecological economics and environmental economics subjects. Dave’s doctoral thesis examined the impact of climate change and trade liberalisation on world agricultural commodity markets.

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Julie Cameron

Meredith Dairy

Julie is a director of Meredith Dairy, a vertically integrated, family owned enterprise, milking sheep and goats and manufacturing milk into specialist dairy products. Once prime lamb and wool growers, the Cameron’s diversified into alternative agriculture to escape the financial pressures of producing commodity products.

The challenges of growing both the farming and manufacturing enterprises, matching the milk supply with the demand, along with a focus on the triple bottom line, has opened doors to sustainable domestic and export markets.

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Colin Valverde

AquaVerde Redclaw

Colin is the owner operator of AquaVerde Redclaw Hatchery and Farm, and the president of the North Queensland Crayfish Farmers Association (NQCFA).

Colin originally trained in IT and worked extensively in Australia and Switzerland. He later studied aquaculture at Deakin University and in 2004, with his wife, started AquaVerde Redclaw in far north Queensland.

His natural love for science led him to apply practical science to redclaw farming. Together with other members of NQCFA and with support from RIRDC, Colin develops relationships with academics and research institutions to bring redclaw farming from an extensive low tech status towards a modern farming enterprise. AquaVerde’s major contribution to redclaw farming is the adaptation of a crayfish egg incubator to suit the native Queensland tropical freshwater crayfish (redclaw) and to establish worldwide the first crayfish hatchery based on that system.

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Peter Stahle

Australian Truffle Growers Association

Peter is the President of the Australian Truffle Growers' Association owns a productive truffiere in the Central Highlands of Victoria. Peter has been involved in the industry since 1996 when, on behalf of the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, he carried out seminal work on the economics of growing truffles. He has contributed to the development of Australia’s growing truffle industry, which now ranks number four globally. 

Peter also works as a management consultant and executive coach and is deeply committed to the dairy industry in his role as Executive Director of the Australian Dairy Products Federation.  He has a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Melbourne, and a PhD and Bachelor of Sciences (Hons) from La Trobe University.

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Ralph Shannon

Southern Australian Meat Research Council

Ralph grew up on his family’s beef cattle station in North Queensland. He was a casualty of the beef slump of 1974, having to leave the station where he was working post school, to seek employment elsewhere. Ralph completed a management economics degree and founded Australia’s first agricultural microcomputer software business ‘Saltbush’ in 1980.

After selling his share in ‘Saltbush’ in 1989, Ralph has been involved in the northern beef industry, holding positions such as Chair and Coordinator of the Meat Research Corporations North Australia Program (1990 – 94); Chairman of the Australian Beef Expo – Beef 94; Chairman of the North Australia Beef Research Council (2010 – 2014); and is currently Chairman of the Southern Australian Meat Research Council.

Ralph was also involved in setting up the dairy industry Sub Tropical Dairy Program and was its inaugural coordinator. He has worked widely throughout rural Australia as a facilitator and consultant.

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Trish Gleeson

ABARES

Trish is currently acting as ABARES’ Chief Commodity Analyst, managing the commodity analysis and forecasting programme, the trade research programme and the climate impact sciences programme. In this role, Trish is responsible for producing the quarterly Agricultural Commodities publication and the Australian Crop Report.

Her own research has mainly concentrated on livestock commodities and markets, including analysis of food and fibre supply chains in norther Australia. Prior to her role in agricultural commodities, Trish managed ABARES’ programme of energy research where her team was responsible for the production of Australia’s energy statistics and projections for the International Energy Agency. While Trish has spent most of her career in ABARES, in the mid-2000s she spent five years working on trade issues in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

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Anna Speer

AuctionsPlus

A senior business leader with a strong, broad and practical understanding of the global agribusiness industry, Anna has a verifiable track record revitalising underperforming operations, opening new markets, and building market credibility through innovative products that ensure competitiveness in tough markets.

As the CEO of online saleyard AuctionsPlus, Anna has spent the past two years disrupting traditional markets and turning AuctionsPlus into the largest saleyard in Australia. Also known as eBay for cows and sheep, the business facilitates the exchange of livestock utilising simple technology allowing Australia to be the catchment pool.

Anna is a director of the Future Farmers Network, an Australian Rural Leadership Foundation graduate, mentor for the Graeme Acton Beef Connections Mentor program and has completed the Australian Company Directors Course. She is currently completing the University of Sydney’s Global Executive MBA Program and is passionate about improving the Australian livestock supply chain.

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James Boland

James, a property owner from Western NSW, has a lifelong passion for primary production and is excited to bring his knowledge and skills from non-agricultural industries to his current sheep/cattle/goat enterprise in the rangelands of Western NSW. James has formal qualifications in viticulture, farm management, airline management, workplace training and assessment, quality assurance and auditing, and is very optimistic of the potential for Australia primary production.

James is a captain with a major Australian airline and throughout his aviation career he has managed training departments, been a Chief Pilot and Head of Flying Operations, established new international operations, conducted flight simulator testing and qualification and worked with the RAAF developing aerodynamic models for the Wedgetail aircraft. James has been working with the NRM Spatial Hub to develop a whole farm strategic and tactical plan, including using Hub data extracts to populate analytical tools to assess ROI on capital improvements and enterprise sensitivities for seasonal, market and animal production variables.

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Mick Keogh

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission

Mick grew up on a farm in southern NSW. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in agriculture, both obtained at the University of NSW.

His career has included periods of employment as a farm manager, a University researcher, an agribusiness consultant and an agricultural lobbyist and policy advisor. In late 2003, he was appointed Executive Director of the Australian Farm Institute, an independent policy research institute that conducts research into strategic policy issues of importance to Australian agriculture.

In 2011, Mick was appointed Chairperson of the Australian Government’s panel which reviewed drought support measures. Mick was also Chairman of the Australian Government’s National Rural Advisory Council from 2012 to 2015. Mick is also a member of the Australian Government’s Emission Reduction Assurance Committee, the CSIRO Sustainable Agriculture Flagship Advisory Council, and the Council of the University of Western Sydney Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment.

Mick was appointed as a part-time Commissioner with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission in 2016, and remains involved in family farming interests in southern NSW.
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Peter Collins

ABARES

Peter is a senior economist in the Agricultural Commodities and Trade branch at ABARES, which produces the outlook for Australia’s major agricultural commodities published each quarter. Peter’s roles include overseeing production of the Australian Crop Report and managing ABARES Regional Outlook conference program.

Peter has worked as an economist for the majority his time in the public sector and whilst at ABARES has worked in the fields of agriculture and fisheries.

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Fabrizio Jorge

Fonterra Australia

Fabrizio joined Fonterra Australia in early 2016 as Director of Ingredients, responsible for dairy ingredients into the domestic and export markets. Fabrizio has more than 20 years global experience in food and beverages, consumer goods and commodity markets having worked across Latin America, Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Oceania.

Prior to joining the Australian operations, Fabrizio was accountable for Fonterra’s Ingredients & Food service business in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile. Fabrizio led this complex region to its financial turnaround, tripling its sales turnover. More recently, Fabrizio headed Fonterra’s ingredients sales in Southeast Asia, where he was accountable for over one million tonnes of volume for some of Fonterra’s largest and most strategic regional accounts.

Fabrizio is Brazilian born and of Italian descent, speaks five languages and is an Alumni of Institute of Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland. Fabrizio is a Board Member of the Australian Dairy Industry Council and Australian Dairy Products Federation where he helps shape the policy direction of Australia’s dairy industry.

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John McQueen

Australian Dairy Farmers

John returned to Australian Dairy Farmers (ADF) as interim Chief Executive Officer in June 2016. John was previously ADF’s Chief Executive Officer from 1987 until 2007, and originally joined the ADF team in 1982 as the first Executive Officer of the Australian Dairy Herd Improvement Scheme, with responsibility to set up and operate the first national genetic evaluation system for the Australian dairy industry.

As well as developing policy for national and international issues affecting dairy farmers, he has also represented Australian dairy farmers at national and international meetings and conferences over the past 20 years.

John is a former Board member of the Cooperative Research Centre for Innovative Dairy Products, was previously Chairman of the Animal Health Australia Industry Forum and was Secretary of the Dairy Group of the International Federation of Agricultural Producers from 1996 to 2000.

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James McKeefry

ANZ

James is ANZ’s State Agribusiness Manager for Victoria and Tasmania

James has a life long association with agribusiness, and over many years he has built up considerable expertise in dairying, sheep, beef and broadacre farming. Originally from Wellington in New Zealand, he completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree from Massey University in Palmerston North in 1987, before becoming a Rural Manager in Whangarei for NZ’s Rural Bank (now owned by ANZ). Then in 1992 he joined ASB Bank as the Northland Rural Manager. After 12 years with the ASB Bank, and looking for broader opportunities James shifted to Australia where in 2004, he commenced as an ANZ Agricultural Specialist in Griffith, NSW.

James lives on a couple of acres in the Yarra Valley on the outskirts of Melbourne. Married to Liz, they have four young adults ranging in age from 19 to 28.  Outside of work James enjoys following the mighty Magpies in the AFL, keeping up with the boys’ footy and of course following rugby (union naturally).

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Thomas Astell-Burt

University of Wollongong

Thomas is the Associate Professor in Public and Population Health and Deputy Head of the School of Health and Society at the University of Wollongong (UOW). He is also the Co-Director of the Population Wellbeing and Environment Research Lab (PowerLab).

Thomas earned his PhD from the University of St Andrews and has held postdoctoral fellowships with the Medical Research Council’s Social and Public Health Sciences Unit and the National Heart Foundation of Australia.

Thomas’ research is located at the interface between population, wellbeing and environmental studies using a range of quantitative approaches (eg multilevel modelling, longitudinal data analysis, geographic information systems). His recent work has involved analysing sources of health, demographic and spatial data to enhance our understanding of how where people live shapes their health, lifestyles and wellbeing.

Thomas is leading an NHMRC-funded research project which focuses on diabetes prevention and care in collaboration with Western Sydney LHD and a range of other organisations. He is also leading or contributing to several projects with Horticultural Innovation Australia, The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre and China’s National Center for Chronic and Non-communicable Disease Control and Prevention in neighbourhood liveability, green space and health, non-communicable disease risk factors and population health geo-surveillance. He has won a national award for innovative health research from the Council for Academic Public Health Institutions in Australia and was named the ‘Emerging Leader of the Year’ by Parks and Leisure Australia in 2014.

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Emma Germano

Germano Produce

Emma, from Mirboo North in Victoria, is the General Manager of I Love Farms, a family run mixed farming operation supplying domestic and international markets. Emma is passionate about farming, advocacy and connecting consumers with Australian farmers.

Driven to find solutions to the global challenge of food security, Emma was awarded a Nuffield Farming Scholarship in 2014 which allowed her to undertake research into global export opportunities for Australian primary producers.

Emma is an active advocate for Australian agriculture, holding multiple roles within industry, including the Vice-Presidency of the Victorian Farmers Federation Horticulture Group and a member of Horticulture Innovation Australia’s Vegetable Market and Value Chain Development panel.

Emma strives to be a strong voice representing Australian growers and ensuring a vibrant and sustainable future for agriculture in Australia.

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Michael Rocca

Wine Australia

Michael joined Wine Australia in 2015 as the Senior Business Analyst, arriving from a diverse background in consulting across the agricultural, finance, health, telecommunications, and events management industries. He has a passion for constraint-based problem solving and assisting organisations to implement technical and non-technical solutions to achieve their goals - understanding that technology exists to support rather than define solutions.

Michael is currently focused on the VinSites project– an exciting program aiming to provide an accurate single source of foundational information for the Australian wine sector.

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