People on the move

People on the move in the grain industry

Grain Central November 14, 2022

WA grower Rhys Turton (left) is the new GrainGrowers chair, taking over from outgoing chair Brett Hosking. Photos: GrainGrowers

Who is on the move in the Australian grain industry? Catch up with our latest update on industry appointments, rewards and achievements.

  • New GrainGrowers chair
  • Grains Australia names Oat Council
  • Kerr joins InterGrain
  • CropLife Australia leadership team
  • New AHRI director
  • Sparke joins Malteurop
  • New RIC CEO
  • RGA wins Association Award
  • New Viterra managers
  • Anderson heads NZ’s Champion
  • Kalisch-Gordon new Rabobank role
  • CottonInfo communications lead

New GrainGrowers chair

Western Australia grower Rhys Turton has been elected as the new GrainGrowers’ chair.

Mr Turton is the first WA-based chair for GrainGrowers and has served on its Western Region board since 2017.

He takes over from outgoing chair Brett Hosking following his resignation from the board.

“Mr Hosking has offered tireless service during his time in the position and his achievements in the role are numerous,” GrainGrowers said in a statement.

Queensland grower Nigel Corish has been elected as deputy chair, alongside other board committee positions (Audit, Risk and Finance committee and the Sustainability Working Group).

Julia Hausler is continuing in her committee chair role of Nominations, Remuneration and HR committee.

GrainGrowers CEO David McKeon announced his resignation in September, and finished up with the organisation last month; recruitment for his replacement is under way.

Oat Council named

Grains Australia Limited has appointed eight industry representatives to its first Oat Council.

The members include: 

  • Ashley Wiese, GIWA Oat Council chair and grower from Narrogin, WA;
  • Calvin Chiew, CBH Group;
  • David Oates, Demeter Cormack;
  • Greg Carroll, Croker Grain;
  • Jack King, Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre (AEGIC);
  • Michael Vaccari, Unigrain;
  • Sara Grafenauer, University of New South Wales;
  • Tress Walmsley, InterGrain;

Grains Australia chair Terry Enright said the first priority for the new Oat Council will be assisting with the establishment of a national oat-classification system, working closely with GIWA, AEGIC, InterGrain and other industry stakeholders.

“The Oat Council will also have key responsibilities in providing advice to Grains Australia on international trade and market access priorities relevant to the Australian oat industry and its requirements for market information and education,” Mr Enright said. 

The Oat Council becomes the third commodity council to be established by Grains Australia, following the naming of the wheat and barley councils earlier this year.

Plans are also in progress to establish a Pulse Council and Oilseeds Council in the coming 12 months.

Individual appointments to commodity councils are for a period of two years, with the option to be extended for consecutive terms for a maximum of three terms. 

Kerr joins InterGrain

InterGrain has appointed Nicole Kerr as its chief marketing officer.

Nicole Kerr

Ms Kerr is an experienced grains industry leader who joins InterGrain from AEGIC, where she has been general manager of strategy and communications for the past five years. 

She will oversee the marketing strategy of InterGrain with a particular focus on supporting its direct engagement with growers, advisors and consultants. 

“I’m looking forward to joining the InterGrain team and helping deliver improved varieties into growers’ hands,” Ms Kerr said. 

“During my time with AEGIC, I learnt a lot about grain markets and the quality attributes markets are looking for in our grain.” 

“Nicole has more than 20 years of experience in the grains industry, and she will be an immense asset to our business,” InterGrain chief executive officer Tress Walmsley said. 

“Nicole joins the business at an exciting time of the year when we start receiving trial data and get the first look at how our new varieties have performed this season and we make plans for our next product releases.

CropLife Australia leadership team

National peak industry organisation for Australia’s plant science sector, CropLife Australia, announced its leadership team for 2022-23 following its recent Annual General Meeting. 

Syngenta ANZ country head and managing director Paul Luxton will continue as president and chairman of the organisation.

He will be joined on CropLife’s executive by: 

  • Damien Ryan, Sipcam Pacific Australia managing director, as vice president (Crop Protection and Stewardship);
  • Warren Inwood, Bayer CropScience managing director, as vice president (Crop Biotechnology);
  • Gavin Jackson, BASF Australia head of agricultural solutions (Australia and New Zealand), as chair of the Corporate Governance Committee

The following will serve on the CropLife Australia Board directors for 2022-23: Darrin Hines (Adama Australia), Rob Kaan (Corteva Agriscience), Peter O’Keeffe (Nufarm Australia), and Brett Ryan (Sumitomo Chemical Australia).

Mr Hines will continue as Agsafe chairman, CropLife Australia’s not-for-profit industry stewardship programs organisation. 

New AHRI director

Ken Flower has been appointed as the incoming director of the Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative (AHRI) at the University of Western Australia’s School of Agriculture and Environment. 

Associate Professor Flower has been involved in AHRI projects for several years, contributing his substantial knowledge in no-till and agronomy to the AHRI Agronomy team. 

With a broad farming systems skillset, including conservation farming/no-till systems, agronomy and cropping systems, precision agriculture, and weed control, Associate Professor Flower will ensure AHRI remains at the forefront of delivering efficient weed control solutions to Australian broadacre growers. 

AHRI is a national initiative based at the University of Western Australia with major investment from the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).

It delivers solution-based research to address herbicide resistance for the broadacre cropping industry and is also globally renowned for its scientific achievements in this area of research. 

AHRI and UWA, and GRDC congratulated Associate Professor Flower on his appointment as AHRI Director and Professor, which will formally begin on January 9, 2023. 

Sparke joins Malteurop

Malteurop has appointed a new general manager – ANZ in Glenn Sparke.

Malteurop general manager ANZ Glenn Sparke.

Based in Geelong, he brings 28 years of experience in the food industry to the role, having worked in areas such as quality, R&D, sales and marketing within Australia, New Zealand, and the Asia-Pacific region.

Mr Sparke has held leadership roles for companies including Joe White Maltings, Goodman Fielder, DuPont, Tate & Lyle, and Barry Callebaut.

“I’m delighted to join a company such as Malteurop and to work with the outstanding teams in Australia and New Zealand,” Mr Sparke said.

“I’m also looking forward to working with our customers across the APAC region, and to supporting our suppliers and the barley industry.”

His role involves leading a team and overseeing management of more than 50 staff involved in running Malteurop’s Australian and New Zealand operations.


A new chief executive officer has been appointed to lead the Regional Investment Corporation (RIC), the Australian Government-backed specialist finance provider for farmers and farm-related small businesses. 

Experienced finance CEO John Howard has been selected by the RIC Board for an initial three-year term.

It follows his career working across financial management and the agricultural supply chain, from primary production (family and corporate farming), commodity marketing, trading, manufacturing and food marketing. 

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said Mr Howard was selected by the RIC Board following a comprehensive selection process and would commence in the role on 21 November. 

“Mr Howard is an experienced CEO who has worked extensively in the agricultural industry and across the supply chain. He also possesses business strategy and transformation and financial investment experience,” Mr Watt said. 

The Australian Government thanked Paul Dowler for his leadership as Acting CEO of the RIC from January 2022.

Mr Dowler will return to his role as executive director of RIC Corporate Services. 

Matthew Pete, RGA communications manager, and Graeme Kruger, RGA executive director, with Dominic Cudmore, principal lawyer at Governology Pty Ltd, and John Peacock AM, chief executive officer Associations Forum.

RGA wins Association Award

The Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia (RGA) has been awarded the Small Association of the Year Award at the 2022 Association Awards this month.

The Association Awards, organised by the Association Forum, recognises excellence and accomplishment by associations on national level.

The RGA’s executive director Graeme Kruger accepted the award on behalf of the RGA.

“The calibre of nominees was extremely high; it is an incredible honour for the RGA to receive this award and to be recognised on a national platform,” Mr Kruger said.

RGA president Peter Herrmann said he was delighted to see the RGA receive this award.

“It is fantastic to see the RGA receive the recognition it deserves,” Mr Herrmann said.

New Viterra managers

Growers working with Viterra will benefit from the extra support of grower relationship managers Kym Scott and Todd Stanford.

Now Western region grower relationship manager, Mr Scott has been in operational roles with the company since 2009, and said he was looking forward to continuing to help growers hone their business solutions in this new role.

“We have such a fantastic grower community on the Eyre Peninsula and West Coast, it’ll be great to work with growers this harvest and into the future,” Mr Scott said.

As Eastern region grower relationship manager, Mr Stanford said his ongoing experience of over 10 years as grower services manager will bring a wealth of knowledge to benefit growers.

“My aim in this role is to ensure that our growers are getting the best service from Viterra and are aware of all that we offer,” Mr Stanford said.

Mr Scott and Mr Stanford are currently in the process of connecting with local growers and introducing them to the assistance they can offer as we lead into harvest.

Anderson heads NZ’s Champion

New Zealand flour miller Champion has appointed Chris Anderson as its country manager.

Chris Anderson.

Founded in 1862, Champion is a corporate sibling to Australia’s Allied Pinnacle, and both are owned by Japan’s Nisshin Seifun Group Inc.

The appointment was made to leverage the legacy and combined strength of the two leading Australian and New Zealand flour milling businesses.

Mr Anderson has more than 20 years’ experience in fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), and has held senior commercial roles with Coca Cola Amatil, Streets Ice Cream, SC Johnson and Goodman Fielder.

His most recent role was merchandise manager for Foodstuffs North Island; in 2020, he led FoodStuffs to partner with Fonterra to produce Simply Milk, New Zealand’s first carbon-neutral milk.

“As we continue to shift gear from strategy to execution, he will lead the team to drive value and win in our chosen categories,” Allied Pinnacle CEO David Pitt said.

“Across both markets, we have a clear vision – to be the flour, bakery ingredients and frozen baked goods business partner of choice in both Australia and New Zealand.”

Kalisch-Gordon new Rabo role

After six years with RaboResearch, Cheryl Kalisch Gordon is the new head of strategy for Rabobank Australia and Rabobank New Zealand.

Dr Kalisch Gordon was previously a senior commodity analyst for RaboResearch responsible for forecasting pricing for cotton, grains and oilseeds, the Australian crop size and trade outlook.

Originally from a cropping farm in New South Wale’s central west, she has also worked as an economist and industry consultant, as well as a lecturer at the University of Sydney.

Before her role at RaboResearch, Dr Kalisch Gordon was a trade and economics manager at GrainGrowers.

CottonInfo communications lead

The Australian cotton industry’s extension program, CottonInfo, has announced that a new communications lead – Megan Woodward – has joined the team.

Ms Woodward will support the CottonInfo team in providing the latest research to growers and consultants, helping them to achieve best practice.

CottonInfo is a joint initiative of the Cotton Research and Development Corporation (CRDC), Cotton Australia and Cotton Seed Distributors (CSD).

Ms Woodward has worked as a journalist and, since May 2020, she has worked with the University of Southern Queensland, delivering RD&E communications.

“Megan’s role will be to help connect growers with relevant industry research and best practice, supporting them to continue to increase their farm productivity and sustainability,” CottonInfo program manager, Warwick Waters said.

“We are delighted to have her on board, and on behalf of the CottonInfo joint venture partners, we welcome Megan to the team.”



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