People on the move

People on the Move in the grain industry

Grain Central, September 18, 2023


Darcy Miller, Poppy Blohm, Lachlan Corridan and Sarah Lewis took out top honours at this year’s awards. Photo: John Deere. See Technician awards story below.

  • Changes at GPSA
  • Update on GIAV committee
  • Riverine Plains CEO named
  • Grains Australia team expands
  • Technician awards announced
  • Cunliffe joins Broun & Co
  • WA Scientist of the Year named
  • Nuffield Scholars announced
  • Promotions at Norco, Cargill

Changes at GPSA  

Northern Mallee grain producer John Gladigau has been appointed as the new chair of Grain Producers SA following the organisation’s Annual General Meeting held August 29. 

Mr Gladigau takes the reigns from Hamley Bridge grain producer Adrian McCabe, who was chair for three years and a board director for nearly seven years. 

Eyre Peninsula grain producer Peta Willmott was appointed vice-chair, while Murray Plains grain producer Deanna Paech and independent director Dave McKeon were also appointed to the Board. 

“I’m excited to be stepping into the role and working with a high-quality board to build the future of the grain industry in South Australia,” Mr Gladigau said. 

“There’s never been a more important time for us as an industry to have strong representation, especially in light of key issues such as the Grain Harvest Code and chemical stewardship.”

While Gladigau country will continue to be farmed by Bulla Burra, Mr Gladigau has recently left his executive role at the collaborative farming operation to allow him to concentrate on the GPSA role, as well as working with UniSA’s ifarmwell project.

GPSA chair John Gladigau, vice-chair Peta Willmott and new directors Deanna Paech and Dave McKeown. Photo: GPSA

Mr Gladigau acknowledged the services of independent directors Dr Steve Jefferies and Professor Wendy Umberger on retirement from their board positions, and thanked Mr McCabe for his strong and effective leadership over the past three years.

GPSA chief executive officer Brad Perry also acknowledged Mr McCabe for his leadership. 

“The grain industry in South Australia owes much gratitude to Adrian McCabe for his leadership during his time as chair, guiding the industry through some challenging times and being at the forefront of key issues, such as sustainability.” 

Continuing on the GPSA board are: Nick Hillier; Chelly Litster; Dylon Kay, and James Heaslip. 

Update on GIAV committee

The Grain Industry Association of Victoria has welcomed two new members to its committee following its annual general meeting held on September 1.

They are CopRice commodity manager Krissy Campbell, and Riordan Grain trader Hamish MacDonald.

They replace Wilken Storage trader and 2015-17 president Andrew Kelso, who served 11 years on the committee, and Riordan Grains trader and 2017-2020 president Adrian Murphy, who served for 12 years.

LDC trader Simone Dax was returned as president, and thanked Mr Murphy and Mr Kelso for their service.

Other members of the committee are: vice president and Ridley senior grain merchant Stephen Howells; treasurer and GeoCommodities managing director Brad Knight; Viterra general manager strategy and planning Craig Cochrane; Cargill national sales manager Katrina Liston; Bunge  logistics manager Chris Spano: Kelly Grains trader Jeremy Swincer, and Rural Logic managing director Michael Wood.

GIAV 2023-24 committee: Jeremy Swincer; Hamish MacDonald; Krissy Campbell; Simone Dax; Chris Spano; Michael Wood; Katrina Liston; Brad Knight; Craig Cochrane, and Stephen Howells. Photo: GIAV

Riverine Plains CEO named

Riverine Plains has appointed Pip Grant as its new CEO following the resignation of Catherine Marriott. 

Riverine Plains CEO Pip Grant.

“Pip Grant comes with years of experience specialising in bringing innovation into, and growing organisations,” Riverine Plains Board chair Fiona Marshall said. 

“We are thrilled to have been able to attract such a high-calibre leader and Pip brings skills which are beautifully suited to fulfil the needs of the organisation as we grow it into the next phase,” Ms Marshall said. 

Ms Grant was the inaugural convenor of EvokeAg, now the pre-eminent agtech conference in the Asia-Pacific region, and her most recent position was in the soil-carbon sector. 

“We are looking forward to having Pip start with us to ensure the growth in impact and engagement continues and we are confident that the organisation will be in very safe hands under Pip’s leadership,” Ms Marshall said. 

“We are also immensely conscious of losing our inspirational CEO Catherine Marriott; we wish her all the very best and thank her for the contribution she has made to Riverine Plains and agriculture in the region more broadly.”

Ms Grant’s will work out of the Mulwala from today, picking up from chief operating officer Dr Sara Hely who has served as interim CEO.

Grains Australia team expands

Natalie Lee.

Four new team members have joined Grains Australia, an initiative of the Grains Research and Corporation responsible for vital industry services and functions that improve the industry’s competitiveness and profitability.

“The new Grains Australia team members, who have started with us in the last two months, bring a wealth of experience and will consolidate our ability to service the connection between what the market wants and what the Australian grains industry can provide,” Grains Australia CEO Richard Simonaitis said.

The new positions are:

General manager, strategy and communication Natalie Lee, who brings significant experience from previous roles at the Grower Group Alliance, GRDC, Cox Inall Communications, and West Australian Newspapers Holdings.

Council coordination manager Tatjana Karov brings expertise across agricultural economics, research, marketing and technical communications. Ms Karov has previously worked for GRDC’s National Variety Trials program and the University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Centre.

Peter Breguet.

Senior manager, trade and market access Peter Breguet has experience in agricultural commodity marketing and grain quality. He has worked with grain processor Unigrain, in export certification with ASC, and with agricultural commodity storage and trading companies.

Trade and market access manager Lachlan Evans has experience in diplomacy, government relations, trade and politics, and has been working for the Western Australian Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, and various ministerial offices and Federal Government departments.


Technician awards announced

Lachlan Corridan and second-time winner Sarah Lewis were named the Agriculture & Turf Service Technician of the Year and Parts Technician of the Year respectively at the John Deere Technician of the Year Awards gala dinner in Brisbane last month. 

Darcy Miller took out the Service Apprentice of the Year Award, while Poppy Blohm received the Parts Apprentice of the Year Award against a competitive field of Australian and New Zealand apprentices.  

“Lachlan, Sarah, Darcy and Poppy have demonstrated exemplary performance among a high calibre field of finalists and should be incredibly proud of their efforts in taking home their respective Awards tonight,” John Deere Australia and New Zealand managing director Luke Chandler said.  

“I would also like to acknowledge the New Zealand winners, Bryce Dickson, Jimmy O’Donnell and Mark Haughton for their achievements tonight.” 

Mr Corridan works at the Haeusler’s dealership at Sea Lake in Victoria, where he has become a specialist in combine harvesters and self-propelled sprayers. 

“All my customers are good people and their trust and support is what I love most about my job,” Mr Corridan said. 

Haeusler’s representative Jason Hannigan, John Deere Agriculture and Turf Service Technician of the Year Lachlan Corridan and John Deere director aftermarket and customer support Emma Ford. Photo: John Deere

Ms Lewis is also from Victoria, and works at the Brandt dealership at Terang in the Western District. 

“I was fortunate enough to be the title holder for the past 12 months, so it’s amazing to even consider that I’m here for the second time,” Ms Lewis said.

The Honeycombes dealership at Ayr in Queensland’s tropical Burdekin region is the workplace of Mr Miller, who in his childhood helped his grandfather around the family’s cane farm. 

 “I’ve loved tractors since I was a kid and regularly volunteered for work experience at Honeycombes before starting a school-based apprenticeship, which led to my full-time role,” Mr Miller said. 

“I’ve worked on mowers right through to large cane harvesters, but tractors are still my favourite piece of machinery.  

“I just love seeing the advancements in technology that really help improve farming practices.” 

Ms Blohm is employed at AFGRI Equipment’s Narrogin branch in Western Australia, where she enjoys supporting customers through time-critical seasons including seeding and harvest. 

More than 100 technicians were nominated by their dealerships 2023, with input from customers, and 30 finalists traveled to the company’s Australian headquarters in Brisbane for assessment, which involved testing diagnostic capabilities, technical knowledge, and customer-service skills. 

Cunliffe joins Broun & Co

Broun & Co has appointed Andy Cunliffe in a new role as the company’s export manager, focusing initially on containerised product.

Andy Cunliffe.

Broun & Co was founded in 1996 by Wal Broun, and Mr Broun’s retirement in 2021 saw Charles Coventry and Jon Bennett take over the business.

Mr Cunliffe’s appointment will see Broun & Co trading grain beyond its traditional business base in the Brisbane, Sydney and Newcastle port zones.

“Sorghum, wheat and barley will be the main ones, and pulses as well, expanding on business Broun & Co has already built,” Mr Cunliffe said.

“We’re now looking to do business through to Western Australia and Victoria.”

Mr Cunliffe has previously worked as a trading manager at Adams Australia through its joint venture with CHS Broadbent,and been a senior grain trader with LDC, as well as working as an independent broker with ACCB Australia.

WA Scientist of the Year named

The Western Australian Premier’s Scientist of the Year has been awarded to The University of Western Australia’s Institute of Agriculture director, Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique.

In 1981, Prof Siddique and his wife Almaz moved from Kerala, India, so the graduate could embark on his PhD at UWA.

Since then, he has worked closely with the agriculture and food industries to significantly improve cereal and grain-legume production in dryland environments, resulting in new crop varieties and agronomic packages for growers.

“My PhD was the first in this country on chickpea, and now Australia has a major pulse exporting industry; how we have grown,” Prof Siddique said.

Professor Kadambot Siddique is the winner of the WA Premier’s Scientist of the Year Award. Photo: UWA

Prof Siddique said he was especially thankful to his expansive network of colleagues, PhD and Masters students, and research collaborators at UWA and universities and research institutions across WA, Australia, and the world, especially in China and India.

“It is also crucial that I acknowledge my close working relationship with innovative WA farmers, who I have learned so much from and without whom I would certainly not be standing here tonight.”

Nuffield Scholars announced

Drought resilience has become a major focus of this year’s Nuffield program, with five new scholarships run by the Federal Government’s Future Drought Fund.

The FDF Drought Resilience Scholarship Program will support farmers across 2024 and 2025 to increase their knowledge of new tools and practices helping the agricultural sector respond to a changing climate.

Federal Department of Agriculture, Fishiers and Forestry first assistant secretary of farm resilience Mel Brown said the scholarships provide farmers with a valuable opportunity to gain an international perspective on drought-resilience activities.

“The FDF supports scholars to build drought resilience expertise, adapt innovate technology and practices from overseas, and allows these learnings to be shared to advance Australian agriculture,” Ms Brown said.

The FDF-funded positions cover five of the 25 Nuffield scholarships awarded this month, and all scholars will travel the world in the next 12 months to studying their chosen topics.

The 2024 Nuffield Scholars were announced in Perth this year.

Following is a list of recipients with their funding organisations and areas of study:

  • Shannen Barrett, WA: Grain Industry Association of WA: Looking to contribute to the development of a niche health food industry for oats in Australia;
  • Claudia Benn, Injune, Qld: Future Drought Fund: Extending on the work of previous scholars to help Australian farmers farm more profitably in alignment with natural systems;
  • Laura Bennett, Scaddan, WA: CSBP Fertilisers: Studying how farmers can manage the risks and opportunities to continuous cropping systems that come with a changing climate;
  • Kylie Braes, Normanton, Qld: Northern Pastoral Scholarship supported by the Australian Agricultural Company, Consolidated Pastoral Company, Elders and S. Kidman & Co: Studying an emerging cost-effective blood-testing technology for cattle;
  • Tom Consentino, Victor Harbor, SA: Fisheries Research and Development Corporation: Reviewing food and fibre policy around the globe, and aiming to identify ways for successful succession of new generations into food and fibre-production businesses;
  • Anna Cotton, Swansea, Tas: Rabobank: Focusing on how economic and climatic influences have affected family farms in Europe, North and South America and New Zealand;
  • Jack Courts, Wellington, NSW: Meat and Livestock Australia: Studying maternal efficiency in ruminant animals, with research expected to help reduce waste, aligning with the industry’s 2030 climate targets;
  • Justin DellaZoppa, Waikerie, SA: Woolworths: Investigating autonomous disease detection, plant monitoring, robot sprayers, tractors, drones, optical-grading lines, and cool storage;
  • Kirsty Dickenson, Devonport, Tas: Hort Innovation: Studying ways blackberry and raspberry growers can manage their resources effectively to maximise sustainability;
  • Caitlin Herbert, Eugowra, NSW: Future Drought Fund: Researching the role cattle feedlots can play in drought-proofing the Australian beef supply chain;
  • Sally Higgins, Allora, Qld: AgriFutures Australia: Learning about the large-scale land use changes resulting from climate change;
  • Pippa Jones, Goondiwindi, Qld: Public Sector Pension Investment Board: Looking to address farmers’ knowledge gaps around carbon markets and carbon neutrality;
  • Leoni Kojetin, Alstonville, NSW: Examining the effects of a changing climate on macadamias, and investigating sustainable practices that can provide solutions for Australian growers;
  • Dr Amy Logan, Vic: CSIRO scientist participating in two key components of the Nuffield program: the Contemporary Scholars Conference and the Global Focus Program. Nuffield Australia and CSIRO have an established partnership that promotes understanding between Australian scientific research and the agricultural industry;
  • Catherine Marriott, Yarrawonga, Vic: AgriFutures Australia: Researching the impacts of global environmental, social and governance policies on Australian farmers;
  • Paul McGorman, Kangaroo Island, SA: Grains Research and Development Corporation: Assessing potential for agricultural drones as an alternative piece of machinery for crops, pastures and other rural industries;
  • Jacob Moon, St George, Qld: Hort Innovation: Investigating ways to increase the use of machine harvesting in onion crops, as well as how post-harvest management can increase shelf life for onions and garlic;
  • Ben Poschelk, Glen Innes, NSW and Brisbane, Qld: Future Drought Fund: Seeking  to undertake a global analysis of resilience thinking and change, – learning from “people and communities who have adapted to manage adverse weather conditions”.
  • David Roberts-Thompson, Table Cape, Tas: Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture and JM Roberts Charitable Trust: Studying opportunities for biological priming of soils, for crop resilience and production;
  • Natalie Schlitz, Kerang, Vic: Future Drought Fund: Seeking to investigate weaknesses that threaten the viability of the Australian fodder export sector when faced with a water-limited future;
  • Treen Swift, Parkes, NSW: GrainCorp: Investigating the benefits artificial intelligence could bring to grain-growing operations;
  • Stephanie Tabone, Sydney, NSW: Hort Innovation: Investigating the use of legumes as an alternative nitrogen source for vegetable-cropping systems;
  • Michael Taylor, Kentucky, NSW: Future Drought Fund: Studying solutions to challenges that hinder the widespread adoption of agroforestry;
  • Ashley Wiese, Highbury, WA: CBH Group: Researching models for how export-dominated farming regions can move from being price takers to price makers;
  • Nick Young, Flinders, Vic: William Buckland Foundation: Investigating ways to reduce the waste generated by organic garlic production.

Promotions at Norco, Cargill

Jaco van der Mewe.

Two key trading positions have been filled internally following the retirement on September 1 of Ian Hanley as the manager of Norco’s commodity-trading division and Steve Adams as Cargill’s regional manager northern zone.

Stepping into Mr Hanley’s role is Jaco van der Merwe, who joined Norco in October last year after 11 years with GrainCorp, while Cargill territory manager Tyson Hosie is replacing Mr Adams.

Both positions are based in Toowoomba.


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