People on the move

People on the move in the grains and cropping sector

Grain Central, April 12, 2018

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

  • New CEO for GPSA
  • Rabobank appoints Jillian Segal to boards
  • Austrex commodities appointment
  • Innovation award for precision tyne planter
  • Aussie AgTech trio take AgFunder awards
  • Mallee stalwart wins award
  • Nuffield Scholarship applications open


New CEO for GPSA

THE Board of Grain Producers SA (GPSA) has appointed grain industry specialist Caroline Rhodes as its new chief executive officer.

Caroline Rhodes

Ms Rhodes has a long history in the agribusiness industry having previously held senior roles in both the corporate and government sectors and with state and federal farmer representative bodies in Australia.

She holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science from the University of Adelaide, a Master of Agribusiness from the University of Melbourne and a Diploma from the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is also a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program.

Ms Rhodes has also served on a number of boards in South Australia including the SA Grain Industry Trust, Rural Business Support, Foodbank SA and the SA Cricket Association.

GPSA chair Wade Dabinett said Ms Rhodes’ skills and previous experiences made her an excellent fit to take GPSA into the future.

“She brings a host of skills in advocacy, board governance, policy and agribusiness and her expertise and leadership will contribute significantly to the future of GPSA,” he said.

“There are a number of important issues facing the grains industry and the members will form part of our strategy development over the next 12 months. It has been a busy period in the lead‐up to the State election and we are ready to work with the new Minister for Primary Industries.”


Rabobank appoints Jillian Segal to boards

RABOBANK Australia & New Zealand Group has announced the appointment of Jillian Segal AM to its boards.

Jillian Segal

Ms Segal, a company director with extensive regulatory and legal experience, joins the boards of the bank’s major operating entities – Rabobank Australia Limited, Rabo Australia Limited and Rabobank New Zealand Limited.

Announcing the appointment, Rabobank’s Australian & New Zealand chairman Sir Henry van der Heyden said Ms Segal’s extensive board experience across the private and public sectors, including in financial services – coupled with a career-long background in governance and law – made her an “ideal fit” for Rabobank’s Australian and New Zealand boards.

“She is one of Australia’s most accomplished and highly-regarded directors, and sought-after for her expertise in business, governance, banking, financial regulation and education. We are very pleased Jillian will now bring this expertise to Rabobank, as the bank further grows and develops in Australia and New Zealand’s burgeoning agricultural sector.”

Ms Segal previously served as a commissioner and later deputy chair at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission and as a director of ASX Limited and National Australia Bank Limited, as well as board chair of the Australian Banking Industry Ombudsman, among a number of other board positions.

She currently holds a number of non-executive positions, including deputy chancellor of UNSW Australia, chair of the General Sir John Monash Foundation and the Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce (NSW), directorships with the Garvan Institute of Medical Research and the Grattan Institute and Trustee of the Sydney Opera House Trust.

Ms Segal takes the seat on the Australian and New Zealand Rabobank boards left vacant by retiring former Rabobank Australian chairman Bill Gurry.


Charlie Brown

Austrex commodities appointment

FORMER AWB pool manager with Cargill, Charlie Brown, has been appointed by long-time livestock exporter Austrex to set up an agri-commodities division of Australian Rural Exports Pty Ltd.

Melbourne-based Mr Brown has taken the position of general manager Agri-Commodities.

He will add his skill set to Austrex’s livestock knowledge base and focus for the moment on cattle feed markets including such inputs as hay, processed feed, by-products and some feed grains.


Innovation award for precision tyne planter

GROUND Breaker Precision Agriculture has been awarded the prestigious Piper Prize for Innovation, a $75,000 prize granted by the Council of Grain Grower Organisations Ltd (COGGO), for their unique precision tyne planter.

Western Australian grower, Brad Jones, Ground Breaker CEO, Andrew Farquharson, and COGGO board member and chairman, Rhys Turton.

“The planter uses a patented row unit rather than a traditional double disc opener that you see on most seeding bars and uses the world’s leading precision technology,” Ground Breaker CEO, Andrew Farquharson said.

The Precision Planting System was originally designed for planting summer grain crops in Queensland and after extensive research has been modified to solve the growing issues associated with planting canola in Western Australia, which is WA’s most popular break crop.

“We are going to use the prize money for further research and development during this year’s winter plant starting in April, on location at Bungulla Farming, WA. We will be trialling Precision Planting, Ag Leader and Monosem precision technology and recording data throughout the season,” Mr Farquharson said.


Aussie AgTech trio take AgFunder awards

THREE Australian AgTech companies – The Yield, SmartShepherd, and AgriDigital – have triumphed at the global AgFunder Innovation Awards in San Francisco, each winning their respective categories in awards across Farm Tech and Supply Chain Tech.

The Yield founder Ros Harvey with AgriDigital chief executive officer Emma Weston at the AgFunder awards.

The Yield was named Most Innovative International Startup Series A and Beyond in the Farm Tech category, SmartShepherd was awarded Most Innovative International Startup Pre-Series A in the Farm Tech category, and AgriDigital won the Most Innovative International Startup Series A and Beyond in the Supply Chain Tech category.

SmartShepherd is an Armidale, NSW, based startup providing wearable livestock technology for sheep breeding data and analytics; The Yield is a fast-growing Australian company using Internet of Things (IoT), data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to power its agriculture sensing and predictions technology; and AgriDigital is applying blockchain technology to its supply chain management and traceability software.

SmartShepherd founders David Rubie and Glenn Vassallo.

Jessica Sealby has recently been appointed the communications manager for The Yield.




Mallee stalwart wins award

ONE of the founding fathers of Mallee Sustainable Farming has been recognised for his lifelong contribution to sustainable agriculture in the Mallee with South Australian farmer, Allen Buckley,  Waikerie, the 2018 recipient of the David Roget MSF award for excellence.

Allen Buckley and Ian Hastings.

MSF chairman Ian Hastings said Mr Buckley had been actively involved with Mallee Sustainable Farming since the organisation started, opening the gates of his property for trials, demonstrations and field days – a practice he continues to this day.

“One of the things I know about Allen is never say to him “that can’t be done” because that approach only motivates him to give it a go and often prove doubters wrong. And he is more than willing to share the things he learns, both the successes and the failures,” he said.

Mr Hastings said Mr Buckley had championed the cause of developing and promoting improved management practices for Mallee farmers.

“The integration of livestock into the cropping system has been just one area where Allen has led the way and continues to investigate the practical application of technology not just for his own farm, but also how new methods might benefit growers across the district.”


Nuffield Scholarship applications open

A new campaign to unearth the best and brightest talent in Australian agriculture has today been launched by Nuffield Australia, aimed at encouraging primary producers from around the nation to put their name forward for a 2019 Nuffield Scholarship.

‘Produce Change’ is designed to get Australia’s agricultural community excited about the Nuffield Scholarship program, and to encourage 28 – 45 year old farmers and farm managers to apply for the unique experience. The application period runs from 4 April to 15 June 2018.

Nuffield Australia CEO Jodie Dean said the theme ‘Produce Change’ was inspired and encouraged by both the successes of existing Scholars and the next wave of farmers, who are redefining agriculture in an age of unprecedented technological advances and globalisation.


Jodie Dean

“Producing change goes straight to the heart of what we do at Nuffield. Nuffield Scholars research and deliver practical change that adds real value to farm businesses and the Australian community more broadly,” Ms Dean said.

“Our scholarships push farmers to take the next leap in their career, whether that be an end goal of farm expansion, diversification or professional development – the scholarships are a key to unlock change. This year, there are up to 25 scholarships on offer, each valued at $30,000.

“Each scholarship runs for 18 months and enables farmers to travel overseas for 16 weeks, to discover and learn from some of the best operators in the business, who are making a meaningful impact on their industry, and to share those learnings back home.

“Whether they farm chickpeas or tuna, a Nuffield Scholarship is a springboard for all young farmers, equipping them with the experience and knowledge to effect positive change in Australian agriculture.”

For more information, or to apply, visit:


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