People on the move

People on the Move in the grain industry

Grain Central, October 16, 2023

Victoria Clarke, SA, Michelle Fairall, NSW, and Hayley Lewis, SA, won the top three places in ASA’s grain-judging competition. Photo: ASAPhoto: ASA

  • New faces on RDC boards
  • Reshuffle at GIWA helm
  • InterGrain appointments
  • Alvan Blanch team expands
  • Coldham joins Pioneer
  • Neale named agritech president
  • AGF Seeds GM named
  • ASA awards judging firsts

New faces on RDC boards

Boards have been announced for the Grains Research and Development Corporation, the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, and AgriFutures Australia.
“These new appointments are a steady mix of reappointments and new faces, allowing for experience to guide the boards while injecting fresh ideas and new directions into the RDCs,” Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Murray Watt said.
“All appointees bring strong expertise in fields like agriculture, research, business and public policy, adding to RDC leadership.
“I would also like to thank all outgoing directors for their contributions to their respective RDCs.” 

At GRDC, John Woods has been reappointed as chair for a further 12-month term beginning October 1, and the new GRDC non-executive directors who began their three-year term on the same day are: 

Kellie Benda, WA: Founder director of Marvic Advisory, Ms Benda is a professional non-executive director, and she currently sits on the boards of Midway, Geoscape Australia, and Brightwater Care Group; 

Shaun Coffey, Qld: Chair of the Shaun Coffey & Associates consultancy, interim CEO of Sugar Research Australia, and a Future Fuels CRC director, as well as having ongoing involvement with the Crawford Fund; 

Natalie Sommerville, SA: Co-manager and owner of Mid-North cropping operation Windjara Ag; 

Bindi Turner, NSW: Agri Carbon Investments chief investment officer, Queensland Rural and Industry Development Authority director and former Daybreak Copping commercial manager. 

They join reappointments Richard Heath, Sharon Starick, and Bob Nixon. 

Five new CRDC non-executive directors have also been appointed. They are:

 Julie Bird, SA: Say It With Flowers owner, and Almond Board of Australia 2001-2010 former CEO;  

 Niall Blair, NSW: Blair & Advisors director and former NSW Member of Parliament; 

 Sally Ceeney, NSW: Owner and manager of a Trangie farming business, and Cotton Australia’s research direction and stewardship policy manager; 

 Bernie George, NSW: Australian Food and Fibre compliance and water services manager; 

 Michelle Tierney, NSW: Professional non-executive director; with other current board appointments at Peet, Growthpoint Properties Australia, and Stride Property (NZ). 

They join reappointed director Ross Burnett under chair Richard Haire.  

 New AgriFutures Australia non-executive directors are:  

Professor Andrew Campbell, Vic: Farmer and farm forester, and former Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research CEO;  

Emeritus Professor Julie Cotter, Qld: Darling Downs Hospital and Health Centre Board director;  

Dr Harjeet Khanna, Qld: HarOMICS managing director; former Sugar Research Australia executive and program Manager;  

Matthew Macfarlane, WA:  Icetana CEO and managing director. 

They join reappointed board members Cindy Cassidy, Professor Andrew Harris, and Danny Le Feuvre under chair Cathy McGowan,  

 Reshuffle at GIWA helm

The Grain Industry Association of Western Australia Board has appointed Tress Walmsley as chair.  

WA Agriculture Minister Jackie Jarvis with GIWA chair Tress Walmsley.

Ms Walmsley has been the CEO of seed company InterGrain since 2012, and was formerly GIWA’s deputy chair. 

She replaces Beaumont grower Lyndon Mickel, who has voluntarily vacated the position to focus on his farming enterprise.  

Mr Mickel will continue as GIWA Barley Council deputy chair and will remain on the GIWA Board. 

Prior to joining InterGrain, Ms Walmsley had extensive experience as a Department of Agriculture and Food WA officer, and is currently chair of Australian Crop Breeders. 

She is also a member of Grains Australia’s barley and oat councils. 

GIWA has appointed Pioneer Seeds southern WA sales and technical manager Peter Bostock as deputy chair. 

InterGrain appointments  

InterGrain has appointed two new territory managers to its marketing team, Siobhan Morgan in southern NSW and David Brunton in Vic.  

Ms Morgan and Mr Brunton will oversee the promotion, marketing and technical support for InterGrain’s portfolio of wheat, barley and oat varieties. 

InterGrain’s two newest territory managers, Rob Brunton, Victoria, and Siobhan Morgan southern NSW.

Formerly with Irwin Stockfeeds and servicing the Gippsland area of Victoria, Ms Morgan is based in Wagga Wagga. 

Mr Brunton is based at InterGrain’s Horsham facility, and was previously a research scientist with the South Australian Research and Development Institute. 

“We are delighted to welcome Siobhan and David and expand the InterGrain marketing team,” InterGrain chief marketing officer Nicole Kerr said. 

“Their experience and enthusiasm for cereal breeding and providing varietal solutions for growers will be a valuable asset to InterGrain. 

Alvan Blanch team expands 

Leading importer and installer of grain-drying and handling equipment Alvan Blanch Australia has appointed Chris Swain as its new general manager. 

Alvan Blanch Australia general manager Chris Swain.

Mr Swain comes to ABA after nine years as general manager of Toowoomba-based construction, agricultural and vehicle dealership business Wideland Ag. 

“To have a role to represent such quality products on a national scale is something that I have dreamed of, and the brands we are supporting can only be seen as top class,” Mr Swain said. 

ABA director Jim Duncan has been a driving force behind growth of the business in the past decade, and said ABA has expanded to a point where the next generation is needed to continue its development.

“Having Chris on board can only assist in growing the support for our customers,” Mr Duncan said.  

“While our machines are very easy to use and set up, it’s always good to have someone close on standby that can assist if needed.” 

ABA imports and supports Alvan Blanch commercial dryers, Skandia Elevators, Prado silos, and a new range of grain cleaners.  

Coldham joins Pioneer 

Pioneer Seeds has appointed Narrabri grower Will Coldham as the company’s new farm services consultant for the Lower Namoi. 

Working with Pioneer Seeds’ territory sales managers, FSCs help Pioneer customers make well-informed cropping decisions. 

Pioneer northern NSW and Liverpool Plains territory manager Sam Gall (left) with Will Coldham.

Mr Coldham joins the team with broad hands-on experience in many facets of agriculture, ranging from managing livestock through to cropping, precision seeding, and feedlot operations. 

Originally from a farming family on the northern tablelands of NSW, Mr Coldham he was previously working as an agronomic advisor in the Narrabri district. 

“My role with Pioneer is to support our growers,” Mr Coldham said. 

“This includes helping growers select which hybrids from our comprehensive range will be best suited to their growing situation.

Neale named Agritech president 

DataFarming co-founder Tim Neale has been elected as the president of the Australian Agritech Association for 2024. 

Mr Neale was named 2018 Australian Rural Consultant of the Year, and in June, DataFarming was named Australian Agritech’s Start-up of the Year for 2023.

“I’ve been in agritech for 25 years and I am absolutely passionate about the industry and where it could go,” Mr Neale said. 

“We don’t rank highly enough on the world stage, so I want to continue the push to legitimate agritech as a key part of agriculture and the Australian economy.” 

Based in Toowoomba, DataFarming is now providing satellite imagery to more than 35,000 farms in more than 50 countries. 

New GM at AGF Seeds

AGF Seeds has appointed Tim Brown as its new general manager to replace Andrew McNaughton.  

Mr Brown has been with AGF Seeds since 2018, working in R&D and sales, and has driven innovation and led AGF Seeds to introduce many popular species to Australia, including winter canola, tillage radish and sunn hemp. 

“I have insight into where our strengths are in terms new products and a strong understanding of the market, and I’m looking forward to learning more about the operations side of the business in seed processing, treating and packing,” Mr Brown said. 

“We have pipelines of products reaching maturity and it will be exciting to have an impact across the whole business,” Mr Brown said. 

Mr Brown will be based at head office in Smeaton but will also regularly visit the Benalla office. 

AGS Seeds general manager Tim Brown.

Mr Brown started his career in 1997 with the Department of Agriculture in Ballarat and worked with another seed company before launching AGF Seeds with fellow director David Toose in 2009. 

AGF Seeds has grown significantly in recent years following the acquisition of another Australian family-owned business, Smyth Seeds. 

“One of the strengths of our business is our diversity across all agricultural sectors and we have new wheats, canolas and perennial and annual grasses in development that will make a big difference to customers.” 

ASA awards judging firsts 

Agricultural Shows Australia held a national young grain judges demonstration event on the weekend in Tasmania, and has plans to formalise it and a soil-judging competition too in coming years.  

The champion ribbon went to NSW representative Michelle Fairall from Harden, and she also won the soil-judging competition.  

Runner-up in grains was Hayley Lewis, SA, and third went to Victoria Clarke, SA. 

“I went to my local show when I was younger and was encouraged to go in all the competitions I possibly could,” Ms Fairall said.  

“What’s wonderful about the competition is that it’s a valuable networking opportunity, and if you make a mistake, you don’t get judged for it; you get pointers on how to improve.” 

ASA executive officer Katie Stanley said these new competitions mark a promising expansion of the young judges competitions across Australia, and she highlighted the significance of soil assessment in agricultural and environmental management. 

“Soil is quite literally at the root of everything we do, and the judging competition has been developed to give young people the opportunity to learn how to assess and evaluate soil for agricultural and environmental management in a supportive environment,” Ms Stanley said. 


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