People on the move

People on the move in the grain and cropping sector

Grain Central, March 12, 2021

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

  • CSD appoints Quinn new GM
  • McKeon recognised as key influencer
  • New leaders for CBH growers’ advisory council
  • Gliddon returns to Plum Grove
  • Wolski joins Direct Grain
  • JD appoints new precision managers
  • Jurgs moves to Namoi Cotton
  • Namoi Cotton chief resigns
  • Goodfellow heads CBRE arm
  • UWA weed chipper research acknowledged
  • Riverine Plains regroups after delayed AGM
  • USQ researcher wins next gen award


James Quinn

CSD appoints Quinn new GM

COTTON Seed Distributors Ltd. (CSD) has appointed James Quinn as the company’s new general manager – growth and development.

CSD managing director Peter Graham said Mr Quinn brought a wealth of experience to the role, including 15 years at CSD, most recently as the marketing, development and extension lead.

“In his 25-year career in the cotton industry, James has played an active role in applied research, extension and delivery; and is widely respected for his focus on using research to inform grower productivity,” he said.

“James’ appointment will play a critical role in supporting CSD’s continual growth strategy and driving our leadership position in the Australian cotton industry.”

CSD recently embarked on a new Strategic Plan with a vision of ‘Growing the Australian cotton crop through innovative solutions beyond seed. Across six strategic focus areas, the Strategic Plan lays out a blueprint for the next five years, and sets the foundation for the long-term future of the organisation.

“In particular, we’re focused on further expanding our research and development program; and leveraging opportunities to create value through our data and digital platforms,” Mr Graham said.

CSD has also recently appointed a number of new operational staff at its Wee Waa seed production facilities in north west NSW.

“Seven new employees have already commenced at CSD in 2021, filling roles left vacant during the drought. CSD has a strong focus on succession planning, to ensure that we have a skilled and experienced workforce, ready to meet the challenges of the future,” Mr Graham said.

David McKeon

McKeon recognised as key influencer

GRAINGROWERS chief executive officer David McKeon has been recognised as an ‘Association Influencer of 2020’ by the Australasian Society of Association Executives.

An independent judging panel of experienced association leaders selected the influencers based on how they demonstrated influence, exemplary leadership, unrivalled guidance, strength in resilience and service to the sector over the last 12 months.

“David leads by example as chief executive of GrainGrowers. David’s passion for representing growers’ interests at a national level is unparalleled in the industry. Our growers are always front of mind for David, and this attitude flows down through the organisation,” GrainGrowers chair Brett Hosking said.

In 2020, GrainGrowers led the effort to implement a sustainability framework for the grains industry, successfully engaging all other grains representative organisations to future proof grains from the challenges that lay ahead.

Mr McKeon led GrainGrowers’ response for growers to the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring grain farmers were recognised as essential workers.

GrainGrowers produced a COVID-19 resource page and guide to keep growers up to date with the latest information to help manage their farm businesses through the pandemic.

Association Influencers is an inaugural program that highlights the outstanding contributions of individuals in the association community across Australia and New Zealand.

New leaders for CBH growers’ advisory council

THE CBH Group’s Growers’ Advisory Council (GAC) has elected a new chair and deputy chair and is calling for two new members to join the Council in July.

The GAC recently welcomed new chair, Romina Nicoletti, Bonnie Rock, and deputy chair, Craig Doney, Harrismith.

CBH chair Simon Stead thanked outgoing GAC chair, Neville McDonald, and deputy chair, Helen Woodhams.

GAC is seeking nominations from Western Australian growers to fill two vacant positions due to the expiry of the terms of sitting councillors.

One vacancy is in District 5 to meet the minimum number of councillors required for that district.

The other position is available to a grower from any District, as the minimum number of councillors required for all Districts has already been met.

The GAC is made up of 16 grower councillors and provides a formal channel to facilitate feedback and communication between CBH grower members and the co-operative’s Board and management team.

The Council meets four times a year in Perth to inform CBH of issues raised by growers, consider issues of a strategic nature to the Western Australian grain industry and provide feedback on CBH initiatives that will impact growers.

The GAC also helps increase grower engagement and understanding of issues affecting the co-operative and the broader grains industry.

A GAC councillor’s term is a single period of four years, with the two new positions starting on July 1, 2021. Applications close Friday, March 26, 2021.

Gliddon returns to Plum Grove

PLUM Grove has appointed Ben Gliddon as a grain trader focusing on Western Australia and South Australia.

Plum Grove trader Ben Gliddon

Mr Gliddon has 10 years’ experience in both international and domestic grain markets.

His appointment brings him back to where it all began as Plum Grove was his first job out of University in 2009.

Plum Grove has been absent from the market for the past year.

Mr Gliddon’s role will be to help the company re-establish its position and continue to build on its standing within the industry.

He worked for seven years as a wheat buyer for the Interflour Group in Singapore, and will look to leverage this experience to capture export business.

“The appointment is a positive one and it provides many exciting opportunities for the Plum Grove business going forward. It is another strong link into our re-entry into the market,” Plum Grove general manager Rikki Foss said.

Wolski joins Direct Grain

DARLING Downs-based trader Shane Wolski has joined Direct Grain.

Shane Wolski has joined Direct Grain

Specialising in cottonseed, Mr Wolski has been trading since the 1990s, and joined the Brisbane-based company late last year.

Mr Wolski most recently worked independently, and prior to that for Olam International’s Queensland Cotton.

Mr Wolski is based in Toowoomba and will service the Queensland and northern New South Wales markets.

JD appoints new precision managers

JOHN Deere Australia and New Zealand has appointed Benji Blevin as precision agriculture manager, an appointment he took up in November 2020.

Raised on a horticulture operation in Zimbabwe and with qualifications as a mechanical engineer, Mr Blevin commenced his career in the John Deere graduate program in 2016, and later worked as a precision ag specialist in Western Australia, then Queensland.

“I foresee the most rewarding aspect of my new role as helping deliver precision agriculture technology which will enhance productivity, profitability and sustainability outcomes to farmers,” he said

Previous John Deere Australia and New Zealand precision ag segment manager, Ben Kelly, has been promoted to production system manager – production and precision ag.

Jurgs moves to Namoi Cotton

TOOWOOMBA’s Andrew Jurgs has joined Namoi Cotton as a senior account manager.

Andrew Jurgs

Mr Jurgs, who is also president of the Queensland Agricultural Merchants, was previously a trader with Carpendale Commodities, and prior to that Emerald Grain.

Namoi Cotton is one of Australia’s largest cotton ginners, and operates 11 of the 38 sites operating in New South Wales and Queensland.

Mr Jurgs is working on grower accumulation for the ginning season about to get under way, and for subsequent seasons which are enjoying an improved production outlook following rainfall in many growing areas and catchments.

Namoi Cotton chief resigns

NAMOI Cotton chief executive officer, Michael Renehan, has stood down from the position. The company’s chief financial officer, John Stevenson, has been appointed interim acting CEO.

Mr Renehan joined Namoi Cotton Limited in 2019 as CEO and undertook a modernisation program to ensure the business met the challenges of the drought and, more recently, the COVID-19 work environment.

As part of the termination package, Mr Renehan received a three-month termination payment of $100,000, a one-off payment of $100,000 and a relocation and out-placement fee of $30,000.

Goodfellow heads CBRE arm

CBRE has appointed David Goodfellow as the head of capital markets – agribusiness team.

CBRE’s David Goodfellow

Mr Goodfellow has brought more than 30 years of experience to the role, including leadership positions with Rifa Salutary, Paraway Pastoral Company and AustOn Corporation, the Australian-based operating arm of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

He has also served as group general manager for Elders Rural Services, Australia.

“This appointment highlights CBRE’s strong and ongoing commitment to the sector and the focus we have on supporting our clients and cementing our position as the region’s market leading provider of agribusiness property services,” CBRE Australia and New Zealand chief executive officer Phil Rowland said.

CBRE’s head of capital markets, Mark Coster, said Mr Goodfellow’s appointment coincided with strong ongoing interest in Australia’s agribusiness sector from domestic and offshore investors.

UWA weed chipper research acknowledged

A PAPER capturing the research behind a unique mechanical weed chipper developed by The University of Western Australia and The University of Sydney (USYD) has received the Most Outstanding Paper Award for publications in the Weed Technology journal.

Project leader, USYD associate professor Michael Walsh, accepted the award on behalf of the project team at the Weed Science Society of America’s virtual 2021 Annual Conference in February.

The paper, published in the Weed Technology journal, highlights the innovativeness of the unique mechanical system that provides an alternative to using herbicides for weed management in largescale cropping operations.

The weed chipper uses specifically-designed rapid response ‘tynes’ that behave like mechanical hoes, coupled with commercially-available sensing technology to detect and chip out weeds in fallow fields.

It is the first mechanical system capable of site-specific weed control in Australian grain production.

The research and development team that undertook the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)-funded weed chipper project consisted of weed scientists from USYD, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Queensland and the University of Queensland, agricultural engineers from UWA, hydraulics experts from David Nowland Hydraulics and innovative grain growers from WA and Queensland.

UWA’s inaugural agricultural engineer Dr Andrew Guzzomi from the UWA School of Engineering and The UWA Institute of Agriculture, who led the engineering design of the weed chipper, said the award came after performing extensive research, development and testing with a multidisciplinary team and industry partners.

The next milestone for the weed chipper will be its commercial release onto the market, expected later this year.

The weed chipper uses specifically-designed rapid response ‘tynes’ that behave like mechanical hoes, coupled with commercially-available sensing technology to detect and chip out weeds in fallow fields.

Riverine Plains regroups after delayed AGM

THE Riverine Plains Inc Annual General Meeting (AGM) for 2020 was held at the group’s Mulwala office on February 25, 2021.

The 2020 AGM was delayed until 2021 as a result of border closures and COVID-19, which prevented the AGM from being conducted earlier.

Among some significant changes, Riverine Plains chief executive officer Catherine Marriott said the AGM welcomed a new, more streamlined and focused governance model.

“It shows members are passionate about the organisation and willing to support the change required to streamline efficiencies, maximise benefit to our members and establish clear value propositions to our stakeholders and service-providers,” she said.

At the AGM Ian Trevethan was re-elected as chair and Fiona Marshall was elected as vice-chair; Murray Scholz was elected treasurer; John Bruce was elected public officer; and Melissa Brown was elected to the board.

In his 2020 Chairman’s Report, Mr Trevethan thanked the outgoing 2020 committee: John Bruce, Melissa Brown, Adrian Clancy, Barry Membrey, Jan Davis, Paul Gontier, Fiona Marshall, Brad Stillard, Eric Nankivell, Curt Severin and Daniel Moll.

He also thanked Dale Grey of Agriculture Victoria for providing executive support.

Riverine Plains 2021 Board members

USQ researcher wins next gen award

DR FARAJI Rad from the University of Southern Queensland’s School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering has been named the recipient of the CSIRO Biosecurity digital innovation Award for her research project designing a microneedle patch to rapidly diagnose plant diseases in the field.

The award was announced at the 2021 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fishers and Forestry by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment.

“I am looking to integrate biosensors in the patch, which will allow pathogens to be quickly detected on the farm, and the extracted sample also could be sent to the lab for processing or further analysis,” Dr Rad said.

The Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry are awarded annually to scientists, researchers and innovators between 18 and 35 years old who have a project that will benefit Australia’s primary industries.

Each category winner is awarded $22,000 to help fund their research over a 12-month period.

Faraji Rad



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