People on the move

People on the Move in the grain industry

Grain Central, March 18, 2024

Tony Fischer, pictured with Norman Borlaug, will be presented with the 2023 Crawford Fund Medal at the Crawford Fund’s 2024 Annual Conference in August. Photo: Crawford Fund

  • Fischer wins Crawford medal
  • Remembering Ray Marshall
  • Gurney leaves T-Ports
  • New CRDC executive director
  • Zanda McDonald Award winners
  • CropLife welcomes new president, directors
  • ADM appoints McInerney
  • New InterGrain territory manager
  • Ford steps down as AOL CEO
  • Simson joins Climate Change Authority
  • RGA scholarship winners
  • Noel Fitzpatrick medal winner
  • New Farmbot CFO
  • Australian Rural Leadership Program 2024 cohort

Fischer wins Crawford medal

The 2023 Crawford Fund Medal has been awarded to internationally renowned wheat scientist Tony Fischer. 

Dr Fischer’s career started as a research agronomist in Wagga Wagga in the 1960s and went on to dizzying heights which saw him work with Nobel Prize Laureate Dr Norman Borlaug in leading CIMMYT’s global wheat program.

The program contributed to Australia’s impact in international agricultural research through various roles with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, CSIRO, the Crawford Fund, and the Australian National University.

“Recognising those who make an enduring contribution to food security is incredibly important to us, as often such commitment and perseverance goes unheralded,” fund CEO Colin Chartres said.

“Tony has over 140 refereed publications on crop agronomy, physiology, breeding, Australian and global wheat yield prospects, and general agricultural development.

“Tony remains highly engaged in Australia and globally to enable the greatest impact to be achieved through his contribution to wheat breeding and associated agronomy.”

The Crawford Fund Medal recognises those who have made a considerable and continued contribution to international agricultural research through the Crawford Fund’s programs and related activities. 

Remembering Ray Marshall

The grains industry has recognised the incredible service and selfless contribution of Ray Marshall, who passed away this month.

Ray Marshall

The Pingelly farmer served on the WAFarmers Grains Council and the WA Grains Group, including terms as president of both groups, was the Grain Producers Australia Western Region grower director from 2015 to 2019, and served as the inaugural president of the Western Oats Alliance, now the Grain Industry Association of WA’s Oats Council.

“Ray was a determined farm leader who contributed an enormous amount of his own time, resources and energy to benefit others, especially growers,” GPA chair Barry Large said. 

“Whether he was championing the benefits of oats, the need for stronger biosecurity protections, getting more value from our research dollars and levies, or keeping CBH and the grain traders honest, Ray had forthright views and welcomed the same from others.”

GPA southern director Andrew Weidemann said Mr Marshall was a fierce advocate who always contributed strongly for growers, in the GPA board room and around the GPA Policy Council table. 

“Ray believed in the value of strong industry advocacy and farmer representation, and always put his money where his mouth was in acting on those responsibilities,” Mr Weidemann said. 

“Another one of Ray’s great characteristics was his strong sense of fairness and willingness to stand up and fight against the tide of city-centric policy that farmers and regional Australians seem to have endured for so many years.” 

Gurney leaves T-Ports

After contributing years to the company since its inception in South Australia, Tim Gurney has stepped down as T-Ports general manager business development and client relations.

Tim Gurney

Mr Gurney has worked at T-Ports for about seven years, where he also held the role of general manager operations.

Before joining T-Ports, Mr Gurney worked at Viterra Australia for seven years and at ABB Grain.

In a statement, T-Ports said Mr Gurney had been heavily involved in the design, construction and commissioning of many strategic grain storage sites.

“Tim leaves a lasting impact, having played a pivotal role in building a large client base, engaging in proactive business dealings, and fostering trusted partnerships,” the statement said.

“T-Ports bids Tim Gurney farewell and extends heartfelt wishes for ongoing success in whatever he chooses for his next adventure.”

New CRDC executive director 

A lifelong commitment to the cotton industry has resulted in Allan Williams being appointed as executive director of the Cotton Research and Development Corporation.  

Allan Williams

“Allan has been an integral member of the CRDC team for 12 years, firstly as an R&D manager, then general manager innovation, and most recently as acting executive director,” CRDC chair Richard Haire said.

Mr Williams grew up on a cotton farm near Wee Waa and brings over 30 years’ experience in research and development to the position. 

His former roles have included senior agronomic advisor for the global Better Cotton Initiative, executive officer for the Australian Cotton Growers Research Association and executive officer for Cotton Consultants Australia, now Crop Consultants Australia.

Cotton industry sustainability is a particular passion of Mr Williams, and he is co-chair of the Sustainability Working Group, which leads the cotton industry’s PLANET. PEOPLE. PADDOCK Sustainability Framework,.

Since 2006, Mr Williams has also held the position of chair of the International Cotton Advisory Committee’s Expert Panel on the Social, Economic and Environmental Performance of Cotton.  

Zanda McDonald Award winners

Australian Tessa Chartres and New Zealander Nancy Crawshaw have been named the 2024 winners of the Zanda McDonald Award.

Based in Deniliquin NSW, Ms Chartres is the general manager of business development at Murray Irrigation, where she is responsible for the delivery of Commonwealth-funded projects, water policy, ICT transformation, and commercial business contracts. 

Ms Crawshaw is an extension officer for Angus Australia and utilises knowledge of the beef supply chain to facilitate engaging field days, youth programs, and workshops for primary producers which add value to their businesses. 

Award chairman Shane McManaway said the judges were impressed with both Ms Chartres and Ms Crawshaw’s achievements to date, and the remarkable contributions they were already making to the agricultural landscape.  

“They both embrace the values that hold true to the award, and are extremely worthy recipients,” Mr McManaway said.

The award provides an opportunity to accelerate the careers of young people in ag through providing opportunities for growth, mentorship, and education.  

Zanda McDonald 2024 award recipients Tessa Chartres and Nancy Crawshaw.

CropLife welcomes new president, directors

CropLife Australia has announced that Warren Inwood, managing director for Bayer Crop Sciences Australia and New Zealand, has been elected as president of CropLife Australia.

He succeeds Paul Luxton, who has resigned from the board to take up a new global position with Syngenta, after extensive service to CropLife Australia spanning more than a decade. 

Warren Inwood

Mr Inwood brings over 30 years of knowledge and extensive industry experience to the position, including as a board member of CropLife for several years, as well as holding the position of vice-president of crop biotechnology.

“Warren’s passion for agriculture, the plant-science sector and extensive industry experience will be extremely valuable in his new leadership role as CropLife Australia continues to advocate on behalf of the Australian plant-science industry,” CropLife Australia chief executive officer Matthew Cossey said.

Mr Inwood said he was looking forward to his term as president and thanked Mr Luxton for his leadership and continued support of the plant science industry.

“CropLife’s advocacy will continue to focus on critical issues for the plant science industry and agriculture more broadly, ensuring important crop protection and crop biotechnology innovations make it to Australia’s farmers so that they can farm more productively and sustainably. 

Mr Cossey also welcomed Kelly Freeman, managing director of Nutrien, who has been appointed to fill the casual vacancy on the board created by Mr Luxton’s departure, and the appointment of two new independent external directors in Kate Stone and Thea Dickinson.

Ms Stone is currently managing director, head of consumer, retail and healthcare at a global investment bank and Ms Dickinson holds the position as category lead grocery channels for Mars Australia.

ADM appoints McInerney

ADM has appointed experienced grain operations leader Shane McInerney to manage its site at Port
Pirie in South Australia.

Holly Booth and Shane McInerney on site at ADM’s Port Pirie operation. Photo: ADM

Mr McInerney has more than 25 years of experience in the SA grains industry, spanning roles in export quality assurance, laboratory operations, grain classification and training, and site management.

“Having someone of Shane’s calibre leading our Port Pirie team is a significant benefit for ADM,” ADM operations and QA manager Holly Booth said.

“Shane’s background in site operations, quality assurance and leading teams will not only assist our Pirie operations, but also export programs in other parts of Australia.”

ADM operates a bunker site and export pathway at Port Pirie, where it receives and stores wheat, barley
and lentils from across the Upper North region of SA, as well as the northern Eyre Peninsula.

Shane’s appointment to ADM coincided with a significant milestone for the company, with the loading of its first malting barley cargo from Port Pirie destined for China.

Mr McInerney said together with Adam Crabb, ADM’s SA grain accumulation manager, he was looking forward to meeting with local growers and the industry in the Upper North at various field day and extension events during the growing season.

New InterGrain territory manager

Richard Marsland

InterGrain has announced the appointment of Richard Marsland as the new northern Western Australia territory manager.

Based in the Midwest region, Mr Marsland will use his experience and knowledge of the region to oversee sales, marketing, and technical support for InterGrain’s portfolio of wheat, barley, and oat varieties. 

“I’m looking forward to developing new relationships in this role and assisting growers in choosing the right varieties for their farming systems,” Mr Marsland said. 

InterGrain chief marketing officer Nicole Kerr said Mr Marsland comes from a farming background and had completed a degree in agriculture at Harper Adams University in the UK.

“Richard came to Australia in 2004 and spent time as an agronomist with Nutrien (formally Landmark) and most recently overseeing a broadacre cropping operation in Mingenew, WA,” Ms Kerr said.

Ford steps down as AOL CEO

After nearly six years at the helm of Australian Organic Limited, chief executive officer Niki Ford has announced she will be stepping down from the role. 

Niki Ford. Photo: Kit Photography

Ms Ford, who became the organisation’s first female CEO in 2018, announced at the close of the 2024 Australian Organic Conference that her tenure will end July 31. 

“Mentoring the AOL team, with so many highly intelligent people, has been my greatest privilege, and it has been a pleasure working side by side with the passionate and generous AOL Board.   

Ms Ford’s strong connection to the land and sustainable food was forged from her upbringing on the outskirts of Toowoomba, and while working as a chef and in various FMCG roles. 

At 21, an illness prompted a diet reassessment, leading to the discovery of organic produce’s health benefits, sparking Ms Ford’s decade-long self education and eventual leadership of the industry’s peak body.

As the longest-serving CEO of AOL, she has navigated a demerger, restructured the organisation into the highly regarded industry body it is today, adapted to a global pandemic, and established relationships with government and industry while championing the organic industry.

Simson joins Climate Change Authority

Former National Farmers’ Federation chair Fiona Simson has been named as a new member of the Climate Change Authority.

Fiona Simson

Ms Simson has a wealth of experience in the agricultural sector, having recently stepped down as Chair of the National Farmers’ Federation after serving as its first female president and, in 2023, was elected to the board of the World Farmers’ Organisation, where she represents Australia and New Zealand.

She was appointed alongside Hydro Tasmania chair and former Victorian Government secretary, Richard Bolt, with both holding the positions for five years.

The Federal Government has also re-appointed existing chief executive Brad Archer for a further 12 months.

“The CCA provides independent advice that’s critical for developing Australia’s climate policy, and both Fiona and Richard have a wealth of experience and perspectives to contribute to that,” Minister for Climate Change and Energy Chris Bowen said. 

“We look forward to CCA’s collective input into our annual climate change statement and sectoral plans to help the Government make key policy decisions and set an ambitious and achievable 2035 target that seizes economic opportunity for Australia.” 

RGA scholarship winners

Ricegrowers Association of Australia has awarded the 2024 rice-industry scholarships to Niamh Mason and Laura Hatty.

Based at Finley, Ms Mason received the Greg Graham Memorial Scholarship, with Ms Hatty of Tocumwal receiving the Peter Connor Book Award.

Ms Mason is in her third year of a Bachelor of Agricultural Science, majoring in Agronomy at the University of Queensland, while Ms Hatty is studying a Bachelor of Medical Radiation Science at Charles Sturt University.

The RGA received a record number of scholarship applications this year, reflecting the outstanding talent and commitment within the rice industry.

Niamh Mason and Laura Hatty.

Noel Fitzpatrick medal winner

Early career scientist Chaiyya Coope has been named 2024 recipient of the annual Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum’s Noel Fitzpatrick medal.

Chaiyya Cooper

The medal, honouring former Department of Agriculture Director General Noel Fitzpatrick, was presented by his daughter Carol Fitzpatrick to Ms Cooper for her grains research.

Ms Cooper, who grew up in Esperance, presented her Honours research that tested the effectiveness of chemical products to reduce Ice Nucleation Active (INA) bacteria, which increase the risk of frost damage on cereal crops. 

CSBP account manager Miles Ellery was awarded second place for his Honours research project that examined the potential of struvite, a wastewater treatment by-product of magnesium, ammonium and phosphate, as a supplement for phosphorous fertiliser. 

Gloria Rovira, originally from Panama, was awarded third place for her Masters research on whether the native plant Solanum symonii, known as Kangaroo apple, could be used as rootstock to improve tomato production. 

All from Curtin University, the medal winners were announced after the participants presented their research at the Young Professionals in Agriculture Forum, an event hosted by DPIRD and Ag Institute Australia (WA Division).

New Farmbot CFO

Clinton Lander has been named as the new Farmbot chief financial officer.

Clinton Lander

With a background of over 25 years in finance across various industries, including significant roles at ASX-listed technology companies, Mr Lander is perfectly positioned to help accelerate the company’s growth.

“With Farmbot gearing up for its Series B investment in 2025, Clinton’s extension experience in capital raising and financial management will be instrumental in steering the company towards its funding goals, US expansion and strategic objectives,” Farmbot managing director Andrew Coppin said.

Established in 2014, Farmbot is an Australian agtech company that develops and markets remote monitoring solutions to optimise water and fertliser usage.

Australian Rural Leadership Program 2024 cohort

Twenty-six rural leaders have been selected as the 31st cohort of the Australian Rural Leadership Program that commences in June.

Over 15 months, participants will engage in a range of unique and experiential learning opportunities over four sessions, both in Australia and overseas.

ARLF chief executive Matt Linnegar congratulated the participants on their selection.

“We are looking forward to the group coming together in June in the first of a series of experiences that will help shape their understanding of themselves and to work with others in influencing change across the country,” Mr Linnegar said.

In the 2024 cohort, GRDC-sponsored program participants are Fiona Marshall, Mulwala, and Gordon McNeil, Quirindi.

Perth-based Timothy Ford was named the CBH Group program participant, with Samuel Lee of Linthorpe announced the winner of the Cotton Australia, CRDC and Cotton Seed Distributers-sponsored position.

Toowoomba’s Tim Ford is also part of the program thanks to a private donor as well as Cassandra Walker from Horsham, courtesy of Agriculture Victoria Research.

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