News

People on the move in the grains and cropping sector

Grain Central, July 5, 2019

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.

  • CSD extension and development agronomist
  • GrainCorp’s moves at the top
  • CSD shapes young futures
  • AGT soft wheat specialist
  • Northern irrigated agriculture appointment
  • Search for new Ridley chief
  • Precision Ag Lab welcomes new partner
  • Consultants honour industry stalwarts
  • GPSA Board retirement
  • McIntosh Group appoints CEO
  • New grains biosecurity officer for NSW
  • Precision Ag chief appointment
  • Grain representatives step up to leadership challenge
  • Cotton industry award finalists
  • WA appointments bolster RCSN
  • UQ researcher recognised with Agrifood award
  • New leaders for CBH advisory council
  • Inaugural SA emerging leaders announced
  • New NSW rural resilience coordinator

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CSD extension and development agronomist

COTTON Seed Distributors Ltd (CSD) has appointed a new extension and development agronomist, Stewart Brotherton, in a newly created role to service and grow the Central and North Queensland cotton industries.

Stewart Brotherton

From his base in Emerald, Mr Brotherton will manage the Central and North Queensland variety trial and Ambassador Network Programs, and agronomic research and extension activities in the region.

“The appointment of Stewart reflects the changing nature of cotton production in Central Queensland, and CSD’s commitment to growing and supporting the industry,” CSD’s marketing, extension and development lead, James Quinn, said.

“The strong uptake of CSD varieties containing Bollgard 3 technology has seen the Central Queensland cotton industry transition from a six-week planting window to a five-month planting window, significantly increasing the opportunities for dryland cotton in the region.

“The Central Highlands is an established cotton growing region, but we see significant opportunities for expansion of the cotton industry north, east and south of Emerald and into the Burdekin region.”

Mr Brotherton brings a strong background in cotton agronomy, broadacre cropping and grower liaison, having previously worked for North West Seeds in Goondiwindi, and as a senior agronomist and partner at CQ Ag Services in Emerald.

With operations based in Wee Waa, NSW, and Dalby, Qld, CSD now has team of 12 extension and development agronomists servicing the cotton industry from southern NSW, through to northern Queensland, and now into Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

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GrainCorp’s moves at the top

Graham Bradley

IN the lead-up to GrainCorp’s proposed demerger of its malting business into new company MaltCo, GrainCorp has confirmed Graham Bradley will be appointed as MaltCo chairman.

Peter Richards has been appointed as deputy chairman of GrainCorp, and will step into the role of GrainCorp chairman if the demerger proceeds.

GrainCorp is already searching for a replacement for its managing director and chief executive officer, Mark Palmquist, prior to his planned switch into the roles of managing director and chief executive officer of MaltCo.

The search is canvassing external and internal candidates and follows the decision of GrainCorp’s chief operating officer Klaus Pamminger to remain in his role post-demerger.

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CSD shapes young futures

THE next generation of agricultural professionals have kick started their careers at Cotton Seed Distributors (CSD), with six junior staff commencing new roles in the company in the first half of 2019.

“Despite the current drought and social challenges, we foresee a strong future for the Australian cotton industry with new irrigation and dryland areas opening up every season”, said CSD managing director, Peter Graham.

“As Australia’s sole supplier of cotton planting seed, CSD is committed to ensuring the future of our industry, and investing in quality staff is part of our strategy to support and drive the industry forward.

Angus Marshall

“We carefully considered the long term needs of our company and decided that hiring high school and university graduates who display drive and potential, was a smart business decision. We’re also proud to be offering solid career opportunities within our local communities of Narrabri and Wee Waa (in northern NSW).”

Originally from Hay in southern NSW, Angus Marshall has joined CSD’s Extension and Development (E&D) team as a junior agronomist, servicing northern NSW. His role at CSD is to support the extensive agronomic and disease trial program at CSD’s seed production and research facilities, CSD Farms, working closely with the farming team and other more senior E&D agronomists.

A Narrabri local, Mayah Bourke-Tindal joins CSD’s Quality & Research team as a laboratory assistant after gaining experience as a casual lab employee during the 2018 season. Her role will provide valuable support across a range of research projects both within the laboratory and at CSD Farms. In particular, she is focussing on seedling vigour research and germination testing of seed to ensure that it meets the international industry standards.

Lara Schmeide

Jack Kinstler has joined the CSD Farming Team as a junior farming assistant, assisting with the production of seed increase crops and the extensive research trial program at CSD Farms. A Wee Waa local, he comes to CSD after working as an apprentice mechanic for a number of years.

CSD’s Seed Production team have two new apprentices this year, with Dylan Dixon from Wee Waa joining the company as an apprentice fabricator, and Tobin Hill from Narrabri commencing an electrical apprenticeship.

Lara Schmiede from Narrabri is the new ‘face of CSD’, as the receptionist at CSD’s head office, providing support to the administration and finance teams.

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AGT soft wheat specialist

AUSTRALIAN Grain Technologies’ (AGT) has appointed Usman Ijaz as a breeder specialising in soft wheats to meet growing demand from South East Asia’s udon noodle market, and also its biscuit and cake bakeries.

Usman Ijaz

Dr Ijaz has worked as a pumpkin and eggplant breeder in Pakistan, and has completed a PhD on the genetics of rust resistance in faba beans while based at Narrabri, New South Wales.

He is working out of AGT’s Western Field Crop Breeding Centre at Northam, east of Perth in Western Australia.

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Northern irrigated agriculture appointment

IRRIGATED agriculture research in Western Australia’s north has been boosted with the appointment of agricultural scientist, David McNeil, to drive a reinvigorated tropical cropping research program in the region.

Professor McNeil returns to Western Australia, after serving as an agronomist in the Kimberley region in the 1980s, with more than 40 years of experience in farming systems research and new industry development in Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the United States.

He will be based at the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development’s Frank Wise Research Institute, leading a team of experts committed to advancing current research into food and fibre crops, as well as examining opportunities to cultivate new crops in the region.

Professor McNeil will work closely with local growers and industry, while also building collaborations with the public and private sector research community including universities, the Cooperative Research Centre for Developing Northern Australia and the Northern Australia Crop Research Alliance.

He will also continue his work in the region with the department and an international consortium exploring the potential to cultivate plantago, a herbaceous plant from which psyllium is produced for use in supplements and as a replacement for gluten.

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Search for new Ridley chief

RIDLEY Corporation Limited’s chief executive officer and managing director Tim Hart is leaving the company after more than six years in the roles.

David Lord

Ridley non-executive director and chair of the Ridley Remuneration and Nominations Committee David Lord will act as interim chief executive officer until Mr Hart’s replacement is found.

Mr Lord has served as chief executive officer and managing director of Parmalat Australia Ltd, Warrnambool Cheese & Butter Factory Company Ltd, and president and chief operating officer at Saputo Dairy Australia.

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Precision Ag Lab welcomes new partner

AUSTRALIAN Precision Ag Laboratory (APAL) has expanded its knowledge base and geographical footprint with Sam Bald recently joining as equity partner and co-managing director.

The family business is run by co-managing director Ryan Walker and his wife Anna.

The move will see APAL expand its presence across Australia, with the establishment of an office in Melbourne, where Mr Bald is based, adding to its existing offices and labs in Adelaide and Perth.

Mr Bald will focus on business development in the eastern states as well as the technology side of the business, particularly APAL’s signature Farm2Lab app and its APAL Online system for monitoring samples through the analysis process.

An experienced broadacre agronomist, Mr Bald grew up in country WA and has spent much of his career with Landmark, running a profit share in WA before moving to Melbourne where he became the company’s South East crop protection manager and most recently the national digital lead.

APAL co-managing directors Sam Bald and Ryan Walker at the company’s new laboratory in Hindmarsh, SA.

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Consultants honour industry stalwarts

Graham Boulton

CROP Consultants Australia (CCA) has honoured two industry leaders with the induction of new life member, Graham Boulton, and honorary member, Grant Herron.

Mr Boulton, who is a director of Black Earth Consultants on Queensland’s Darling Downs, is one of the founding fathers of CCA.

Mr Herron currently works at the NSW Department of Primary Industries, Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute where he conducts research into plant protection, specialising in insecticide resistance detection and management.

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GPSA Board retirement

ANDREW Goode has retired from his position as an independent director of Grain Producers South Australia (GPSA).

Mr Goode was first appointed to the GPSA Board as an independent member in 2016.

He is a former lawyer, and was previously a partner in the South Australian law firm Mellor Olsson where he practised in a number of areas of law including commercial, property, mining and succession law, as well as litigation.

He was the managing partner of Mellor Olsson for many years, and is also a past president of the Law Society of South Australia.

Nominations have now opened for three ‘member elected director’ positions on the GPSA Board for election as part of GPSA’s 2019 annual general meeting, which is to be held during the Growing SA conference on Monday, 26 August, 2019.

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McIntosh Group appoints CEO

THE McIntosh Group has announced the appointment of David Capper as group chief executive officer of McIntosh & Son and McIntosh Distribution.

Mr Capper has a wealth of agribusiness experience having held executive leadership positions in multiple sectors, including the food processing sector and most recently in supply chain and logistics as general manager of CBH Operations.

McIntosh & Son was established in 1955 and has 10 dealerships across Western Australia and Queensland.

McIntosh Distribution is a national importer and wholesaler of agricultural machinery including Miller, Morris, Integrated Harrington Seed Destructor (iHSD) and LiuGong.

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New grains biosecurity officer for NSW

Bill Gordon

WITH decades of experience working with broadacre farmers, Bill Gordon has been appointed the NSW Department of Primary Industries’ grains biosecurity officer for NSW.

Mr Gordon will be working in the Grains Farm Biosecurity Program which is funded by Grain Producers Australia and managed by Plant Health Australia.

Before joining the program, he worked in crop protection and pesticide application.

He has also delivered projects for the Grains Research and Development Corporation, including workshops for more than 10,000 grain growers across the country.

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Precision Ag chief appointment

PRECISION Agriculture has appointed Todd Buck to the role of chief executive officer, based in Ballarat, Victoria.

Mr Buck has spent most of his career in global agribusiness including over 20 years in Asia, most recently as the Asia Pacific agribusiness lead for global consulting firm Accenture.

“Todd is a highly experienced executive with an exceptional track record in agribusiness and the food industry,” Precision Agriculture executive chairman, Mike Chaseling, said.

In this role, Mr Buck will oversee the implementation and development of the company’s research based, commercial precision agricultural services as it enters a phase of expansion.

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Grain representatives step up to leadership challenge

Annabelle Bushell

ANNABELLE Bushell from Western Australia and Claire McLaren from New South Wales have been selected to represent the grains industry in the upcoming Australian Rural Leadership Program (ARLP) cohort.

Thirty-four people from across rural, regional and remote Australia have been selected to partake in Course 26 of the iconic program.

Early July will see leaders from the grains industry commence their first session of the ARLP in Darwin, before travelling to the Kimberley region in WA for an outdoor experiential component of the program.

Ms Bushell has worked with pastoralists, land managers, researchers and farmers across the science, agriculture and community and industry sectors.

Over the last couple of years she has established the legal entity, Grower Group Alliance Inc. to support WA grower groups to succeed, and collaborate on research and innovations.

She has a Master’s Degree in Food Culture and Communications and completed the AUS Veg Women in Horticulture Leadership and Development Mission in Canada in 2016.

Claire McLaren

Ms McLaren, who grew up on a farm near Wagga Wagga, studied economics at Sydney where she met her husband and later returned to his family farm in Barmedman where they farm Merino sheep, wheat and canola.

She is a member of the local council and is passionate about representing farmers on issues that are important to them.

Australian Rural Leadership Foundation (ARLF) chief executive, Matt Linnegar, said the ARLP was a 15-month leadership program which tookplace across Australia and Vietnam, immersing participants in a series of unique experiences to develop their leadership capabilities.

“Our generous partners provide a $55,000 scholarship for each participant to undertake the program,” he said.

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Cotton industry award finalists

THE finalists for the 2019 Australian Cotton Industry Awards have been announced with the winner for each category to be announced at a gala event in Griffith, southern NSW, on July 24, 2019.

The awards recognise the industry’s best and brightest and includes growers, researchers and industry members from across the country.

Cotton Australia chief executive officer Adam Kay said each finalist had been recognised for the significant contribution they had made to a wide range of areas, including best practice farming, research and development, innovation and industry advocacy.

The finalists include:

Bayer Grower of the Year:

  • Tim Leifels and Kate Ledingham, Alice Downs Farms, “Alice Downs”, Moree, NSW
  • Tom and Charm Arnott, Fairfield Farming Co, “Fairfield” and “Tambalaka”, Boggabilla NSW
  • Ben and Kim Witham, Mundoora Farming, “Mundoora”, Coleambally, NSW

AgriRisk High Achiever of the Year:

  • James Traill and Ashley Tunks, One Tree Agriculture – Jandowae Aggregation, “Arrawatta”, Warra, Qld
  • Craig and Clint Charters, Gabo Pastoral Co, “Gabo” and “Craiglea”, ” Quirindi, NSW
  • Stu and Fran Crawford, Crawford Ag, “Quondong” Narromine, NSW

ADAMA Chris Lehmann Trust Young Cotton Achiever of the Year:

  • Nick Beer, “Merrilong”, Spring Ridge, NSW
  • Billy Browning, “Narramine Station”, Narromine, NSW
  • Murray Connor, Australian Food & Fibre – Moree, NSW

Cotton Seed Distributors Researcher of the Year:

  • Dr Jamie Hopkinson – Qld Dept Agriculture & Fisheries, Toowoomba, Qld
  • Kieran O’Keeffe – CottonInfo, Griffith, NSW
  • Dr Linda Smith – QLD Dept Agriculture & Fisheries, Brisbane, Qld

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WA appointments bolster RCSN

THE Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) has announced new grain grower appointments to its western Regional Cropping Solutions Network (RCSN) groups.

Nine growers from across the Western Australian grainbelt have been appointed to the GRDC’s five western region RCSN groups

Western region GRDC RCSN coordinator Julianne Hill said the groups helped to prioritise research ideas, gave feedback to GRDC staff and Western Region Panel members and provided guidance when GRDC projects were developed from issues prioritised by the RCSN groups.

New RCSN grower representatives include:

Albany zone: Jarrod King, Gairdner; Kelly James, Hyden

Esperance zone: John Sanderson, Grass Patch

Geraldton zone: Daniel Birch, Coorow; Marcus Blake, Mingenew; Shaun Earl, Yuna

Kwinana East zone: Luke Yates, Trayning; Stuart Faulkner, Beacon

Kwinana West zone: Norm Jenzen, Cunderdin

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UQ researcher recognised with Agrifood award

Lee Hickey

UNIVERSITY of Queensland researcher, Lee Hickey, has been presented with ICM Agrifood Award organised by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering.

Dr Hickey leads a research team at the Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation that focuses on plant breeding and genetics research into Australia’s most important cereal crops, wheat and barley.

He has played a key role in applying technology that enables up to six generations per year for major crops like wheat, barley and chickpea.

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New leaders for CBH advisory council

SEVEN new growers have been appointed to CBH Group’s Growers’ Advisory Council (GAC) to fill open positions on the 16-member council.

The following growers were appointed:

District Two: Michael Caughey, Merredin; Stephanie Clarke, Bolgart

District Three: Craig Doney, Kulin

District Four: Gerard Paganoni, Broomehill; Jeffrey Stoney, Gnowellen

District Five: Daniel Sanderson, Esperance; Andrew Chambers, Ravensthorpe

No appointments were made in District One due to the minimum number of candidates had been met.

Following a review of the GAC Charter last year, a councillor’s term is now a single period of four years.

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Inaugural SA emerging leaders announced

GRAIN Producers South Australia (GPSA) has announced the first intake for the newly established Emerging Leaders Program.

Eight of the grain industry’s rising stars are set to boost their leadership skills as part of the program, which is modelled on the highly successful SAFF Future Leaders program.

GPSA will provide opportunities for the participants to develop professional skills and networks, while gaining experience in advocacy through engaging in policy forums and consultation with GPSA members.

The program initiates structured pathways for future leadership development and offers access to a range of industry leaders and partner organisations working with GPSA to deliver its mandate to be the voice of South Australian grain growers.

Selection for the program was based on a competitive application process overseen by the GPSA Board.

The inaugural ELP cohort is:

  • Rebakah Starick, Punthari
  • Natalie Sommerville, Spalding
  • Luke Stoeckel, Renmark
  • James Heaslip, Appila
  • Dion Woolford, Kimba
  • Chris Moloney, Arthurton
  • Chad Nickolls, Pinnaroo
  • Andrew Lehmann, Unley

Participants will learn more about advocacy, effective communication, industry networking, research and innovation and the political landscape.

They will also gain a global perspective of agricultural leadership with an international study tour to the United States and Canada which will focus on international trade, advocacy in the US farm sector, biotechnology and other emerging technologies.

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New NSW rural resilience coordinator

David Bone

THE NSW Department of Primary Industry (DPI) Rural Resilience Program has appointed a new coordinator, David Bone, to guide the program’s initiatives which focus on growing personal and business resilience in regional communities across NSW.

Following an early role in communications with the then Department of Agriculture in Dubbo, Mr Bone has worked in regional ABC radio stations, the University of New England and as a drought relief coordinator with NSW Health.

“I believe my background both in counselling and in communications creates a good fit in the Rural Resilience Program goal of enabling people to move forward in a positive direction, and I look forward to both the challenges and the wins I will experience,” he said.

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