People on the move

People on the move in the grains and cropping sector

Grain Central, October 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 GPSA directors
  • GrainCorp Malt leadership transition
  • NSW Farmers’ Association appoints new CEO
  • Changes at the helm of Cotton Australia
  • GRDC appoints northern agronomy, soils and farming systems manager
  • New CottonInfo officer for Border Rivers
  • SA grain marketer appointments
  • QDAF researcher establishes PulseAg
  • Pengilley rejoins NSW DPI
  • Nuffield’s Geltch receives Rabobank leadership award
  • Darling Downs cotton grower reps
  • RBS new board appointment
  • Inaugural chief environmental biosecurity officer
  • Sydney Uni tops crop comp
  • WA grain science scholarships
  • Cathcart Scholarship applications close tomorrow
  • Murdoch students reap scholarship rewards


New GPSA directors

GRAIN Producers South Australia (GPSA) has appointed two new directors to its Board.

Tanja Morgan

Peter Cousins, Crystal Brook, and Tanja Morgan, Jabuk, were elected to the GPSA Board replacing retiring cirectors Garry Hansen, Coomandook, and Stephen Ball, Riverton.

They have both served on GPSA’s Research Development & Extension sub-committee.

Mr Cousins has been instrumental in advocating on behalf of growers at both the state and national level on the issue of spray drift and was a key player in launching GPSA’s Hit Your Target campaign which encourages growers to take the right steps to minimise the risk of off-target chemical damage.

Along with fellow Mid North-based consultant Mick Faulkner, Mr Cousins was a key figure in getting State Government funding earlier this year to establish a network of weather stations across the region to help growers better monitor conditions when spraying.

Peter Cousins

He is particularly passionate about growers maintaining access to important herbicides which are often used as part of their summer spraying program, such as Group I chemicals.

Ms Morgan farms with her husband Adam as part of a grain, hay and sheep production enterprise.

She also works as a project manager for Mallee Sustainable Farming and has previously been a Trustee with the South Australian Grain Industry Trust.

She feels strongly about the need to continue to advocate for agricultural research, development and extension and is looking forward to contributing to policies which help growers farm profitably and sustainably.


GrainCorp Malt leadership transition

GRAINCORP has announced that chief operations officer of GrainCorp Malt, Darren Smith, will be appointed as president of GrainCorp Malt, following Greg Friberg’s decision to retire at the end of the year.

Mr Friberg will leave GrainCorp after 37 years in agribusiness and some 21 years in the malting industry.

GrainCorp managing director and chief executive officer Mark Palmquist said the consistent strong performance of the Malt business unit over recent years was testament to Mr Friberg’s passionate focus on customers.

Mark Palmquist

“Under Greg’s leadership GrainCorp Malt has established an excellent position and reputation with brewers and distillers. We have built a strong team and have had a sound succession plan in place for some time,” he said.

“It is pleasing to fill such an important role with an outstanding internal candidate. Darren has an extensive background in the malting industry, positive relationships with our customers and a thorough understanding of their needs.”

Mr Smith’s appointment as president of GrainCorp Malt is effective from 1 January 2019.

He will report to Mr Palmquist and join GrainCorp’s Executive Leadership Team.

Mr Friberg will remain as an advisor through to 31 March 2019.


NSW Farmers’ Association appoints new CEO

THE Board of NSW Farmers has appointed Pete Arkle as the Association’s new chief executive officer.

Mr Arkle has spent 12 years with agribusiness Syngenta in sustainable agriculture, corporate and public affairs and has also previously worked in policy roles for the Department of Agriculture and the National Farmers’ Federation.

NSW Farmers president, James Jackson, said the board and staff at NSW Farmers were looking forward to working with Mr Arkle and had no doubt his extensive experience in agriculture had him well placed to lead the team.

Mr Arkle will join NSW Farmers on 12 November.


Changes at the helm of Cotton Australia

THE Cotton Australia Board has announced changes to its representatives on key internal and external committees, following the election of a new chair and board members in August.

Hamish McIntyre

Cotton Australia’s new chairman is Hamish McIntyre, and new deputy chairman is Nigel Burnett.

Representatives on industry committees:

  • Cotton Australia Corporate Governance committee chair – Jeremy Callachor
  • Transgenic and Insect Management Strategies (TIMS) Committee chair – Nigel Burnett
  • TIMS Committee deputy chair – Bernie Bierhoff
  • Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) Council representative – Hamish McIntyre
  • Cotton Breeding Australia (CBA) representatives – Nigel Burnett and Bernie Bierhoff
  • National Farmers Federation (NFF) Council – Hamish McIntyre
  • Cotton Conference committee chair – Fleur Anderson
  • Cotton Conference committee deputy chair – Peter Tuohey
  • Australian Cotton Industry Forum (ACIF) chair – Fleur Anderson
  • ACIF Cotton Australia representative – Hamish McIntyre


GRDC appoints northern agronomy, soils and farming systems manager

JOHN Rochecouste has been appointed as manager agronomy, soils and farming systems with the Grains Research and Development Corporation for the northern region.

The role is parallel to that held by Kaara Klepper, and both positions are based in GRDC’s Toowoomba office.

Dr Rochecouste has a background in agribusiness and farm and rural management, and was previously a senior research development officer with the University of Southern Queensland.


New CottonInfo officer for Border Rivers

COTTONINFO, the Australian cotton industry’s joint extension program, has announced that a new regional extension officer, Andrew McKay, has joined the team.

Mr McKay will provide the latest research outcomes and findings direct to cotton growers, consultants and the wider cotton industry in the Border Rivers region, from his base in St George, southern Queensland.

He brings a strong understanding of cotton and the issues and challenges facing growers to the role, having previously worked as a manager at Vanderfield, Suncorp Group and Kulkine Pastoral Company.

“Andrew brings a passion for agriculture, a knowledge of the cotton industry and existing networks in the St George and wider Border Rivers region to the role of Regional Extension Officer,” said James Quinn, marketing, extension & development lead at Cotton Seed Distributors, one of the three joint partners in the CottonInfo venture.

“Andrew’s role will be to connect growers in the area with relevant industry research and best practice, supporting them to continue to increase their farm productivity.

“On behalf of the CottonInfo joint venture partners, we welcome Andrew to the team. We also thank former Border Rivers regional extension officer, Sally Dickinson, for her work in this role since CottonInfo’s inception.”


SA grain marketer appointments

Tess Walch.

MARKET Check has appointed two commodity advisers, Tess Walch and Bec Roberts, in South Australia to enable it to take over the grain-marketing functions of Free EYRE Limited.

Ms Walch is based in Streaky Bay, and has transferred from Free EYRE, after previously working for Clear Grain Exchange and Market Check in Sydney. Her client base will be growers north and west of Adelaide.

Ms Roberts is based at Bordertown and will look after clients in eastern SA. She previously worked in management for CRT and Agfarm.


QDAF researcher establishes PulseAg

KERRY McKenzie has left his role as an extension and research agronomist with Queensland’s Department of Agriculture and Fisheries to establish PulseAg Consulting.

Kerry McKenzie

The business will initially help to deliver the Grains Research and Development Corporation’s Pulse Check program on the Darling Downs.

PulseAg Consulting will also provide extension and facilitation services, develop whole-farm strategic plans, sustainable rotations and fertiliser programs.


Pengilley rejoins NSW DPI

KEITH Pengilley has rejoined the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) as its leader northern agronomy and crop protection, based in Tamworth.

He is the past chair of GRDC’s southern panel, having served in the position from June 2011 to August this year. He was succeeded by Victorian Wimmera farmer, John Bennett.

Keith Pengilley

Mr Pengilley was previously employed by the NSW DPI as an agricultural researcher at Condobolin before moving to a grain production and marketing role with Tasmanian Agricultural Producers in Tasmania in 2004.

He relocated early this year to NSW to manage Warakirri Cropping’s Willaroo aggregation at Boggabilla before taking up the NSW DPI Tamworth post.


Nuffield’s Geltch receives Rabobank leadership award

THE chief executive officer of Nuffield International, Jim Geltch, has taken out the 2018 Rabobank Leadership Award, recognising the “fundamentally important” role he has played developing upcoming leadership in the Australian and New Zealand food, beverage and agribusiness sectors.

Mr Geltch was appointed inaugural CEO of Nuffield International in 2016 following more than a decade leading the agricultural capacity-building program’s Australian operations.

Jim Geltch

Presenting the awards, Rabobank Australia & New Zealand Group managing director Peter Knoblanche said in his work leading Nuffield, Mr Geltch was making one of the most fundamentally important contributions to leadership in the food and agribusiness sector.

“Jim is one of the great unsung heroes of the sector, whose enormous contribution to agriculture and the food and agribusiness industries is truly deserving of recognition.  Not only is he an extremely accomplished leader in his own right, he has had a huge impact on the sector and done great good by fostering and developing leadership in others,” Mr Knoblanche said.

AACo chief operating officer Anna Speer took out the 2018 Rabobank Emerging Leader award, recognising developing leaders in the sector.


Darling Downs cotton grower reps

THE following office bearers and representatives have been elected to the Darling Downs Cotton Growers Inc:

  • President: Georgie Krieg
  • Vice-president: Adam McVeigh
  • Treasurer: Ross Uebergang
  • Secretary/finance officer: Darcie Sutton


  • Weather stations: Dan Skerman
  • Inland Rail (ARTC): Cowboy Cameron
  • Grey Water Project: Matt McVeigh
  • Cotton Australia Reps: David Walton and Brett Crothers
  • TIMS Committee Rep: Terry Ryan

Management Committee: Mary O’Brien, Stuart Armitage, Cowboy Cameron, Jamie Grant, Ian Walton, Jonathan Mengel, Ian Hayllor, Greg Bender, Chris Barry, Allyse and Matt McVeigh, Geoff McIntyre, Liz Lobsey, Johan Smith, Dan Skerman, Mitch Seis, Derryck Mickelborough, James Traill, Tyson Hosie, Sean Ryan, Annabel Twine.


RBS new board appointment

Rural Business Support (RBS), a not-for-profit organisation providing services to help SA and NT farmers make better business decisions, has appointed Simon Venus to the board.

Simon Venus

Mr Venus is a partner at national law firm Piper Alderman and Head of the firm’s Agribusiness Practice Group.

He has been a director of Agribusiness Australia and an inaugural member of the SA Agribusiness Council.

Mr Venus is currently a member of the Agribusiness Advisory Board at the University of Adelaide as well as a trustee of several charitable organisations.

RBS chair Sharon Starick said Mr Venus’ knowledge of agribusiness, involvement in a range of agriculture-related organisations and working background made him a valuable addition to the board.

Mr Venus will replace Damian Fitzgerald, who has served the maximum term as a board member.


Inaugural chief environmental biosecurity officer

THE Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has appointed Ian Thompson as Australia’s inaugural chief environmental biosecurity officer (CEBO).

The Australian Government announced the establishment of the role within the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on 29 June 2018, which includes an ongoing annual project fund of $825,000.

Department secretary, Daryl Quinlivan, said Mr Thompson had extensive experience and understanding in this area, and held the strong networks and relationships in the environment and natural resources management community required for success.

“The CEBO will be the primary representative and advisor to the Australian Government on all matters relating to Australia’s environmental biosecurity risks,” Mr Quinlivan said.

“Mr Thompson was previously the First Assistant Secretary of the Sustainable Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Division within the department, which included responsibility for the National Landcare Programme, along with community and Indigenous engagement.”


Sydney Uni tops crop comp

THE team from the University of Sydney has won this year’s title at the 2018 Australian Universities Crops Competition (AUCC) held in Temora, New South Wales, outperforming the brightest and best agricultural students from across Australia and the United States.

The university took a clean sweep with all top three individual category winners:

  • 1st place: Annie Rayner
  • 2nd place: Jeremy Prananto
  • 3rd place: Jono Moore

In the team category, the University of Sydney claimed first prize, followed by Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, and in third place Kansas State University, US.

The AUCC is an annual initiative of national grain farmers’ representative body, GrainGrowers.

The competition puts tertiary agricultural students together in the field and tests their knowledge and skills through a mixture of theory and hands-on tests, covering agronomics and farm business management.

It is designed to give the students’ in-field experience but of equal importance, assist in building their networks with peers from across the country and internationally.

The winners from this year’s competition will have the opportunity to compete in the Collegiate Crops Judging Contest in Kansas City and Chicago in mid-November 2018, supported by GrainGrowers.

2018 competing universities: Curtin University, WA; La Trobe University, Vic; University of Sydney, NSW; Charles Sturt University, NSW; University of Western Australia, WA; Kansas State University, US; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), US; University of Minnesota Crookston, US; Iowa State University, US.

GrainGrowers’ CEO David McKeon, 2nd place Jeremy Prananto, 1st place Annie Rayner, 3rd place Jono Moore and GrainGrowers’ chairman John Eastburn.


WA grain science scholarships

TERTIARY students wanting to make their mark on Western Australia’s grains sector have until October 31 to put in their applications for research and development post-graduate scholarships.

WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development grains research and development director Kerry Regan said the scholarships aimed to encourage and support the next generation of grains scientists.

“Through the grains R&D postgraduate development program, scholarships are available for study through a Western Australian-based university,” Ms Regan said.

“These are awarded on the basis of academic excellence, the topic of the proposed research and the likelihood of the applicant’s ongoing involvement with the grains industry.

“Students are required to have linkages to the department through a co-supervisor or a technical research expert.”

Successful recipients will have access to the department’s state-of-the-art grains research facilities and work alongside experienced grains scientists.

Further details and applications:

Last year’s grains research scholarship recipients, Mary-Anne Lowe, Maninder Kaur and Marcia Correa Quieroz de Lima with Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan.


Cathcart Scholarship applications close tomorrow

APPLICATIONS for the 2019 Jan Cathcart Scholarship close tomorrow, Saturday, 13 October, so there’s still just enough time for women involved in the rice industry to nominate.

Now in its fifth year, the scholarship is valued at $10,000 a year for up to three years of tertiary study. To date, it has provided six recipients with numerous opportunities, from financial support, to work experience and employment placements with SunRice, and professional and personal growth.

The scholarship honours the memory of long-term SunRice employee Jan Cathcart, and her 43-year contribution to the rice industry.

Successful applicants are chosen on:

  • commitment to a career in agriculture or agribusiness;
  • involvement in work experience and community service;
  • leadership potential; and
  • academic achievements.

Full details and application form,


Murdoch students reap scholarship rewards

TWO crop and pasture science students from WA’s Murdoch University recently got their hands dirty working in the field with researchers from the WA Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

Second year students Amelia Nolan and Brianna West were recipients of the Department of Jobs, Tourism, Science and Innovation’s 2018 Science and Agribusiness Connect scholarships, which aim to build work readiness in the agriculture sector.

The students have been guided by DPIRD senior research officer Michael Francki about analysing plant material to assist pre-breeding research, which will lead to the development of new and improved wheat varieties.

Dr Francki said the work placement was a wonderful opportunity for the students to enhance their skills and get real world experience.

“They have undertaken activities including collecting, analysing and interpreting data from wheat germplasm, which will make a meaningful contribution to our research projects,” he said.

“Amelia has been working at the department’s Merredin Research Facility, looking at traits that affect the rate of grain fill, as part of a project to identify the genes that can improve crop establishment and resilience.

“Brianna has also been evaluating wheat germplasm for a project to identify resistant genes to the significant fungal disease Stagonospora nodorum blotch at the new and improved Northam Grains Research Facilities and Manjimup Research Facility.”

More information,

Murdoch University students Amelia Nolan and Brianna West have been doing work experience with DPIRD senior research officer Dr Michael Francki, after receiving a 2018 Science and Agribusiness Connect scholarship.



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