Northern Australia Food Futures Conference

Monday, 3 November 2014 to Wednesday, 5 November 2014 from 6:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Darwin Convention Centre, Darwin, Australia



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Organisation: NT Farmers Association

Position: Chief Executive Officer

NT Farmers, the peak body for the Plant Industry in the NT has membership extending beyond the borders of the NT, into NSW, Qld and WA. Grant is responsible for representing the organisation across industry, government and community in the NT, nationally and internationally. Responsible for strategic development, governance and financial management of the organisation, I lead a small team of skilled people who work across a range of commodity groups in Northern Australia.

Grant is currently driving the organisation's development of Advocacy Positions in the area of;
- Water Resource Management - Land Resource Management - Hydraulic Fracturing - Asian Workforce Development – Northern Australia Agriculture Development
Grant’s role also involves extensive liaison with potential investors from a national setting as well as potential investors from Asia (in particular China and Vietnam).


Organisation: Northern Territory Government

Position: Chief Minister of the Northern Territory

Adam Giles was born in the Blue Mountains, New South Wales, and began his working life in a bakery at the age of 12.
After high school he studied accounting and then real estate, working in property management before moving into public housing management for the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Commission.
Mr Giles moved to Canberra to work as a social and economic policy adviser for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
As a member of the Northern Territory’s Indigenous Economic Taskforce, Mr Giles travelled and worked throughout the Territory before settling in Alice Springs.
It was after working for the Department of Employment and Workplace relations that Adam became frustrated with welfare policy for Indigenous people and decided to run for the Federal seat of Lingiari with the Country Liberal Party in 2007.
He lost but stood in the Territory election the following year and won the Alice Springs seat of Braitling.
Mr Giles was sworn in as a Minister in September 2012 and was sworn in as Chief Minister of the Northern Territory on March 14, 2013.
He lives in Alice Springs with his wife Tamara and daughter Tahlia.

Chief Minister Adam Giles holds the portfolios of:

  • Minister for Tourism
  • Minister for Northern and Central Australia
  • Minister for Economic Development and Major Projects
  • Minister for Indigenous Affairs
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Organisation: Australian Government

Position: Minister for Agriculture

The Hon. Barnaby Joyce is the Minister for Agriculture, Deputy Leader of the Nationals, and Member for New England.
Barnaby is one of a family of eight from a cattle and sheep business in southern New England. Prior to entering politics he spent 18 years in accountancy, including 10 years running his own accounting firm, Barnaby Joyce & Co, in St George, Queensland. Barnaby was first elected to the Senate in 2004 to represent Queensland, before contesting and wining the seat of New England, New South Wales, at the 2013 federal election and moving to the House of Representatives.
Barnaby is passionate about Australian agriculture with a deep sense of its place in Australia’s history and a strong commitment to its future in this country. As Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby’s top priorities include improving farmgate returns, expanding overseas market access, enhancing agricultural productivity, protecting Australia’s world class biosecurity arrangements and supporting the family owned farm.
Developing Northern Australia is critical to the Coalition’s vision for Australian agriculture. As global demand for food grows, Northern Australia offers significant opportunities to meet a share of this projected demand.
The Coalition Government’s White Paper on Developing Northern Australia, Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and Ministerial Working Group on Water Infrastructure (which Barnaby chairs) are just some of the Coalition Government’s current initiatives that will outline the Government’s long term policy vision to realise Northern Australia’s full potential.
Barnaby lives just outside Tamworth, New South Wales, with his wife Natalie and their four daughters. 


Organisation: Government of Western Australia

Position: Minister for Agriculture and Food; Fisheries

Ken Baston joined the Western Australian Cabinet as the Minister for Agriculture and Food in 2013, after eight years in the WA Legislative Council. He took on the portfolio with first-hand experience, having been raised on a sheep station north-west of Carnarvon. Minister Baston took on the Fisheries portfolio in late 2013.

After boarding school in Perth and with farming ingrained in his DNA, he was soon back running the Ella Valla sheep station on a pastoral lease 90 kilometres south of Carnarvon. He owned and managed the property for 34 years, successfully exporting meat and wool.

Minister Baston served on local council and agricultural organisations, including as Deputy President of the Shire of Carnarvon. He served on a range of steering committees and taskforce groups dealing with agriculture, pastoral and fishing issues, including the Pastoralists and Graziers Association Gascoyne Branch as Chair and a WA Farmers Federation district committee.

Representing the Mining and Pastoral Region, Minister Baston has been involved in major improvements to the area, including the Ord-East Kimberley Expansion. 

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Organisation: Queensland Parliament

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Organisation: Northern Territory Government

Position: Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Primary Industry and Fisheries

Willem Westra van Holthe has represented the electorate of Katherine in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly since the 2008 election.

In February 2015, Willem was made Deputy Chief Minister of the Northern Territory.
He also holds the portfolios of:

  • Primary Industry and Fisheries
  • Land Resource Management
  • Public Employment
  • and Essential Services

Willem grew up in Brisbane with his Dutch father and Australian mother.

He moved to the Territory in 1984, working as a Police Officer based at Maranboy then later as the Police Officer in Charge at Mataranka.

Willem was then based in Alice Springs for eight years, which included five years in Norforce, before he transferred back to Katherine.

He also started up a small business and became involved in the Katherine Region Tourist Association, promoting Katherine as a tourist destination.

Working as a Police Officer, owning a business and being on Katherine's peak
Tourism body has given Willem exposure to a wide range of issues that affect

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Organisation: Western Australia Government

Position: Minister for Regional Development, WA

Terry Redman first entered State Parliament in February 2005 after successfully contesting the seat of Stirling. After a series of boundary re-alignments he now represents the electorate of Warren-Blackwood, which includes the towns of Denmark, Manjimup, Margaret River and Donnybrook. Late last year Terry was appointed Leader of the Western Australia National Party.
Since entering Parliament, Terry has built a solid reputation as a staunch defender of regional interests. Following the election of the Liberal-National government in 2008 Terry was appointed as the Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry and Minister Assisting the Minister for Education. Since then he has also held the portfolios of Corrective Services, Housing, Training and Workforce Development and Water. Terry currently holds the Regional Development; Lands and Minister Assisting the Minister for State Development portfolios.


Organisation: Parliament of Australia

Position: Shadow Minister for Resources, Northern Australia and Special Minister of State

Gary arrived in Australia from Yorkshire, England in 1966 and settled with his family in state housing in Whyalla, South Australia.

Gary got his first job after high school in the local BHP steelworks. In 1981, he graduated from the Australian National University, Canberra with a degree in economics.

In 1983 Gary moved to Kwinana, Western Australia to study education at the University of Western Australia.

He began working for the Labor Party in the Northern Territory and then in the United Kingdom. From 1986 to 1992 Gary worked on every state and federal election.

In 1993 Gary was elected as National Secretary of the ALP holding this office until 2000 when he relocated back to Perth with his wife, Deborah and three boys.

On returning to Perth in 2000 Gary was asked by the Chairman of Wesfarmers, to work as the Executive Director of the West Australian Institute for Medical Research.

In 2001 Shell attempted to take over Woodside Energy, Australia’s biggest independent oil and gas company, which has its head office in Perth. Gary was engaged by Woodside as an Adviser in the campaign to keep the company in Australian hands – which succeeded.

Gary was then asked to join the company, becoming the Director of Corporate Affairs and a member of the company executive team. In this position Gary represented Woodside before governments on four continents as a negotiator, advocate and leader. Gary left this exciting position in 2007 to commit full-time to the community of Brand.

Gary’s contribution to Australia’s democratic process was recognized in 2003 when he was invited to accept the high civil award of Officer in the Order of Australia (AO) and an Australia Medal.

In 2007, Gary was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Development and Northern Australia in the Labor Government. In 2009, he was appointed Parliamentary Secretary for Western and Northern Australia.

At the 2010 Federal election Gary was re-elected as the Federal Member for Brand and later appointed Special Minister of State & Minister for the Public Service and Integrity.

In March 2013, Gary joined Cabinet and took on the new roles of Minister for Resources and Energy, Minister for Tourism and Minister for Small Business.

Currently, Mr Gray is the Shadow Minister for Resources, Northern Australia and Special Minister of State.

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A farmer in Brazil, he runs a 4-generation family based business, being the CEO for almost 20 years of the business and farms of up to 35.000 hectares. Traditionally a beef cattle farm, In 1996 started the agriculture process, ending up with over 10.000 hectares of professional agriculture, with at least 2 crops a year, mainly soy beans then maize.

Originally a biologist with a degree in genetics at Rio de Janeiro Federal University (UFRJ), Rodolfo got a Master's in Veterinary Medicine, at University of Saskatchewan, Canada (1992-1994). He also has a few MBA's in economics and management.

Rodolfo had a valuable experience in the local government (2004-2008), being the Secretary of Agribusiness, Industry, Commerce, Tourism, Science and Technology of our capital of Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), where he was also President of the Development Agency for 2 years. He has been very involved with farmer's associations, which led him to be elected, among other relevant positions, to be the President of the Rural Sindicate of our capital Campo Grande, MS, which represents all the farmers, ranchers, producers of the region. He is currently the vice-president.

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Organisation: Managing Director

Position: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation

Mr Burns is currently the Managing Director of Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. Mr Burns is an economist with extensive experience and expertise. He was formerly employed with the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry as Executive Manager, Trade and Market Access Division. Before that he was the General Manager, Trade Policy within the Department’s International Division and was Chair of the OECD Joint Working Party on Agriculture and Trade from 2004 to 2006. Mr Burns also held the position of Minister-Counsellor (Agriculture) at the Australian Delegation to the OECD in Paris where he represented Australia’s agricultural trade interests in the OECD and in a range of international agencies in Paris and London. He has been Chairman of the International Grains Council and Vice-Chair of the OECD Committee for Agriculture.

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Organisation: Olam Australia

Position: Executive Director & Country Head

Mr Bob Dall’Alba is the Executive Director and Country Head of Olam Australia. Bob has worked in Agribusiness for over 40 years, including 25 years with Queensland Cotton, a subsidiary of Olam. Today, Olam Australia operates an integrated supply chain for six key products: cotton, almonds, pulses, grains, wool and dairy, delivering these to over 500 customers worldwide. Bob is currently a Director of Cotton Australia.


Organisation: National Farmers' Federation

Position: President

Brent Finlay has more than 25 years experience in agriculture through his family’s farming business in Queensland. Brent has worked extensively in sheep, wool, cattle, grain and hay production, and now runs ‘Cooinda,’ a sheepmeat, wool and beef property in the Traprock region of south east Queensland, with his three daughters.

Brent’s roles in agricultural representation began in 2000, when he was elected President of the Traprock Wool Association, one of Australia’s premier wool producing groups. During this time, the focus was on marketing, environmental issues and membership growth – issues that remain as relevant for Australian agriculture as a whole today, as they were for Queensland woolgrowers then.

From 2003-2007, Brent ran a manufacturing, importing and retailing business, Wool-Overs, and was elected to the AgForce Queensland Sheep and Wool Board in October 2006. In 2007, Brent was appointed to the board of WoolProducers Australia, and in 2008, was elected Senior Vice President. He was also elected as President of the AgForce Sheep and Wool Board, Chair of the National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group, and in 2009, Chair of the Queensland Dog Offensive Group.

In 2010, Brent was elected President of AgForce Queensland, a position he held for two terms before stepping down in 2012 for family reasons. Brent was at the head of the organisation during a challenging period for Queensland farmers and graziers – floods, cyclones, wild dogs and the live export crisis were some of the many issues Brent tackled.

While President of AgForce, Brent was appointed to the Board of the National Farmers’ Federation (NFF), and in April 2013, Brent became NFF’s Vice President. Brent was elected as NFF President at the NFF AGM on 18 November 2013, and re-elected as the NFF President at the NFF AGM on 18 November 2014. 

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A graduate of Queensland Agricultural College, Robert has been a farmer in the Ord Valley for over 20 years, growing a diversity of crops including melons and pumpkins, sweet corn, chickpea, hybrid seed, sugarcane and Chia. He has a development and equity position in a number of associated businesses including nurseries, forestry management services, produce marketing and irrigation & pastoral and business development. His passion is the empowerment of people in regional areas to facilitate world-class business development.

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Organisation: Garuda Foods International

Position: CEO

Hartono Atmadja was born in Semarang, Central Java, studied there until finishing his Senior high school and continuing his bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering at Institut Teknologi Bandung, a leading university in Indonesia. After 3 years working experiences, he continued to study Accounting Management for his master degree at University of Indonesia, Jakarta.

Hartono Atmadja started his career in Chemical industry in product management career and continue his expertise in Food and Beverage industry when he joined GarudaFood starting 1998. He went through various career at GarudaFood until August 2012, he was appointed to become the Group CEO of Tudung Group who majority owned GarudaFood. Tudung’s turnover will exceed USD 650 million this year with around 93% of its turnover still in Food and Beverage business. GarudaFood is considered 5th largest local F&B manufacturer in Indonesia and was voted as 2nd best Indonesia Most Admired Company in Food & Beverage sector in 2014.

Hartono Atmadja continues to develop his professional expertise in Operations management disciplines in Food and Beverage sectors as well as in developing Corporate culture based on Mindful Leadership disciplines with a strong concept on Spirituality@Work inside Tudung Group. He has initiated a project together with ACIAR in Developing Small Holders in Peanut Farming in Indonesia back in 2008-2009. He also concerns on improving the agriculture productivity in Indonesia, especially in Peanut farming and Palm Oil plantation areas.

Looking at a huge India market opportunity, in 2012 Hartono have a courage to initiate a food business operations in India by setting up a joint venture company, named Garuda Polyflex Foods Ltd in Bangalore.

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Organisation: WA Department of Agriculture and Food

Terry Hill is currently the Executive Director for Irrigated Agriculture and Diversification at the WA Department of Agriculture and Food. This role includes the Department’s food and horticulture investments. He has extensive experience with the fresh food industry Nationally and Internationally.

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Eoin Wallis was Chief Executive Officer of BSES Limited-the principal provider of research, development and extension to the Australian Sugar Industry for 12 years until July 2012.

He was previously Executive Director of the Sugar Research and Development Corporation for 10 years.

Eoin's career includes work at the University of Queensland in crop agronomy of food legumes and oilseeds as Research Program Coordinator for the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

He began his career as an agronomist with the then Northern Territory Administration in Darwin.

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Organisation: Kimberley Agricultural Investment

Position: General Manager

Previous work history has been focused on involvement in agribusiness sector including ; beef cattle, sugar agronomy, managing a fruit and vegetable wholesale business, bank manager until commencing work with KAI. Jim has spent most of his working career based in the Kimberley region. Completed a Bachelor of Science (Agriculture) and hold a MBA.


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Organisation: Auscott Limited

Position: Chairman

David holds a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (Syd) Hons.1 and has worked in irrigated cotton, grains and oil-seed production for 38 years. He is the Chairman of Auscott Limited, a vertically integrated corporate cotton company which grows, processes, markets and ships cotton from its substantial farming and ginning operations and its many grower customers in northern, central and southern NSW. Auscott was a pioneering corporate farming company which commenced business in 1963 in the Namoi Valley.

He has held a range of senior cotton industry positions and directorships in addition to his key agronomy, management and CEO roles within Auscott. These industry positions have covered significant input into research & development including Chair of a cotton based CRC, water and irrigation, planting seed production and oil-seed processing.

David is the Chair of the Australian Farm Institute and also Career Harvests and is a director on the Plant Biosecurity CRC. He is also a council member of the NSW Primary Industries Ministerial Advisory Council and chairs that Council’s Biosecurity & Resources Working Group.


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Organisation: TPI Enterprises Ltd

Position: CEO and Executive Director

Jarrod Ritchie has twenty years in the opiates industry. He is the founder and CEO of TPI Enterprises Ltd (TPI) and has managed TPI from its inception as a start-up to its current position as the only Australian-owned poppy processor, one of only nine manufacturers in the world.

In addition to successfully investing over $95 million in Tasmania as part of TPI´s creation and expansion, Jarrod has spearheaded new Research and Development projects in the opiates industry. These projects include TPI’s world first, water-based, environmentally-friendly extraction process that makes it the most cost effective manufacturer in the world; and the successful trialing of a perennial Thebaine-rich variety of poppy, as yet unseen for commercial crops.

The establishment of TPI is a task Ritchie has undertaken against heavyweight competition. There are currently two other global pharmaceutical companies operating in Australia but both are foreign owned. TPI is well placed to take advantage of the strong global demand for narcotic raw material extracted from opium poppies and is excited to lead the industry through the expansion of Australian growing.

TPI is expanding its supply chain in both Victoria and the NT with the recent passing of legislation and continues to invest as it expands into Europe by establishing an operational base in Portugal. This will enable the Company to realize its vision for the future “From the Farm to the Pharmacy”. 

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Organisation: Bothkamp Australia Pty Ltd

Position: Joint Managing Director

After completing a Doctor’s degree in Agriculture in Germany in 1983, Gabi Bloecker immigrated to Kununurra in the Ord River Irrigation Area. Together with her husband, she developed Bothkamp Australia, a group of companies which is involved in farming and real estate. The farms grow all types of melons and pumpkins and a wide range of broad acre crops. Gabi Bloecker has over 30 years of successful experience in the areas of commercial and land acquisitions, development, logistics, marketing and distribution. She is on the board of several associated companies and Chair of the Ord River District Co-operative since 2006.

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Organisation: Peanut Company of Australia (PCA)

Position: CEO

John is currently the CEO of the Peanut Company of Australia (PCA) a role he has held since November 2012. John commenced with PCA in September 2009 and has held the roles of Director – Supply and Operations and Chief Operating Officer.

Prior to PCA John spent 9 years working in the FMCG sector for Golden Circle (10 months as General Manager – Procurement and member of the Executive Management Team) and 8 years in various roles with Mars Inc culminating as Commercial Director of the Mars Food Australia business and being a member of their Executive Management Team.

Agribusiness as always been at the centre of John’s experiences with his time prior to the FMCG being spent within the grain trading industry (10 years in roles varying from trading, supply chain, logistics’ and QA) and livestock industries (running his family’s farm and working for Elders Pastoral).

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Organisation: CSIRO

Position: Principal Research Agronomist

Stephen Yeates has 33 years professional experience, including five years private industry research and development, and 22 years working with tropical crop agronomy and researching farming systems in tropical Australia and central Africa.

Since 2009 he has evaluated the adaption of cotton and grain crops in sugar farming systems in north Queensland.

Between 2004 and 2009, he was located at the Australian Cotton Research Institute at Narrabri, in western New South Wales where he lead cotton water research into: optimum irrigation and water requirement of high retention (BT) cotton, physiology of high retention (BT) cotton.

Between 1986 and 2004, he researched grain farming systems (dryland) and sustainable irrigated cotton production in the Kimberly and NT. 

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Organisation: Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)

Position: Panellist and Chair

James Clark lives in the NSW Hunter Valley and brings to the panel his extensive experience in both dryland and irrigated farming in the North Star area of northern NSW. James is a longstanding member of the northern panel, serving as a panellist since 2005 and chair since 2008. He says the role of the panel is to capture growers’ priorities, realise them into a pipeline of investments and empower growers to take up production gain opportunities as they arise. He believes strongly that the grains industry needs to continue to build future RD&E capacity and capability to service its needs going forward and ensure growers remain as competitive as possible.


Organisation: Swiss Farms

Peter is a successful primary producer from Lakeland, a regional farming town in Far North Queensland. Born in Switzerland, Peter’s family migrated to New Zealand when he was 5 years old where they established a successful dairy farm. In the early 70’s Peter’s family purchased a dairy farm in Australia on the Atherton Tablelands and moved there soon after. Recognising the increasing demand in other crops, Peter’s interests quickly expanded to broad acre farming and he began leasing land on the Tablelands. He went in search of land of his own in the 1980’s and was drawn to the red soil and picturesque surrounds of Lakeland.
Lakeland’s warm climate and rich volcanic soils are the basis of his success allowing him to grow a wide variety of crops with the changing industry and demand. Twenty years ago Peter planted his first 2Ha block of bananas which through the years has grown to 320Ha. The farm now boasts two state-of-the-art packing facilities and the only cable-way harvesting system of its kind currently in Australia.
Peter is extremely passionate about sustainable farming and has a keen interest in all forms of recycling. After visiting a fertilising factory in China he was shocked at the process of manufacturing soluble fertilisers and realised the application of chemical fertiliser was in no way sustainable. As a result of this he began experimenting with compost application and has reduced the use of chemical fertilisers by 60% achieving higher yields and improved fruit quality. 

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Organisation: IFED

Position: Director/Founder

David is a Chartered Accountant with over 30 years of broad business experience including; corporate finance, corporate governance, business strategy development and execution, information systems and business development. David commenced his career in 1979 with the audit team of what is now KPMG Brisbane where he specialized in the field of computer audit. In 1994 he established the technology advisory division of BDO one of Queensland’s largest accounting firms. David retired as a Partner from BDO in 2001.

Since 2004 David has been a Director of Brisbane based firm InterFinancial Corporate Finance Limited where he focuses on originating and executing complex transactions and capital solutions in the food and agribusiness sector. David has developed strong relationships over a number of years with key industry participants, industry bodies and the domestic and international capital markets. In 2012 David co-founded Integrated Food and Energy Developments Pty Ltd (IFED) which is the proponent for a large scale, vertically integrated, greenfield agribusiness development project in the Gilbert River region of North Queensland.

David is an experienced Non-executive company Director and has held several private company Directorships and advisory Board positions. David has a Master of Commerce (Information Systems) from the University of Queensland and a Bachelor of Business from Queensland University of Technology. He is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia.



Organisation: CSIRO

Position: Research Director

Peter Stone is a Research Program Director at CSIRO, and leads CSIRO’s work on development of northern Australia. His work history includes farm management, food industry consulting and grain marketing. He has worked as a research agronomist throughout Australia and overseas. His most recent research has focused on identifying the scale and location of opportunities for developing northern Australia. This has included projects such as the Northern Australia Land and Water Science Review 2009, the Flinders-Gilbert Agricultural Resource Assessment, and work relating to mosaic irrigation, land tenure and transport logistics.

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Dr Bill Freeland gained his Masters degree in Science at the University of Queensland before obtaining a PhD in Zoology from the University of Michigan. Prior to his appointment, Dr Freeland was an environmental consultant working with business and industry in environmental management in the Northern Territory. He is a former Director of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory and Director of Conservation Strategy with the Queensland government.

Dr Freeland has spent 30 years of his career in the Northern Territory. He has considerable knowledge and understanding of environmental issues in the Territory. Dr Freeland has over 20 years’ experience in research and management roles with the Parks and Wildlife Commission of the Northern Territory including working with the community. His experience in the Territory has given Dr Freeland an extensive understanding and appreciation of the issues relevant to regional areas and the indigenous community.

He has represented the Territory on various national environmental groups such as the National Standing Committee for Water, Land and Biodiversity, Natural Resource Management Ministerial Council, and the Standing Committee to the Australian and New Zealand Environment Council.

During his career, Dr Freeland has published scientific papers and consultancy work in the fields of conservation management, primate behaviour and ecology, generalist herbivore-plant and interactions, ecology of introduced animals, environmental impacts, waste management, adaptive management, ecologically sustainable development and tourism development. 

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Organisation: WA Department of Agriculture and Food

Position: Director, Irrigated Agriculture (North)

After completing a BSc at the University of Western Australia in 1974, Geoff joined the Department of Agriculture and moved to Kununurra as an entomologist in 1976. The experience gained in these early years laid the foundations for a strong connection with irrigated agriculture and a passion for the Kimberley region and northern Australia generally.

In 1981, Geoff was recruited to the NT Department of Primary Production as part of team to develop agriculture in the Douglas Daly area, south of Darwin. Geoff spent 9 years in the NT, during which time he worked in various management roles before becoming Director of Plant Health.

The lure of the Kimberley proved to be irresistible and Geoff and family returned to live in Kununurra in 1990. Geoff developed a cotton research initiative at Kununurra to assess the potential of GM cotton for the Ord Stage 2 area. Successful research and commercial partnerships strengthened DAFWA’s association with the Australian Cotton Cooperative Research Centre. The renewal bid for the Cotton CRC included a program devoted to Northern Australia and Geoff was appointed Program Leader for the CRC’s Research Program for Northern Australia, and worked in this role for 8 years. An important achievement during this period was the development of novel and sustainable cotton production systems tailored to local environments in the north. This has created the opportunity for new irrigated cotton industries to establish in Kununurra, the Burdekin and elsewhere in northern Australia.

After working from Perth 1995-2007, in 2008 Geoff accepted a position as Chief Executive Officer of the Ord Irrigation Cooperative, based in Kununurra. The Cooperative is the irrigation water provider for the region and holds the largest surface water licence in WA. During his tenure of 3 years, the Cooperative achieved unprecedented improvements in irrigation water delivery efficiencies and underwent tariff reforms that now reflect the real cost of irrigation water at the farm gate.

Geoff remains passionate about the expansion of irrigated agriculture in WA, particularly in the north. Since 2011, as Director Irrigated Agriculture (North) based in Broome, Geoff has oversight of irrigation development from Carnarvon to Kununurra. 

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Organisation: CSIRO

Position: Chief Research Scientist

Dr Andrew Ash is a chief research scientist in CSIRO Agriculture. He has 30 years research experience in climatically variable tropical rangelands and agricultural systems in northern Australia and south-east Asia with a particular emphasis on developing management systems to improve profitability and environmental outcomes for rural communities.


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Organisation: Australian Trade Commission (Austrade)

Position: General Manager

Grame Barty is General Manager, Growth and Emerging Markets at Austrade.
As a senior executive with over 30 years of international business and government experience in innovation commercialisation, marketing, trade and investment incorporating with multinationals, foreign companies and government agencies, Grame Barty has a proven ability to translate vision and objectives into innovative strategic plans and lead change across multiple organisations.
Has been a successful information technology entrepreneur developing a software product that was sold globally. He started, and grew the company HarvestRoad Limited securing funding through venture capital and an IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange.
As a senior executive in Austrade he has influenced and implemented government policy in international trade, developed and marketed new products, negotiated international multiparty agreements, and secured numerous foreign direct investment and collaborative research opportunities, particularly in the information technology, bio-fuels, water sustainability and management sectors.

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Organisation: Kingfisher Solutions Pty Ltd

Position: Managing Director

A senior executive and entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in general management in both publicly and privately listed companies in Australia. Gavin was formerly the Executive General Manager for the CSR Herbert River Sugar mills and subsequently headed up CSR Ethanol leading the company’s expansion into fuel ethanol.

In 2010, Gavin established a consulting business, Kingfisher Solutions Pty Ltd, which works with various companies that either have ambitions in establishing alternative energy projects or are existing industry players with a desire to improve or expand their base businesses. The company utilises the resources of an extensive network to provide commercial and strategic advice in conjunction with economic assessments and project stewardship support for new business ventures in the alternative energy sector.

Gavin has a clear passion for biofuels having been a founding director of the Biofuels Association of Australia (BAA) and now as their Chief Executive Officer continues to support the industry and advocate for change to support the growth of the industry in Australia. Gavin has been active in shaping the development of the government policies and initiatives that support the development of an alternative energy industry in Australia, in particular biofuels.

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Organisation: CSIRO

Dr Andrew James is a Soybean Breeder with CSIRO whose main areas of research have been improving adaptation of Soybean to challenging environments in Australia, Vietnam and Thailand and improving soybean for higher-value human consumption and stockfeed uses.

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Organisation: Australian Trade Commission (Austrade)

Position: State Director, NT

Bernadette is the Assistant State Director NT for the Australian Trade Commission (Austrade) based in Darwin. As the only Austrade representative in the NT she is responsible for NT stakeholder engagement while upholding a national responsibly focussing on agribusiness supply chains.

Bernadette came to Austrade in 2004 following more than 20 years working in the food industry across production, food supply chain management, managing logistics, export, sales and marketing. Bernadette has extensive experience exporting food.

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Organisation: Northern Territory Department of Land Resource Management

Position: Manager, Land Assesment Unit

Jason Hill has 20 years’ experience undertaking and publishing soil-landscape and land suitability investigations and mapping in northern Australia. Mr Hill is now the Manager of the Land Assessment Unit in the Northern Territory Department of Land Resource Management. He is currently the Deputy Chair of the National Committee on Soil and Terrain.


Organisation: Piñata Farms Pty Ltd

Position: Managing Director

Piñata Farms Pty Ltd managing director, Gavin Scurr, is a seasoned fresh produce grower and industry representative with experience spanning some 30 years in Australian horticulture.

Under Gavin’s leadership, Queensland-based Piñata Farms is Australia’s largest pineapple grower producing Mareeba Gold pineapples year `round, Piñata strawberries seasonally and specialty Honey Gold mangoes from November to March annually.

Gavin is also chairman of the Australian Mango Industry Association (AMIA), grower representative on the Queensland and Northern Territory governments’ ministerial mango industry reference groups and a member of the Pineapple Advisory Committee’s marketing sub-committee. He is also a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Leigh (Tracker) is an indigenous leader and Traditional Owner in the Ti Tree area. He was formerly CEO of Central Land Council. He has a long interest in agriculture as a part of indigenous economic development. During his time at CLC he set up Centrefarm, a vehicle for using traditional owned land for agricultural development. He studied environmental science and natural resource economics at Roseworthy and Adelaide University, was a stock inspector in NT Government, and studied arid zone agriculture in Israel.

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Organisation: Australian Guar Company (AGC)

Position: National Operations Manager

Tony Matchett took on the role as National Operations Manager for the Australian Guar Company (AGC) in August 2012. Before joining AGC Tony held positions as a grain marketing adviser to grower producers in central Qld, NSW, Vic and WA. Prior to this, Tony worked as an agronomist and also as a cropping manager on a corporate farming operation in western NSW. His roles have utilised skills in business development, agronomic solutions, risk management and broad acre cropping production.

Studying at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga NSW, Tony also developed skills in trial and research management and plant breeding and selection practices. Tony holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Agriculture.

Tony has over 15 years experience in the Australian grains industry, and manages AGC from Emerald Queensland, with production developing as far south as Nyngan in NSW, throughout Queensland and into the Northern Territory and Kimberley of Western Australia.

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Organisation: Charles Darwin University

Position: Head of the School of Environment and Director of the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods

Andrew Campbell is Head of the School of Environment and Director of the Research Institute for the Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL) at Charles Darwin University. He works on the interactions between climate, water, energy, food systems and biodiversity, and the interface between knowledge, science and policy. He was previously a Senior Executive in the federal environment portfolio and CEO of Land & Water Australia. Professor Campbell chairs the board of the Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN), is a Visiting Fellow at the ANU Fenner School, and a Fellow of the AICD.
Andrew Campbell trained in forestry at Creswick and the University of Melbourne, then in rural sociology and knowledge systems at Wageningen Agricultural University in The Netherlands. He remains involved in his family farm in western Victoria, where his family has been farming since the 1860s.


Organisation: Northern Territory Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries

Position: Director of Plant Industry Development

Mr Bob Williams has a passion for northern Australia and advancing the agricultural industry through focused research and industry development. His department’s work is supported by Horticulture Australia Limited, Rural Research and Development Corporation, the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, and private enterprise.
Bob was previously Science Leader with Horticulture and Forestry Science at the Queensland Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, based at South Johnstone Research Station. He was responsible for research and development in crops including banana, mango, papaya, lychee, and tropical vegetables. Much of that work was focused on strategies to improve crop productivity and quality.
Prior to that, Bob worked in north Queensland as a consultant to an agrichemical company, where he provided advice on sugarcane, banana, melons and peanuts.
Bob has been involved with the Australian banana industry since 1981. He conducted research and extension work in north Queensland, and managed the government’s research, development and extension program.
He also served on the Banana Industry Protection Board for a decade, and until recently was the Australian delegate on the Asian Pacific Banana Network of Biodiversity (formally the International Network for the Improvement of Banana and Plantain). Bob is currently a delegate with the International Tropical Fruit Network, which is a subcommittee of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

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Position: Agricultural economist and market analyst

David Hanlon is an agricultural economist and market analyst operating in Northern Australia for the last 35 years. David has worked for diverse clients including government, indigenous groups, private companies and industry organisations. David has been associated with most northern agricultural developments including cattle, horticulture, cropping and aquaculture including sugar on the Ord, and the successful northern horticultural industry. David brings unparalleled depth of understanding of market and economic forces in developing northern agriculture and a unique breadth of understanding of business management in northern Australia. 


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Over a 24 yr career with The Harvest Company Robert guided the growth and specialisation of the business to become a market leader with an annual turnover in excess of $45 mill. He brought an innovative range of new products to Australian consumers including the concept launch and commercialisation of Shepard Avocados, Seedless Watermelons and Calypso Mangoes.

In doing this Robert lead the formation of grower supply groups including Shepard Australia, Select Melons Australia and the Australian Fresh Mango group. He secured and managed the commercial rights to significant intellectual property including the global rights to the mango genetics B74, calypso trademarks and the Australian rights to Hortical Near Infrared fruit grading technology. He Led the development of produce brands such as Shepard and Calypso TM and successfully established them in the Australian and SE Asian Market.

Robert is currently Vice Chair of Aunties and Uncles Queensland (Aunties and Uncles Queensland is an early intervention and prevention mentoring program helping vulnerable and socially disadvantaged children aged 1 – 12 years.) and has served on the board of the Australian Mango Industry Association.

Robert has a Bachelor of Applied Science (rural management) Queensland University, Diploma in International Trade and Export Management Queensland University and graduate of Australian Rural Leadership Program course 9

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Organisation: Centrefarm Aboriginal Horticulture Ltd

Position: CEO

From an agri-business background in South Australia, Vin has been involved in the industry for 30 years working in agricultural supplies and technology transfer to horticulture and broad-acre agriculture and pastoralism, along with operational management in horticulture and broad-acre agriculture, viticulture and wine-making. Vin has also established and operated a range of small, medium and large businesses in Australia and Europe. His long-standing experience with traditional remote Aboriginal people gives him an understanding and skills that are utilised daily at Centrefarm.

Most recently Vin has been responsible for the incorporation of the Northern and Central Land Councils’ jointly owned entity, Aboriginal Land and Sea Economic Development Agency (ALSEDA) and worked closely with both land councils to allow for fungible leases out of Aboriginal Land Trusts in the NT. These initiatives have allowed Vin and his team at Centrefarm to complete full financial modelling for the breakthrough Pilot Capital Fund (PCF). Both the leases and the PCF have passed due diligence within the commercial financial sector and will be crucial in developing opportunities on Aboriginal land in the NT.

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Whether it be growing up in a small New Zealand community on a family farm, holding senior executive roles in large corporations, sitting on a board of an Australian Statutory Authority focused on agricultural research and development, running large farming operations or any of Michael’s many other activities he has always had a focus on and genuine interest in agriculture, food, finance and economic development. In his current role as Chief Executive Officer of the Northern Australia Co-operative Research Centre Bid Michael hopes to bring together a significant program of work over 10 years that provides a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable platform for the development and growth of Northern Australian communities and businesses.
Since immigrating to Australia in early 2002 Michaels roles have included Managing Director, Regional and Rural Banking at ANZ, Managing Director Pacific at ANZ, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer at Elders, Chief Executive Officer at The Van Diemen’s Land Company and his current roles Director at Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and Chief Executive Officer at the Northern Australia Cooperative Research Centre Bid Team. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from Otago University, a Post Graduate Diploma in Banking from Massey University and an MBA from Monash University. He is also an Alumni of Columbia Business School.
Michael is described an entrepreneurial strategic thinker, a proven strong leader a good communicator and a person with a good balance of EQ and IQ. He has a proven track record in running substantial businesses in multiple domestic and international markets and brings significant financial, operational and risk management rigor. 

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Organisation: Charles Darwin University

Position: Emeritus Professor

Emeritus Professor Helen Garnett is an experienced company director and chairman, with 20+ years experience as a director with listed and unlisted entities in the primary industry, resource, energy, health and education sectors, complemented by 15 years as a chief executive of entities involved in research, technology development/transfer and education in these sectors. She was the founding vice chancellor of Charles Darwin University.

From 2008 – 2012 she chaired the Australian Biosecurity Intelligence Network and from 2008 - 2014 was a director of the Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation
She is currently
• Chair, Delta Electricity
• Chair, Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics
• Chair, MAGNT Foundation Ltd
• Director, Sugar Research Australia
• Director, Energy Resources Australia (and Chair Audit and Risk Committee)
• Director, Carbon Energy (and Chair Audit and Risk Committee)
• Director, National Centre for Vocational Educational Research
• Director, Crawford Fund and Chair of the NT Committee of the Crawford Fund


Organisation: Blue Ribbon Group

Position: Managing Director

After founding the Blue Ribbon Group in 2000 as a one-person operation, Stephen Donnelly has led Blue Ribbon to become one of Australia’s leading exporters of pulse and seed products. Blue Ribbon is now an extensive group that includes Blue Ribbon Seeds, Blue Ribbon Grains and Pulses, Blue Ribbon Packaging, Blue Ribbon Roasting, BRSQ & BRNQ.

Stephen is a leader in the industry having built a strong track record in commercialising new technologies. In 2009, Stephen invested in a rice mill in North Queensland having found a way to farm rice in the local climate and soil. This marked the first time rice had been produced in the region for more than twenty years. Under Stephen’s leadership, the Blue Ribbon Group has successfully introduced a new type of grass seed to an area of the Pilbara region which has never been able to hold grass. More recently, Stephen has commercialised technology that removes the beany flavor from pulses. As a result, this company can offer products like nut-free, Mungbean-based “peanut butter”.

Stephen would like to see more sophisticated food development and technology that will protect businesses and growers from the impact of bad seasons and the influence of overseas markets. 

Organisation: NT DPIF, Berrimah Research Farm

Position: Economics Leader

Has tertiary training as a muddy boots farm management/agricultural economist from the University of New England, Armidale, with 3 qualifications up to a Master of Economics. For the past 25 years he has been employed in various agricultural economist/extension officer roles in the primary production sector in NSW, Tasmania, the north of Western Australia, and now Northern Territory.
He came to the tropics 12 years ago with a full economics toolbox but no experience in tropical agricultural systems so was on the overhang of the learning curve for at least the first 3-5 years. He has since developed rapport with indigenous corporations, primary producers, agribusiness, consultants and economists working in other jurisdictions.
As economics is a social science, he has learned that spending time on country, in the cab of a ‘Cruiser, tractor, or harvester, or around the kitchen table builds knowledge far quicker than reading books, or analysing statistical data. He has a strong focus on working as part of a multidisciplinary team, is a free lateral thinker, and recognises that economics is only one part of the farming game.

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Organisation: KRED Enterprises

Position: CEO

Wayne Bergmann is recognised as one of Australia’s leading advocates for Indigenous self-determination through economic empowerment and opportunity.
A proud Nyikina man, boilermaker-welder and lawyer, Bergmann has served as Executive Director of the Kimberley Aboriginal Law and Culture Centre (KALACC), CEO of the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) and CEO of KRED Enterprises, an Aboriginal charitable business foundation.
In his role as CEO of KRED Enterprises, Bergmann is driving social change in the Kimberley by creating employment and training opportunities that affirm Aboriginal cultural and social values. KRED is currently spearheading the Kimberley Aboriginal Pastoral Co-op, a project that could have implications for business development across northern Australia. His vision is for long-term economic independence for Aboriginal people.
In his role as CEO of the KLC, one of the largest organisations dealing with Aboriginal land rights and resource issues in Australia, he proved his commitment to securing the rights and interests of Kimberley Traditional Owners through the native title system by negotiating native title impact benefit agreements. Bergmann was also responsible for implementing land and sea management activities across the region, including the Kimberley Ranger Network which employs over 80 full-time rangers.
Bergmann has been advocating for Indigenous rights and self-determination in the Kimberley for more than 24 years.

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Organisation: The Wilderness Society

Position: Coordinator - Northern Australia Campaign

Gavan McFadzean (B.Economics – Monash University) has worked on environmental campaigns in Australia and overseas for two decades, as well as stints in the union movement and Australian Greens.
In Australia Gavan has been involved in campaigns to protect old growth, red gum and box-ironbark forests in three states, marine campaigns in three states, protection of the Wet Tropics and Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Areas and various campaigns to protect the natural and cultural values of Cape York Peninsula.
For the last four years he has Coordinated The Wilderness Society’s Northern Australia Rivers campaign, which aims to protect the extraordinary river systems and savannah landscapes of the north while promoting community driven models for land use, development and employment.
He has worked as The Wilderness Society’s delegate to the International Union for Conservation and Nature (IUCN) and has sat on the board of the Australian Council to the IUCN. In 2006 he was named the ‘Wild Magazine’ Environmentalist of the Year. 

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Organisation: Trade and Economic Services for Meat and Livestock Australia

Position: General Manager

Dr Peter Barnard is currently the General Manager, Trade and Economic Services for Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA).
The role involves delivering market information to the Australian beef and sheepmeat industries, assisting these industries in addressing major market access issues and heading up MLA programs that support Australia’s live export trade.
Dr Barnard previously worked as a tutor, lecturer and research fellow at Adelaide and Macquarie Universities. He was employed for five years as a research scientist by the Australian Road Research Board. Dr Barnard was also employed for a time as the Director for Transport and Telecommunications for the National Farmer's Federation.
Dr Barnard has a PhD in Economics from Adelaide University.

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Organisation: Australian Oilseeds Federation

Based in Emerald, Central Queensland, Liz coordinates the sunflower stream of the work of the Australian Oilseeds Federation. Through her other consultancy work, she undertakes research, project management, strategic communication and extension delivery across north eastern Australia primarily with irrigated and rain-grown cropping industries.

Liz is a current Director of Plant Health Australia, the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, Chairman of the Theodore Irrigation Scheme LMA Interim Board, Independent Chair of Glencore’s Clermont Open Cut Mine Groundwater and Environmental Reference Group, and a former Director of Cotton Australia.

Liz was recognized for her work in cropping in 2013 with the inaugural Women in Agriculture Award presented by the Grains Research Development Corporation for significant contribution to the grains industry. Liz was included in the inaugural Women in Australian Agribusiness 100 this year.

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Organisation: Plantation Management Partners

Position: Managing Director

Plantation Management Partners provides a full suite of forestry management services to clients in Australasia. With over 40,000 ha under management, and tasks ranging from road construction, nursery management, and plantation establishment through to harvest planning, harvesting, logistics and forest product marketing. Plantation Management Partners’ team have direct management experience in managing forestry assets in Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Fiji, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea.

Glen himself has over 15 years of forest industry expertise. He has extensive knowledge and skills in forestry analysis and valuation, project development, technical management, and financial management and reporting. Glen has fulfilled a number of senior positions with some of the Region’s largest forestry managers, and leading forestry consultants. Glen is a member of the Institute of Foresters of Australia, and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

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Organisation: ABC Grandstand

Position: Grandstand presenter

Charlie King was born in Alice Springs and attended school in SA. He moved to Darwin in 1966 and has resided in the Territory since.
Charlie presents the Territory Grandstand Sport program on ABC local radio and is the presenter of Territory Sport on ABC Television. He has worked at the ABC since 1994.
His duties have taken him to 3 Olympic Games and 3 Commonwealth Games and he has covered sporting events in all parts of Australia.
Prior to joining the ABC, Charlie worked in Family Services and Child Protection for 15 years. He is the founder of the No More Campaign which encourages men to take a stronger stand against family violence and child abuse. He has received many awards for his work and commitment to that cause. Charlie is the NT Chairman of the Indigenous Males Advisory Council, a Director on the National Our Watch Family Violence Committee and is the Chair of the ABC’s Bonner Committee.

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Organisation: ABC Rural

Position: Country Hour presenter

Matt Brann is the presenter of the Northern Territory Country Hour on ABC Local Radio.
He grew up on a cattle property in the Hunter Valley surrounded by Herefords, horses and a dog named Spud.
After a brief stint for ABC Rural in Tasmania, Matt moved to Kununurra, home to the Ord Irrigation Scheme, and spent the next five years as the Kimberley rural reporter.
In 2009 he was named ABC’s Rural Reporter of the Year; and in 2011 won a WA Rural Media Association Award for his coverage of the suspension of the live cattle trade to Indonesia.
He still isn’t a member of the ‘metre-barra’ club which is a serious concern.
Keep it Rural!

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Organisation: ABC News

Position: Reporter

Kristy O’Brien has been involved in the production of factual television as a producer, journalist and presenter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and commercial television networks. She has worked across rural Queensland and the Northern Territory focusing much of her coverage on a love of agriculture and rural content. Her work is regularly broadcast on ABC News, ABC radio, ABC 24, Landline, Lateline and 7.30 NT. She is also the weekend 7pm News presenter. During the past 18 months, Kristy has deployed her journalistic background to branch into independent documentary making and was recognized at the Australian International Documentary Conference as Australia’s emerging young producer. As part of the award, she moved to London in 2014, to work for Jamie Oliver’s Fresh One Productions in order to enhance her production skills. She also recently won a position in Screen Producer Australia’s Ones to Watch program, as one of Australia’s up and coming young filmmakers.


In collaboration of the Northern Australia government and industry partners the Horizon Future Leaders program brings together 20 young emerging leaders from across the country to build capacity, create networks and engage across primary industry sectors. 

Panelists have been chosen through the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation’s Horizon Scholarship, industry and government as passionate, emerging leaders between 20 & 35 in Agriculture. Coming from across Northern Australia each will represent a different industry area. 

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Organisation: NT Farmers Association

Position: Project Coordinator

I am currently studying my Bachelor of Business (International Business (Applied)) with RMIT in Melbourne and will graduate 2015.
This year I am completing my applied (Work Integrated Learning) component in the form of an internship with NT Farmers, based in Darwin.

Since beginning with NT Farmers my role has developed into that of a Project Coordinator. Currently I am involved with various projects across industry in both a coordination and support capacity. Key projects include the Mango SapSAFE Program, NT Plant Industry Exporting Capacity Project and developing the association’s Internship Program.

Although not originally from Northern Australia I have strong links with the agricultural industry, and find this is where my passion lies. I aim to complete my Bachelor in 2015, studying in Melbourne before finishing in Vietnam where I hope to see other aspects of Northern value and supply chains. 

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Organisation: Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries | NT Government

Position: Technical Officer

I’m Stacey Cook; I work as a Technical Officer in Plant Pathology/Entomology in the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries in the NT Government. I have completed a degree in Plant Molecular science with Honours. I am currently working on a Watermelon Fusarium (FON) project that has been funded by HAL. I have a wide range of skills from plant care/glasshouse work to culturing fungi/bacteria to molecular work. I am extremely passionate about biotechnology and the role it can play in furthering horticulture and agriculture. I was recently a Northern Territory semi-finalist in the RIRDC Rural Women’s award. Later this year I will be starting a PhD which will involve investigating the genes that control flowing in Mango and how chemicals and environmental factors affect these genes. My overall aim as a scientist is to increase communication between the molecular/biotechnology industry and the agricultural and horticultural industries. I believe that Biotechnology has the ability to provide great technical advances to these industries, but communication between the scientists and end users (farmers/growers) needs to improve to increase adoption of new technologies.


Organisation: University of New England

Position: Bachelor of Animal Science

I grew up on a small sheep and cattle enterprise in the Riverina, southern NSW, where I gained a passion for livestock at a young age. Throughout high school I studied agriculture and developed a keen interest in the nutrition and genetics aspects of livestock production. It was this passion and interest that triggered me to enrol in a Bachelor of Animal Science, majoring in Livestock Production at the University of New England (UNE). Currently I am in my fourth and final year of my Animal Science degree, and in addition to study, have been undertaking an Honours project in the field of genetics. On completion of this degree I plan to gain further experience in the field regarding nutrition and genetics, with my ultimate career aspiration being to own a livestock production advisory business.

Most recently, I have accepted a Beef Supply Chain graduate position with Kerwee Lot Feeders on the Darling Downs, where I will begin in January and hope to develop a greater understanding of the entire beef supply chain.

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Organisation: University of Sydney

Position: Bachelor of Agricultural Science

RICHIE QUIGLEY IS a fifth-generation farmer; his family first settled on their property ‘Muntham’ at Trangie in central-western NSW more than 125 years ago. In the long term, he expects the family farm will be his future too – a 6000-hectare mixed-cropping, cotton and livestock operation.
But in the meantime he is completing the third year of his four-year Bachelor of Agricultural Science degree at the University of Sydney, and looking at “what else is out there” that he can learn from and bring back home. In 2013 this includes exploring agriculture in the developing world with a field trip to Laos.


Organisation: Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA)

Position: Executive Officer

Tom Ryan has recently taken on the role of Executive Officer with the NTCA, the peak primary industry group in the Northern Territory, representing over 90% of the Territory’s cattle herd. NTCA members manage over 250 pastoral operations, covering a combined 700,000 sq km, and a herd of approximately 1.9 million head of cattle.
Tom has been living and working in the NT pastoral industry since April 2011. Prior to joining the NTCA, Tom worked for Australian Agricultural Company (AACo) for over 4 years in a number of roles across the Company’s vast portfolio of cattle stations in the NT, Qld and WA, as well as the Brisbane headquarters.
Originally from a family cattle property in Central Queensland, Tom completed a Bachelor of Agricultural Science, with a major in Plant & Soil Science, at the University of Queensland.