People on the move

People on the Move in the grain industry

Grain Central December 11, 2023

Syngenta Growth Awards winners at the Sydney dinner: Nick Bloor, Ted Langley, Nigel Blieschke, James Kahl, Syngenta’s Paul Luxton ANZ, Marty Lovegrove, Fiona and Liam Mann, David Manktelow and Hamish Marr.

  • Syngenta winners announced
  • Voznesenski joins CBA
  • Poutney returns to trading
  • GrainGrowers names course participants
  • Webb makes cotton shift
  • Five honoured by AMA
  • SunRice wins export award
  • Fellowship for Siddique
  • Rabobank makes sustainability appointment
  • New chair at IPL

Syngenta winners announced

The Syngenta Growth Awards were presented at a gala dinner in Sydney earlier this month to recognise achievements by growers, advisers and innovators.

“We’ve had another exceptional cohort of nominations this year, and it was incredibly hard for our judges to narrow it down to our final national winners,” Syngenta ANZ country head and managing director Paul Luxton said.

WA grower Darren Best was in the midst of harvest and received his Syngenta award remotely.

“The depth of experience of our winners, and each of their incredible contributions to not only their communities but the wider ag sector, is deserving of the accolades coming their way.”

National winners in each category will be offered the opportunity to take part in an international study tour next year.

The Growth Awards support Syngenta’s goals which include accelerating the company’s innovations to provide sustainable solutions for farmers, striving for carbon neutral agriculture,  and helping people stay safe and healthy by training farm workers.

Following are the national winners by category:


  • Ted Langley, Pine Hill Station, Bordertown, SA
  • Martin Lovegrove, Cleve Rural Traders, Cleve, SA


  • James Kahl, Merced Farming, Wee Waa, NSW
  • Nigel Blieschke, Torbreck Wines, Barossa Valley, SA

Community and people 

  • Hamish Marr, Marr Farms, Methven, NZ
  • David Manktelow, Applied Research and Technologies, Hawkes Bay, NZ


  • Fiona and Liam Mann, Block275, Eradu, WA

Judges’ choice 

  • Darren Best, Silverback Farms, Toodyay, WA
  • Nick Bloor, IVM Group, Varsity Lakes, Qld

Voznesenski joins CBA

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has appointed Dennis Voznesenski in a new role to drive sustainability and agricultural research.

Dennis Voznesenski.

Mr Voznesenski was previously with Rabobank in Australia and the United Kingdom, and also IKON Commodities in Australia, and has engaged extensively with growers in Australia’s major cropping regions.

“Having engaged with industry across the global grains supply chain, he brings an international perspective to the local sector for Commonwealth Bank,” CBA said in a statement.

“Dennis draws on a broad network developed while working at Rabobank in Australia and the United Kingdom.”

Poutney returns to trading

Sydney-based Nick Poutney has returned to trading as Itochu Australia’s head of grains.

This follows his two years at StoneX as a senior export cash broker, and prior to that, eight years with GrainCorp as its senior pulse trader following his posts in Geneva with AWB and Viterra.

Itochu Australia is a subsidiary of Japan’s Itochu Corporation, and its major activities in Australia involve mining.

Its agricultural interests in Australia include the sourcing of grain, oilseeds and related products for export, and Condamine Feedlot, a joint venture with Teys Australia in southern Queensland.

GrainGrowers names course participants

Ten emerging grains professionals have been announced as participants in GrainGrowers’ Australian Grain Leaders Program which offers to them development training for growers looking at future leadership roles in the grains industry.

Jack Langley from Narrandera, NSW, is one of the 2024 AGLP participants.

“The long-standing intention with the program is to develop the capacity of young growers and agricultural professionals to help shape the future of Australian grains,” GrainGrowers CEO Shona Gawel said.

Each new cohort represents potential and possibility, and I am encouraged by the passion and enthusiasm they all bring to the table.”

Participants undertake a project addressing a specific challenge in one of GrainGrowers’ six priority areas:

These are: trade and market access; grain freight and supply chains; workforce; biosecurity; carbon and climate; and farm inputs.

The 2024 AGLP participants are:

  • Jock Binnie, Bungeet, Vic
  • Angus Dalgleish, Dalby, Qld
  • Timothy Eckert, Meningie, SA
  • Matthew Hyde, Dalwallinu, WA
  • Mikaela Jericho, Lochiel, SA
  • Jack Langley, Narrandera, NSW
  • Thomas Moloney, Jerilderie, NSW
  • Renae Piggott, Bindoon, WA
  • James Russell, Lilliput, Vic
  • Ellah Thompson, Armidale, NSW

The course includes face-to-face group workshops; field visits; coaching sessions, and training and integration with industry participants and events.

Lou Flohr from Lameroo, SA, is one of the 2024 OnBoard participants.

GrainGrowers has also named its intake of growers selected to participate in the 2024 OnBoard director training program as:

  • John Even, Goomalling, WA
  • Lou Flohr, Lameroo, SA
  • Emma Langfield, Yannergee, NSW
  • Oscar Pearse, Moree, NSW
  • Meg Rice, Billa Billa, Qld

The program provides skills training in addition to funding participants to complete the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) course.

The first training session for the group will take place in March.

Five honoured by AMA

The Australian Mungbean Association presented five awards to its members at its general meeting on Friday.

Brett McIntyre and Mark Schmidt received awards at the latest AMA meeting.

Life memberships went to Brian Cowan, William Martin and Mark Schmidt, while the Summer Grains Award was presented to Brett McIntyre, and the president’s award went to Karen Schmidt.

Along with sorghum, maize, sunflower and soybeans, the AMA is part of Summer Grains, and Mr McIntyre has a long involvement with the committee that has organised successive triennial Summer Grains Conference.

Mr McIntyre has been involved with the mungbean industry for years, working for Mt Tyson Seeds, Champion Seed, Olam, and Adams Australia.

Mr Schmidt is a past AMA president that has contributed significantly to the industry’s growth and more united approach, while Mr Martin has worked extensively through the Qld Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to develop new varieties.

Mrs Schmidt has a long history of supporting AMA and its presidents, and works with her husband Mark in the Deacon Seeds business at Dalby.

Webb makes cotton shift

Cotton warehousing and marketing firm Raw Cotton Australia has appointed Peter Webb as general manager to drive further initiatives which will provide greater flexibility, more choice and opportunity in cotton and cottonseed marketing.

Since the early 1990s, Mr Webb has been working in the grain and cotton industries, and has held senior positions at the Australian Wheat Board, ConAgra and Auscott/Australian Food &Fibre, where he spent over 18 years, inlcluding five as general manager marketing.

“I am very excited about joining Raw Cotton Australia as I see some great opportunities to develop and grow the business,” Mr Webb said.

Raw Cotton Australia was started in recent years by broker Rain Agribusiness with the aim of giving cotton growers more options and transparency throughout the supply chain.

SunRice wins export award 

SunRice Group has won the Agribusiness, Food and Beverages Award at the 61st Australian Export Awards.

The award recognises outstanding international success in the field of  agricultural products, including manufactured foods and beverages.

“This is a great achievement and will be celebrated right across our business and industry, from the paddy to the plate,” SunRice Group CEO Paul Serra said.

“As a global FMCG business and one of Australia’s leading value-added food exporters with a 70-plus year heritage, our success is underpinned by our great people, our farmers who are amongst the best rice growers in the world, our valued customers and our ongoing commitment to research and development to maintain Australia’s global reputation as a leader in rice products.”

“Although the Federal Government’s recent legislation around the Restoring our Rivers Bill will present new challenges for our industry to remain globally competitive, we are confident to be an exporter of premium rice products around the world for many years to come.”

The group’s strategy allows it to source paddy rice from 12 different countries, including Australia, to satisfy global demand for SunRice products and manage increasing climate variability.

SunRice Group head of corporate affairs Anthony McFarlane, head of agribusiness Nicole Griffin, global rice division CEO Belinda Tumbers, and director John Bradford with Minister for Trade Senator Don Farrell (centre).

Changes at InterGrain

After 13 years as InterGrain’s senior wheat breeder, Dan Mullan is stepping into the company’s new position of chief operating officer.

Filling the senior wheat breeder position is David Tabah, who was previously the InterGrain barley breeder and canola crop research lead at Advanta seeds before rejoining InterGrain in early 2022 as its pulse and oilseed strategy lead.

InterGrain senior wheat breeder Dr David Tabah and chief operating officer Dr Dan Mullan.

InterGrain now has more than 70 staff, facilities in WA and Victoria, internal quality laboratories, and several commercial seed properties, and Dr Mullan will be responsible for overseeing InterGrain’s national operations.

“Dan’s role will ensure a high level of synergy across the breeding programs, drive operational efficiencies, and coordinate effective data management,” InterGrain said in a statement.

“This includes coordinating breeding programs, national trial management, seed production and quality control.

“Dr Mullan’s extensive experience and leadership have played a pivotal role in the development of InterGrain wheat varieties including Vixen, Brumby, RockStar, Chief CL Plus and Kinsei.

Dr Tabah has had success in leading major breeding programs for cereals and oilseeds.

“His strategic vision and commitment to pushing the boundaries of breeding align seamlessly with InterGrain’s mission to deliver the highest rates of genetic gain to growers as possible.”

Knox joins CSD

CSD has appointed Oliver Knox as the NSW region manager of its extension team.

Dr Oliver Knox.

Dr Knox has worked for close to a decade in soil science at the University of New England, and his research has contributed significantly to the impact of soil health on agriculture.

“He has also played a pivotal role in educating the next generation of agriculturists,” CSD said in a statement announcing his position.

“He has been instrumental in instructing students in the cotton production course, nurturing young minds with his expertise.”

Dr Knox has also been the technical lead in soils for the CottonInfo program, and in 2022 was named as the CSD Cotton Researcher of the Year.

Fellowship for Siddique

The University of Western Australia’s Hackett Professor Kadambot Siddique will on New Year’s Day join an exclusive group of esteemed scientists around the globe as a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences.

Prof Siddique is an internationally renowned agricultural scientist who has dedicated more than four decades to research, training, technology exchange and industry development, and has fostered research collaboration and trained postgraduate students from around the world.

He has also led and co-led intentional projects funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, Crawford Fund and United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Professor Siddique talks dryland farming with a local farmer in the Loess Plateau region of north-central China.

TWAS is an autonomous international organisation, founded in Italy in 1983 under the leadership of the late Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam of Pakistan.

Professor Siddique said he was humbled and grateful to be named a TWAS Fellow for his advancement of science in developing countries.

“I am extremely passionate about improving crop production in dryland environments, promoting sustainable agriculture and addressing global food and nutritional security,” he said.

“To be recognised by the TWAS for this work is indeed a significant honour.”

Rabobank makes sustainability appointment

Rabobank’s food and  agribusiness research division in Australia, RaboResearch, has appointed Anna Drake as its first sustainability analyst.

Ms Drake has been appointed to the newly-created position of sustainability analyst, providing in-depth research and knowledge on sustainability topics relating to the food  and agri sector.

Announcing the appointment, RaboResearch general manager for Australia and New Zealand Stefan Vogel said Ms Drake would focus on helping the bank’s customers with  research and knowledge to manage the evolving sustainability expectations from consumers, governments, export markets and domestic supply chains.

Anna Drake.

Ms Drake has been with Rabobank since 2020, having previously worked with the bank’s agricultural banking business.

“Anna is a great fit for this role. She knows the bank well, having worked within the business for the past three years, most recently in a sustainability-related role where she  engaged with customers in our carbon workshop program,” Mr Vogel said.

Over the past two years, Rabobank has delivered 55 of the two-day carbon workshops  to over 1200 primary producers.

The workshops are designed to help primary producers  build their knowledge on the fundamentals of carbon in farming, including the science, global policy and how it may relate to farm businesses.

New chair at IPL

The Board of Incitec Pivot Limited has appointed director Greg Robinson as its chairman following the departure of Brian Kruger due to personal reasons.

Mr Kruger has been an IPL director since 2017 and was appointed chairman of the board in 2019.

Mr Robinson joined the IPL Board in 2019 and has been the chairman of the Remuneration Committee, member of the Audit and Risk Management Committee and member of the Nominations Committee.

“I am honoured to be succeeding Brian as Chairman of IPL and I will continue to engage with shareholders and stakeholders in my new role,” Mr Robinson said in a statement to the ASX.

“I am fully committed to working with the Board and our people as we head in to 2024 with continued focus to keep delivering improved results for our customers, shareholders and other stakeholders.”


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