Outlook 2021 – Speakers and chair profiles

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photo of David Littleproud

The Hon. David Littleproud MP

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management
Deputy Leader of the National Party
Member for Maranoa

David Littleproud was elected to the House of Representatives for Maranoa, Queensland, in 2016 and is the current Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management.

He was born and raised in Chinchilla and has three boys: Tom, Hugh and Harry. After attending Chinchilla State High School, David finished his secondary education at Toowoomba Grammar School.

Over the past 20 years, David has owned a small business in Warwick and forged a career in agribusiness while living and working in towns such as Miles, Nanango, Charleville, St George, Stanthorpe and Warwick. This background provides David with an acute understanding of the important role small business and agriculture plays in creating jobs and promoting economic growth.

photo of Nikolai Beilharz

Nikolai Beilharz


Nikolai Beilharz presents the Victorian Country Hour on ABC Radio, the corporation’s flagship agricultural news and current affairs show. Nikolai has worked throughout Australia for the ABC Rural department, exploring regional Victoria, Queensland and South Australia during his 10 years covering everything in the farming world. He also appears regularly on ABC Radio Melbourne and News Breakfast on ABC TV explaining rural issues.

Connect with Nikolai on Twitter

photo of Sarah Hunter

Sarah Hunter

BIS Oxford Economics

Sarah Hunter is the Chief Economist at BIS Oxford Economics. She has over ten years’ experience working as a macro economist in the UK, USA and Australia.

In her current role she leads the team that provides the Oxford Economics global client base with detailed analysis and projections for Australia’s economy. She regularly presents the Australia, New Zealand and global outlook to clients across the region. Sarah also takes a lead role in the consulting practice, and has worked with clients on strategy planning exercises, forecast model development, asset due diligence and stress testing. Sarah completed a PhD in economics at the University of Oxford and holds a Master’s degree from the London School of Economics and an undergraduate degree from the University of Cambridge (both in economics).

photo of Jared Greenville

Jared Greenville


Jared is currently ABARES acting Executive Director. He joined the bureau in 2018, leading the Agricultural Forecasting and Trade Branch. Prior to joining ABARES, Jared worked for the OECD where he managed work related to agri-food trade policy, global value chains

in agriculture and food security and risk (focusing on Southeast Asia) along with monitoring and evaluating agricultural policy developments in a number of OECD member and non-member countries. Jared has previously worked for the Productivity Commission on diverse issues ranging from Australia’s involvement in bilateral and regional trade agreements, domestic drought support policy to issues related to infrastructure policy and the challenges posed by an ageing population. Jared has a PhD in agricultural and natural resource economics from the University of Sydney.

Connect with Jared on twitter @ABARES and on Facebook

photo of Luke Chandler

Luke Chandler

John Deere Limited – Australia & New Zealand

Luke Chandler is Managing Director – Australia/New Zealand for John Deere. He commenced on 1 November 2020 and is responsible for the company’s agricultural, turf, golf, construction and forestry businesses in the Australia and New Zealand region. Luke has over 20 years’ experience in global agribusiness having spent time in North America, Europe and working extensively across Asia.

Prior to his current role, Luke spent three years as Chief Economist at Deere & Company in Moline, Illinois, where he provided strategic guidance to the company’s senior management on economic and industry outlooks and risks in determining strategy and business direction. While in the US, Luke was on the board of the Farm Foundation and is currently a director on the board of the American Chamber of Commerce in Australia.

Prior to joining John Deere, Luke served as General Manager, Food and Agricultural Research for Rabobank in Australia and New Zealand, working in Australia and the United Kingdom, where he had global responsibility for commodity research. Earlier, he held a management position at the Australian Wheat Board.

Luke earned a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics and a master’s degree in economics from the University of New England.

For more information, visit John Deere online.

photo of Andrew Metcalfe

Andrew Metcalfe AO

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Andrew Metcalfe has been the Secretary of the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment since the department was created on 1 February 2020. As Departmental Secretary, he leads 7,000 staff in the department itself and over 12,000 in portfolio agencies such as the Bureau of Meteorology and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority.

The department is focussed on assisting industry to grow to a $100 billion agriculture sector by 2030; supporting stewardship and sustainable management to enhance Australia’s environment and unique heritage; supporting the sustainable management and productive use of Australia’s water resources; managing biosecurity risks to Australian agriculture, the environment and our way of life; and advancing Australia’s strategic, scientific and environmental interests in the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean.

After studying law and public administration at the University of Queensland, Andrew has had a long career in the Australian Public Service, including as head of the Department of Immigration for seven years and head of the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry. Between 2014 and January 2020 Andrew was a senior partner in EY (Ernst and Young), the global professional services firm. Andrew was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2012.

photo of Peter Gooday

Peter Gooday


Peter Gooday is responsible for the Farm Performance, Biosecurity and Information Branch at ABARES. Peter has been involved in a broad range of research and analysis, including commodity and trade analysis; farm performance and productivity analysis;

economic aspects of biosecurity; water market reform; infrastructure issues affecting agriculture; fisheries management; and economic issues associated with native forestry. He has a degree in economics with Honours from the Australian National University.

Connect with Peter on twitter @ABARES and on Facebook

photo of Paul Harker

Paul Harker


For over 25 years Paul has been with Woolworths and is currently the Director of Buying & Group Replenishment.

He leads the Supermarket buying team which sources, buys and merchandises both fresh and packaged categories. He also leads Group Replenishment across the Woolworths Group including Australian and New Zealand supermarkets and Endeavour Drinks. 

Paul has a passion for the agricultural industry and is currently the Deputy Chair for Hort Innovation, the research and development corporation for Australia’s horticulture industry.

photo of Fiona Simson

Fiona Simson

National Farmers’ Federation

Fiona Simson believes that agriculture is an industry of the future.  Collaborative and passionate, she has been an agricultural industry leader at state and federal levels since 2008.  Elected in 2016 as the first female President of National Farmers’ Federation in its 40-year history, she is now leading industry through an exciting period of change.  

A farmer herself with her husband Ed and family from the Liverpool Plains in NSW, Fiona hopes to create opportunities for more women and young people to become involved in industry. Fiona was instrumental in the launch of the NFF’s first Diversity in Ag Leadership Programme in 2018.  She has also spearheaded the NFF’s 2030 $100bn Vision, is leading new approaches to the stewardship of natural capital and biodiversity and is passionate about the need to grow connections between farmers and urban consumers.

Growing up on a property near Armidale, NSW, Fiona is passionate about the growth and sustainability of rural and regional Australia, and agriculture’s role in its future.  She is a skilled and experienced board director, with experience in policy development, communication and governance.  As well as a number of government advisory committees, Fiona also chairs the recently established Future Food Systems CRC, is a Commissioner and Chair of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, sits as a Director on the Boards of Australian Made Australian Grown, and NRMA (NSW), and is Patron of the National Rural Press Club and Gunnedah Gatepost Community Support Centre.

photo of Warwick Long

Warwick Long


Warwick Long started with the ABC in 2007 and has presented the Rural Report for ABC Shepparton for the last 12 years.

In that time he has also been a regular fill-in on programs around the ABC network including the Victorian Country Hour, the South Australian Country Hour, Drive for ABC Melbourne and Regional Victoria, plus summer host for Macca's Australia All Over.

Warwick has been at the forefront of reporting on issues in the Murray-Darling, the collapse of Murray Goulburn and the wider dairy industry, the first planting of GM crops in Victoria and the troubles of food processor SPC Ardmona.

Growing up in Broadford, studying at Bathurst and now working in Shepparton, Warwick has a passion for the people and stories from regional Australia.

Connect with Warwick on Twitter: @Warwick_long and Facebook

photo of Keith Pitt

The Hon. Keith Pitt MP

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia
Member for Hinkler

Keith Pitt was sworn in as Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia on 6 February 2020. He was first elected to represent the Hinkler electorate in the Australian Parliament in September 2013 and was re-elected at the 2016 and 2019 elections.

Keith has previously served as Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister and Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment.

Keith was born and raised in Bundaberg. After finishing high school, he undertook an electrical apprenticeship and went on to complete a Bachelor’s degree in computer and electrical engineering. Before entering politics, Keith owned a consulting and training business (including a registered training organisation) delivering vocational education and training across the east coast of the country, but particularly in rural Queensland. He is a former registered professional engineer in Queensland, and also owned two cane farms in Bundaberg.

An active member of the Hinkler community, Keith was heavy involved in local sports such as touch football and surf lifesaving, interests he maintains today. Through his previous business interests, he supports a wide variety of local community groups and events.  Keith is married with three children.

photo of David Galeano

David Galeano


David Galeano leads ABARES research on natural resources. Prior to re-joining ABARES in May 2016, David led the social and economic work at the Murray-Darling Basin Authority with 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 spent 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.

Connect with David on twitter @ABARES and on Facebook

photo of Mick Keogh

Mick Keogh


Mick Keogh was appointed to the ACCC in February 2016, and then as Deputy Chair of the ACCC in 2018, with responsibility for small business and agriculture.

Mick has a long and diverse history of involvement with the small business and agriculture sector, including employment as a business consultant, and in advocacy and advisory roles to policymakers and governments. He is currently a member of a number of Government and private sector boards.

Mick was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 2015. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in science, both obtained at the University of New South Wales, and a Doctor of Applied Science (honoris causa) from Charles Sturt University.

photo of Craig Feuerherdt

Craig Feuerherdt


Since 2017 Craig has been Business Development Manager at H2OX - an independent, online water exchange. He has 15 years’ experience in the water markets of the southern-connected Murray-Darling Basin.

Prior to this Craig was Water Operations Manager at Kilter for 11 years, where he was involved with the acquisition and management of water entitlements on behalf of an Australian superannuation fund. These entitlements supported a substantial irrigated agriculture operation focussed on efficient water use. The majority of entitlements were deployed to irrigators through various water products including leases and forwards, which are now standard across the water market. Craig is passionate about sharing his practical market knowledge and providing data-based insights to clients allowing them to make informed decisions for their most critical input.

photo of Jennifer McLeod

Jennifer McLeod

Barragundah, Finley NSW

Jennifer operates an irrigation farm business with her immediate family at Finley in the southern Riverina, NSW. The business involves 2,000ha across several farms in Murray Irrigation Limited’s area of operation. Winter cropping programs involve a wide range of pulse, cereal and oilseed crops. Summer programs are all subject to water availability and relative returns. Maize is this year’s summer program.

Jennifer has tertiary qualifications in agricultural science and communications and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Jennifer has worked in the water sector in a range of roles since the early 1990s and is currently the Policy and Communication Manager for Coleambally Irrigation Co-operative Limited, and a Board Member of National Irrigators’ Council.

In the last 15 years significant investments have been made to improve farm layouts to allow for flexibility and diversity in the farm business enterprises including adapting the farm business to the changed business environment facing irrigators in the southern Murray Darling Basin. The farm business is an active purchaser of annual allocation to augment the annual allocation from water entitlements owned.

photo of Sarina Locke

Sarina Locke


Sarina is Planning Editor for ABC Regional. She has been a senior reporter with ABC Regional, and has won an international prize for agricultural journalism and the Crawford Fund prize for food security. Sarina has reported on Australia s international agricultural aid programs in Indonesia and East Timor.

With nearly 30 years experience in the ABC and BBC, Sarina has helped bring climate change, environmental stewardship, agri-business, trade, biosecurity and production issues to a wider audience on all ABC media platforms.

photo of Dan Tehan

The Hon Dan Tehan MP

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment

The Hon Dan Tehan MP is the Member for Wannon in Victoria. He is Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment and was sworn in on 22 December 2020. Mr Tehan served as Minister for Education from 28 August 2018.

Prior to this, he was the Minister for Social Services, and preceding this, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Minister for Defence Personnel, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Cyber Security and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of Anzac.

Mr Tehan was elected to Federal Parliament in 2010 and has held positions including as the Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security; Co-Chair of the Parliamentary Friends of Youth Mental Health, and; Chair of the Coalition Friends of Tourism. Prior to entering Parliament, Mr Tehan worked in agriculture in Australia and overseas. He worked in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade where he held various roles, including as a diplomat at the Australian Embassy in Mexico. Mr Tehan also worked at senior levels of the Howard Government, and as the Director of Trade Policy and International Affairs at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr Tehan has Masters Degrees in International Relations and Foreign Affairs and Trade. He is married and lives in Hamilton, Victoria. He is a passionate supporter of the Richmond Football Club and enjoys spending time outdoors with his family.

photo of Michael Cox

Michael Cox

London School of Economics IDEAS

Professor Michael Cox was appointed to a Chair at the LSE in 2002, having previously held positions in the UK at The Queen's University of Belfast and the Department of International Politics, Aberystwyth. He helped establish the Cold War Studies Centre at the LSE in 2004 and later co-founded LSE IDEAS in 2008 with Arne Westad.

Michael has lectured at universities world-wide as well as to several government bodies and many private companies. He has also served as Chair of the United States Discussion Group at Chatham House, as Senior Fellow at the Nobel Institute in Oslo; as Visiting Professor at the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies in Canberra, and as Chair of the European Consortium for Political Research. He is currently visiting professor at the Catholic University in Milan.

He is the author, editor and co-editor of several books, with his most recent books including a new edition of E.H Carr’s, The Twenty Years’ Crisis (Palgrave, 2016), a 3rd edition (with Doug Stokes) of his bestselling volume US Foreign Policy (Oxford University Press, 2018), and a collection of his essays The Post-Cold War World (Routledge, 2019). He has also worked on new editions of J M Keynes’s, The Economic Consequences of the Peace and E H Carr’s Nationalism and After. He is now working on a new history of LSE entitled, The “School”: LSE and the Shaping of the Modern World.

photo of Marion Jansen

Marion Jansen


Dr Marion Jansen is the Director of the Trade and Agriculture Directorate at the OECD. She previously held senior positions in the World Trade Organization, the International Labour Office and the International Trade Centre. In these roles, she has provided support to trade negotiations and to WTO dispute settlement.

She has represented different organizations at the G7 and G20 level, led critical interagency collaborations and major interdisciplinary research networks.

Marion Jansen holds a PhD in economics from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona) and undergraduate degrees from the University of Konstanz, Toulouse and Passau. She has published widely on international trade and global economic governance and notably co-edited the volumes “Women Shaping Global Economic Governance” and “Shared Harvests: Agriculture, Trade and Employment”.

A German national, Marion Jansen grew up in The Netherlands. Next to German and Dutch, she speaks English, French, Italian and Spanish.

photo of Will Martin

Will Martin

International Food Policy Research Institute

Will Martin is a Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute, and immediate Past-President of the International Association of Agricultural Economists.

Will’s recent research has focused primarily on the impacts of shocks such as food price changes, food policy reforms, COVID-19 and macroeconomic shocks on poverty and food security in developing countries. His research has also examined impacts of major trade policy reforms—including books on the Uruguay Round; the Doha Development Agenda; and China’s accession to the WTO.

Growing up on an Australian dairy farm during a period of very rapid decline—partly because of Britain’s decision to join Europe—made him realise that economic policy can change lives sharply for good or ill and led him to focus on agricultural trade and related policy issues.

He trained in economics and agricultural economics at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University and Iowa State University. His began his career at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Economics, before moving to the Australian National University and the World Bank. He was the World Bank’s Research Manager for Agriculture for six years prior to joining IFPRI in 2015.

photo of Chris Mornement

Chris Mornement


Chris Mornement joined ABARES in 2019 and leads the livestock team in the Agricultural Forecasting and Policy Program. Chris contributes to the Agricultural Commodities publication as the natural fibres analyst and provides analysis and advice on livestock markets.

Chris has an honours degree in Science and is currently completing a Master of Applied Economics at the Australian National University.

Connect with Chris on twitter @ABARES and on Facebook

photo of Simon Quilty

Simon Quilty

Global AgriTrends

Simon Quilty is an independent meat and livestock analyst and in 2020 established Global Agritrends Downunder subscription business with the US parent company, Global Agritrends, which looks at beef, pork and poultry trends across the world and provides in-depth analysis on the current global events impacting the market.

Simon also has a very active meat and livestock consulting business and works closely with medium to large size meat processors, live cattle exporters, Australian feedlotters, backgrounders, Australian farmers and importers in China, Japan and the US.

Simon has moved into the risk management sector and developed derivatives and meat swaps that are used by companies in North America and Australia on managing price risk in processed meat and livestock. Prior to this Simon spent two years working as a consultant with FC Stone where he started up the livestock and meat desk, and in 2015 co-founded the Southern Aurora Group. Earlier roles include working for Louis Dreyfus Australia, ConAgra Foods and the Victorian Farmers’ Federation Pastoral Group. Simon has a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Melbourne.

photo of Len Steiner

Len Steiner

Steiner Consulting Group

Len is a principal at the Steiner Consulting Group, an international economic consulting firm that works with retailers, foodservice operators, meat processors and other organisations to optimise their market performance in the food business.  Current clients are based in 102 countries in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia/New Zealand.

A major part of the services Steiner Consulting Group provides is the development and implementation of customised proprietary risk management programs.  Many of these programs use cattle, hog, feeder cattle, milk, currency, grain, oil, financial instruments and other futures and options contracts.  The focus is in helping firms lay out strategies that optimise their customer satisfaction performance as well as their long and short-term financial profitability. 

Len’s background includes senior management positions with large retail, foodservice and meat processing companies which gives him a unique and broad perspective. He has a Bachelor degree in Mechanical and Industrial Engineering from the University of Minnesota, Institute of Technology, and a MBA from the University of Minnesota with his thesis on CME Cattle Futures contracts.

photo of Stuart Austin

Stuart Austin

Wilmot Cattle Co

Stuart is the General Manager of Wilmot Cattle Co, a grassfed beef business based in the New England region of NSW, spanning three properties totalling over 5,600ha. The business is managed in a holistic context, focused on regenerating and restoring the ecological function of the landscape in a profitable way, and producing the healthiest, most nutrient dense, beef.

Stuart spent a vast majority of his early career working in the northern Australian pastoral industry, as well as time in broadacre agriculture in Canada, a feedlot in southern Queensland, and founded an international agriculture recruitment business.

Stuart is most passionate about helping others, and this passion is shared amongst the Wilmot Cattle Co team. He often shares their story online, in print media, on podcasts and has been a keynote speaker on various occasions in Australia and North America. In 2019 Stuart was awarded the national Young Carbon Farmer of the Year Award and the business was recognised as a Champion in the NSW Landcare Awards.

Connect with Stuart and Wilmot’s Short Story

photo of Terence Farrell

Terence Farrell


Terence is head of economics at GRDC where his responsibilities include international demand forecasting, investment analysis and impact assessment. Terence has worked on grain and livestock farms and has a strong interest in the business management.  

He holds degrees in agricultural economics from universities in Australia, Canada and the United States.  Prior to joining GRDC he worked with Grain Growers, taught agricultural economics at the University of New England, worked with NSW DPI in several roles and was a consultant to various research organisations in Australia and overseas. 

photo of Amelia Brown

Amelia Brown


Amelia Brown leads the crops team in ABARES Agricultural Forecasting and Policy section. Amelia is the wheat analyst, contributing to ABARES Agricultural Commodities publication and is also part of the team that produces the Australian Crop Report. She has a degree in agricultural economics from the University of Sydney.

Connect with Amelia on twitter @ABARES and on Facebook

photo of James Murray

James Murray


James is the Chief Operations Officer for Viterra in Australia, with over 20 years of experience in the grain industry. Prior to joining Viterra in 2011, James held multiple port and upcountry supply chain management roles in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

James first worked for Viterra as the Operations Manager for seven years. In early 2019 James was appointed Commercial and Logistics Manager before being appointed to his current role of Chief Operations Officer in the same year.

photo of Craig Scheibel

Craig Scheibel

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Craig Scheibel is the Assistant Director Plant Import Operations at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Craig joined the department in January 2000 as an inspector in southeast Queensland and was a mobile inspector for two years prior to moving to Canberra to work in Plant Programs.

Craig has worked in the import and export sides within the department’s Plant programs, and currently manages the importation of seeds and grain for human consumption and importation of bulk whole grain.

photo of Mark Howden

Mark Howden

Climate Change Institute, ANU

Professor Mark Howden is Director of the ANU Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions Institute, a Honorary Professor at the University of Melbourne, a Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a member of the ACT Climate Change Council.

He was on the US Federal Advisory Committee for the 3rd National Climate Assessment and contributes to several major national and international science and policy advisory bodies. 

Mark has worked on climate variability, climate change, innovation and adoption issues for over 30 years in partnership with many industry, community and policy groups via both research and science-policy roles. He has addressed Issues include agriculture and food security, the natural resource base, ecosystems and biodiversity, energy, water and urban systems.

Mark helped develop both the national and international greenhouse gas inventories that are a fundamental part of the Paris Agreement and has assessed sustainable ways to reduce emissions. He has been a major contributor to the IPCC since 1991, sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

photo of Fiona Breen

Fiona Breen


Fiona Breen is the Executive Producer of ABC Rural Tasmania and a journalist with more than 25 years’ experience in the media specialising in rural and regional stories. Before that she was a reporter on ABC Landline covering stories across Tasmania and Victoria from dairy to aquaculture and fisheries, wool, livestock and horticulture.

Her long and award-winning career has taken her on two assignments to the sub–Antarctic’s Macquarie Island reporting on the multimillion dollar pest eradication program and the revitalisation of the ecosystem.

She’s also had a three-week stint for the ABC in the Antarctic covering stories at Wilkins Runway, Davis and Casey stations.

Fiona is experienced in reporting across radio, digital and tv, managing a team that brings rural stories to audiences across those platforms.

Fiona has specialised in fisheries and aquaculture, horticulture and labour throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, looking at how these sectors have coped, by interviewing fishers, company chiefs, workers, orchardists, labour hire companies and more.

photo of Charley Xia

Charley Xia


Charley Xia joined ABARES in 2015 and is a senior industry economist in the bureau’s Agricultural Forecasting and Trade Branch. His work has covered commodity market forecasts and industry analysis, including research that has focused on agricultural productivity, global market competitiveness and seasonal labour use in Australia.

Charley holds bachelor degrees in economics and mathematics from the University of Melbourne, and a Master of Economics from the Australian National University.

Connect with Charley on twitter @ABARES and on Facebook

photo of Richard Palmer

Richard Palmer

Summerfruit New Zealand

Richard is the Chief Executive of Summerfruit New Zealand, the peak body representing growers, packers and exporters of peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines and cherries.

Summerfruit NZ has been deeply involved in a broad range of policy matters resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, notably dealing with access to seasonal labour and the logistics of airfreight to markets for New Zealand’s high quality export cherry crop. Richard has been the interim CEO since January 2020.

Richard has a long connection with the horticulture industry coming from, and still involved with, a family farming business in Nelson, NZ, where his family has farmed for over 175 years, and now growing apples, kiwifruit and wine grapes.

Richard’s prior roles include Deputy Chief Executive and Biosecurity and Trade Policy Manager, for Horticulture New Zealand; in Plant Exports at the Australian Government Department of Agriculture; and General Manager of Saxton Fruit and Freshco Nelson.  

Richard is also the current Chairman of Freshco Nelson Ltd, an apple packing and cool storage business, and a Director of Freshco Varieties Ltd, an apple variety management company.

photo of Gavin Scurr

Gavin Scurr

Piñata Farms

Piñata Farms’ managing director Gavin Scurr is a seasoned fresh produce grower and industry leader respected for farming innovation and commitment to quality. Gavin drives an expanding business with more than 1,010 hectares under cultivation and a seasonally fluctuating workforce spread over multiple locations.

Gavin identifies growth opportunities and ensures the company’s strategic direction is in line with quality – the cornerstone of Piñata Farms’ philosophy – as well as family values.

Gavin’s proudest achievements include expanding pineapple production to Mareeba in 1996 and identifying the Honey Gold mango variety as suitable for commercialisation. A hands-on visionary, Gavin heads a management team and board of directors. He is former chairman of the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA), a current director of the Raspberry and Blackberry Australia (RABA) board and also the Australian Fresh Produce Alliance (AFPA). He is also on the NT Farmers Association board, a member of the pineapple industry marketing advisory committee and managing director of joint venture company, BerryWorld Australia.

photo of Michael Fryszer

Michael Fryszer

Connect Group

With Michael’s thirty-five years of experience in the frontline of people management across Australia, he and his fellow directors and team are passionate and knowledgeable long termers.

Michael founded Connect Group in 2009, specifically to promote and be a leader in assisting our horticulture and broader agriculture sectors to embrace the very viable SWP and in recent times the PLS, both of which are solutions to old labour supply issues. Michael, Managing Director of the Content Group, is a respected commercial realist in a regulated world. He is also a co-founder and current board member of A.E.A (Approved Employers of Australia) which is the representative body for all member approved employers.

photo of Jonathon Duniam

Senator Jonathon Duniam

Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries
Senator for Tasmania

Senator Jonathon Duniam is a proud sixth generation Tasmanian with strong family roots planted in the North West of the state. Senator Duniam is married with three sons and knows the importance of improving opportunities for the next generation.

He is a strong advocate for his home state and believes Tasmania is among the best places to live, work and raise a family. Senator Duniam is passionate about getting out into the local community, and believes his job is about listening to concerns and actively working hard to find solutions by securing results in Canberra.

Having previously worked in the public service for most his career, he has extensive experience in the policy making process, having formerly worked as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Premier Will Hodgman at the time of the Liberals historic 2014 state election win.

Since his election in 2016, Senator Duniam has been an active participant on Senate committees and served as Chair of the Community Affairs Legislation Committee from 1.9.2016 to 21.8.2017 and Chair of the Environment and Communications Committee from 21.8.2018 to 18.05.2019. He is honoured to have been asked to serve as Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries and Assistant Minister for Regional Tourism in from 29.05.2019 to 22.12.2020 and then as Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries and Assistant Minister for Industry Development from 22.12.2020 to now. Senator Duniam’s aim and focus will always be – judged by deeds, not by words, and it is his commitment to work hard and deliver tangible benefits for the people of Australia.

photo of Robert Curtotti

Robert Curtotti


Robert Curtotti is a senior economist in ABARES Natural Resource Economics Program, responsible for the delivery of the annual Australian fisheries and aquaculture statistics publication and economic indicators reports for Commonwealth fisheries.

Robert has authored many ABARES publications that focus on fisheries 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 Emily Ogier

Emily Ogier

Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies

Dr Emily Ogier is a Marine Social Science Research Fellow at the Institute of Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS), University of Tasmania. She leads IMAS’ Human Dimensions research team and the national Human Dimensions Research subprogram, which are funded by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation.

Emily’s research interests are in the social and economic dimensions of marine resource systems, and the way these systems are governed through formal institutions, markets and social processes. Her research focuses on social and economic impacts of marine resource activities and governance, and the design of institutions and assessment processes. Emily’s work is particularly focused on the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, although with increasing attention to the scope of the emerging blue economy, and the policy challenges arising from climate change and the political economy implications for benefit generation and sharing.

Emily’s role involves extensive interaction with seafood industry leaders and organisations, and with state, territory and Commonwealth management agencies seeking decision support for complex marine resource management issues. She recently authored the FRDC report, Impacts of COVID-19 on the Australian Seafood Supply Chain: January-June 2020.

photo of Veronica Papacosta

Veronica Papacosta

Seafood Industry Australia

Veronica Papacosta is the CEO of Seafood Industry Australia, Managing Director of Sydney Fresh Seafood (Aust), a member of the Agricultural Industry Advisory Council, a member of the National Fisheries Advisory Council and a passionate advocate of the Australian seafood industry.

Sydney Fresh Seafood (Aust) is a fresh seafood retail and hospitality business currently operating 14 stores across NSW.  Established in 1978, Sydney Fresh is still a family run business which now employs over 150 people and is ever growing and innovating to meet the rapidly shifting retail environment and consumer expectations.   

Veronica led the membership drive to establish the first ever national peak body that represents the interest of wildcatch, aquaculture and post-harvest sectors in the Australia seafood industry.  Established in May 2017, Seafood Industry Australia is now the uniting voice of Australian seafood with social license, resource access and positive media representation are key strategic activities of SIA.   

Veronica has a Bachelor of Economics (major in marketing and accounting) from the University of Sydney, a Diploma in Event Management from University of Technology, Sydney and is a very proud graduate of the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program (NSILP) 2015.

photo of Boris Musa

Boris Musa

Mainstream Aquaculture Group

Boris Musa is the Managing Director of Mainstream Aquaculture Group, a vertically integrated producer and supplier of barramundi. Mainstream is one of the largest suppliers of barramundi table fish products in Australia under the Infinity Blue Barramundi brand and the global market leader in the supply of juvenile fish (seed stock) to the barramundi aquaculture industry, exporting to 25 countries across five continents.

Mainstream operates four farms in Australia, including the world’s largest aquaculture production facility of its type, as well as the world’s largest barramundi hatchery. Boris has been Managing Director since 2012 and under his stewardship, company value has increased by a multiple of 40 times on a 30-fold increase in revenue.

Boris’ background is in financial services and most recently, he spent five years at Macquarie Group, the last two as a Director. Boris is a member of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Finance and Audit Committee, a member of the Wyndham City Refuse Disposal Business Strategic Management Committee and Treasurer of the Australian Barramundi Farmers Association. Boris has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Deakin University and is a Dean’s Scholar in finance (top 1% of graduates). Boris also holds a Diploma in Natural Resource Management and a Masters of Applied Finance.

photo of Angus Verley

Angus Verley


Angus Verley presents the western Victorian ABC rural report, which airs from 6.15am to 6.30am each weekday, and also fills in as a Country Hour presenter. Angus reports on a wide range of western Victorian industries including cropping, horticulture, and wool, lamb and cattle production. He also reports on forestry in the Green Triangle region, and exports out of the Port of Portland.

Angus grew up on a sheep and cropping farm near Boort, in northern Victoria. He studied journalism at RMIT University in Melbourne, before working at newspapers in Kerang and Swan Hill.  In 2018 he was employed as a rural reporter with the ABC, based at Horsham in western Victoria. He is part of a network of rural reporters around Victoria, with colleagues in Mildura, Bendigo, Ballarat, Shepparton, Melbourne and Sale.

There are similar networks in other states and the Northern Territory. Rural reporting with the ABC is an ideal intersection between his interests in farming and journalism. Angus maintains a keen interest in the family farm and travels back there some weekends. He is a keen advocate of agriculture and thinks it is a vibrant industry with a bright future.

photo of Linden Whittle

Linden Whittle


Linden Whittle is an economist at ABARES and currently specialises in research on forestry and water markets. His previous research examined issues relating to future plantation establishment and the use of forest and sawmill residues. Prior to joining ABARES Linden worked at the Commonwealth Department of Finance. Linden holds a Bachelor of Finance and a Masters in Economics from the Australian National University.

Connect with Linden on twitter @ABARES and on Facebook

photo of David Shelton

David Shelton

New Forests

David joined New Forests as an investment specialist in late 2005, when the business was formed.  David leads all acquisitions and dispositions for New Forests’ Australia-New Zealand funds, including coverage of timberland as well as agriculture, infrastructure, carbon projects and related assets.

David’s track record for New Forests includes assets exceeding $5.3bn, making him one of the most experienced timberland investors in the country. David also represents the funds managed by New Forests on several company boards. Prior to joining New Forests, David had experience working on investment mechanisms and research projects for CSIRO in more than 15 countries, primarily in Australasia. David has a Bachelor of Environmental Science (Honours) from Charles Sturt University and a MBA from the Australian Graduate School of Management.

photo of Rob de Fegely

Rob de Fegely

Margules Groome Consulting

Rob de Fégely is a Director of Margules Groome Consulting, a forestry company jointly based in Australia and New Zealand.  Rob specialises in industry strategy and investment.

He is a committed conservationist and a Registered Professional Forester. Rob is Co-Chair of the Commonwealth Governments Forest Industry Advisory Council, Chair of Sustainable Timber Tasmania, and a member of the Alberta Investment Management Corporation Advisory Board. Rob was recognised in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours where he was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to the forestry industry in business and advisory roles.

Rob’s previous roles include past President of the Institute of Foresters of Australia, non-Executive Director of VicForests, Chair of Cloudy Bay Sustainable Forestry in Papua New Guinea and advisory board member of Greening Australia and the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In 2019 Rob was awarded the Institute of Foresters of Australia’s NW Jolly Medal - the highest honour for “Outstanding service to forestry in Australia.” Rob was the foundation Chair of Cape York Timber, an Indigenous based enterprise in far north Queensland that developed a sawmill and forest management opportunities.

Rob has a Bachelor of Science (Forestry) degree from the Australian National University and a Master of Science (Forest Business Management) from Aberdeen University in the United Kingdom. In his spare time, he runs a small farm with his wife Sarah on the far South Coast of NSW. 

photo of Penny Wells

Penny Wells

Private Forests Tasmania

Penny is the CEO of Private Forests Tasmania, an independent statutory authority of the Tasmanian Government. Penny has over thirty years’ experience in the forestry sector in Tasmania, having been involved in forest planning, policy and management with both the Tasmanian Government and forest industry since the late 1980s.

During this time she has been joint owner of a small family sawmill (processing special species timbers), has worked with natural resource management agencies across the Tasmanian Government, and worked with Forestry Tasmania as a forest planner.

Penny was part of the team which negotiated the original Regional Forest Agreement (RFA) for Tasmania in 1997, led the negotiations to extend the RFA in 2017, worked with the forest industry to develop the 2017 forest industry growth strategy and is currently leading the Tree Alliance marketing campaign. Penny is currently chair of the Tasmanian Regional Forestry Hub (NNW pilot hub) and a member of the national Forest Industries Advisory Council. Penny has experience on the Board of the Forest Practices Authority, and for four years was the Director of Forest Policy in the Department of State Growth.

photo of Neal Hughes

Neal Hughes


Dr Neal Hughes is a Senior Economist at ABARES. Neal has over 15 years of experience as an economist at ABARES, researching agricultural and natural resource issues. Neal’s key areas of expertise include the design of water markets, water policy outcomes in the Murray-Darling Basin and the effects of drought and climate change on Australian farms.

Neal was a 2012 Sir Roland Wilson Scholar, and he currently holds an adjunct associate professor position at Deakin University.  

Connect with Neal on twitter @ABARES and on Facebook

photo of Ross Kingwell

Ross Kingwell

Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre

Ross Kingwell is the Chief Economist at the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC), a joint initiative of the WA State Government and the Grains Research and Development Corporation. He is also a professor of agricultural economics in the School of Agriculture and Environment at the University of Western Australia (UWA).

Ross chairs the Australian Farm Institute’s research advisory committee and has served as co-editor of the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

He is a past-president of the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society and is a distinguished fellow of that society. Ross’s research interests and expertise are principally in farming systems and industry analysis. A current emphasis in his research is grain supply chain and grain demand analysis.

photo of Allen Benter

Allen Benter

NSW Department of Primary Industries

Dr Allen Benter leads the Climate-Smart Pilots project in the NSW Department of Primary Industries Climate Change Research Strategy.  He is based in Orange, NSW, and has been with the department since 2017 developing hardware and software tools for farmers and research teams.  Allen’s research has focused on the applications of the Internet of Things and the value chain of data within primary industries.

Prior to joining NSW DPI, Allen was a lecturer in computing at Charles Sturt University.  His PhD research investigated ground penetrating radar imaging for underground mining applications. 

Allen leads a multi-disciplinary team of computer and agricultural scientists demonstrating how technology can help farmers adapt to the changing climate and increasing climate variability.  Allen will be presenting some early results from these trials at Outlook 2021.

photo of Peter Somerville

Peter Somerville


Peter Somerville is a Rural Reporter at the ABC. He started his career writing for local newspapers in East Gippsland, before going on to cover livestock industries at The Weekly Times and The Land. He has now returned home to report on agriculture in Gippsland. Peter occasionally hosts the Victorian Country Hour. You can connect with him on Twitter.

photo of Andrew Cameron

Andrew Cameron


Andrew Cameron is a senior economist at ABARES and specialises in research and analysis on the domestic and international agricultural sectors. Prior to ABARES he worked at the Commonwealth Grants Commission and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Andrew holds a Bachelor of Business degree majoring in economics from the Queensland University of Technology.

Connect with Andrew on twitter @ABARES and on Facebook

photo of Steve Ronalds

Steve Ronalds

Gippsland Jersey

Steve Ronalds became Managing Director of Gippsland Jersey in September 2016 when the first milk rolled off the production line. Gippsland Jersey was born out of the personal adversities of both Steve and co-founder Sallie Jones. Gippsland Jersey has positioned itself as the only white milk brand processed in Gippsland with a distribution network covering all of Gippsland and metro Melbourne.

Now, further products including butter and cream, are also processed in-house at a dairy factory on Sallie’s family farm in Lakes Entrance. Prior to Gippsland Jersey, Steve worked on multiple local farms before coming back to the home farm to become the fourth-generation farmer milking 120 cows. This quickly expanded to 400 Jersey cows, working through share farming, then leasing and now purchasing the family farm. During this time Steve also managed up to 700 cows on nearby farms. In 2014 Steve took on the Milk Supply Manager role at United Dairy Power (UDP) followed by being a part of the milk supply team at Burra Foods when Burra purchased part of UDP assets.

Steve holds an Advanced Diploma in Agriculture and has participated in the Rocket Seeder entrepreneur program among other projects. 

Gippsland Jersey has three pillars that sets it apart from any other dairy brands and drives direction. 1. Farmers must be paid a fair price for the work they put in. 2. Smashing stigma of rural mental health (especially male suicide) 3. Kindness - giving back to farmers in random, often grassroots ways

photo of Mark McDonald

Mark McDonald

Bega Cheese

Mark is the Executive General Manager Beverages Operations, appointed in January 2021, where he is responsible for milk, fruit and juice supply, research and development and operations across the Bega Dairy Drinks business.

Mark joined Bega in 2016 as Executive General Manager Ingredients, with responsibility for milk supply, ingredients development, innovation and operations, sales delivery and customer relationships, achieving growth in supply, sales and earnings over this period.

Mark is a globally focussed commercial leader with extensive food and beverage general management and executive experience spanning more than 25 years with Manassen Foods, Murray Goulburn and National Foods/Lion. Mark’s experience spans leading businesses and end to end supply chain, procurement and operations functions focussed on growth and innovation, people leadership and development, global best practice, operational excellence and continuous improvement delivering value creating customer outcomes. As well, Mark has Australian and international ingredients, commodity and FMCG experience particularly in dairy and also including fresh and dried fruit, baking and deli/dried grocery.

Mark holds a Bachelor of Economics degree, is a Certified Practicing Accountant and has completed a Masters of Business Administration. Mark also contributes to the broader dairy industry as an executive of the Australian Dairy Product Foundation and is on the board of the Australia Dairy Industry Council.

photo of Jeff Hastings

Jeff Hastings


Jeff is the inventor of the patented Haelen® milk technology. As an agricultural engineer with over 30 years’ experience in global agribusiness and a background in innovation, Jeff takes food technology projects from concept to commercialisation.

In 2002 Jeff developed sliced apples for the international market and more recently invented and commercialised an avocado processing technology that produces cut avocado that does not go brown, in a totally natural way. Jeff has a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Southern Queensland.

photo of Tom Kompas

Tom Kompas

Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis

Tom is a specialist in the economics of biosecurity, with a recent emphasis on optimal surveillance, environmental costs and benefits, and the allocation of investments across the spectrum of biosecurity threats and measures.

Along with being a Chief Investigator in the Centre of Excellence for Biosecurity Risk Analysis (CEBRA), he is also Group Director of the Centre for Environmental and Economic Research (CEER) at the University of Melbourne, a research consultancy group that supports CEBRA, and has dedicated much of his time and effort to public policy in Australia. Prior to this, he was a part-time Senior Economist at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ABARE); a Commonwealth Environment Research Facilities project leader on biosecurity and Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics. He also serves as the Foundation Director of the Australian Centre for Biosecurity and Environmental Economics at the Australian National University. Tom is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a Distinguished Fellow of the Australasian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society. 

photo of Andy Sheppard

Andy Sheppard


Dr Andy Sheppard FRES ARCS DIC FTSE is a CSIRO Senior Principal Research Scientist and Research Director in Biosecurity, and Director of CSIRO’s European laboratory. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering and the Académie d ’Agriculture de France.

He is a population ecologist with an international reputation in biological control and risk assessment focussed on the management of invasions of invasive plants, invertebrates, vertebrates and diseases. His interests are broadly divided into three areas: a) invasive species ecology and population dynamics supporting management; b) risk analysis and prioritization of biological control options, and c) understanding impacts and delivering benefits through pest, weed and disease management programs. He has led projects in Africa, Europe, New Zealand and the United States with three notable successes generating benefits to Australian agriculture of well over $1billion and comparable benefits to environmental assets.

His has published two books and many book chapters as part of more than 150 peer reviewed publications. He has been a research program leader in CSIRO since 2006 leading three different programs in the areas of invasive species and disease management, biosecurity and biodiversity. He has led teams that have successfully delivered large multidisciplinary projects in areas as diverse as weed biological control, carp biological control, biocontrol of dung using dung beetles and response management of exotic emergency animal diseases such as Foot and Mouth Disease.

His research and government interactions have also made a significant impact on biological control policy and regulations. He has also undertaken consultancies for the Convention on Biological Diversity, the IUCN and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services.

photo of Andrew Tongue

Andrew Tongue

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Andrew Tongue is a Deputy Secretary in the department, leading the Biosecurity and Compliance Group, including overseeing the Australian Chief Plant Protection and Veterinary Offices, and the Environmental Biosecurity Office.  

Andrew has a distinguished career in the Public Service, with recent roles including associate secretary for Indigenous affairs at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and secretary of the Victorian Department of the Premier and Cabinet.  Andrew received a Public Service Medal in 2011 for outstanding public service in the development of public policy, particularly in the areas of aviation security, Indigenous affairs and social housing.

photo of Gabrielle Vivian-Smith

Gabrielle Vivian-Smith

Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment

Dr Gabrielle Vivian-Smith is acting Australian Chief Plant Protection Officer and acting Chief Scientist (Agriculture) in the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

In her substantive role of Assistant Secretary, Plant Sciences and Risk Assessment she leads a team whose work aims to protect Australia's plant-based industries and the natural environment from exotic plant pests and to help maintain, improve and open overseas export markets for Australian plants and plant products.

Gabrielle has worked in biosecurity for 20 years including managing complex, high profile biosecurity and scientific programs and portfolios in science, operational response and policy at state and national levels. Gabrielle was previously Victoria’s Chief Plant Health Officer from 2013 to 2017.  From 2001 to 2013 Gabrielle led various Queensland Government biosecurity programs in invasive species research, policy and operational programs. Gabrielle’s formal qualifications include a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons), a Graduate Diploma in Horticulture and a PhD in Ecology.