Australian Agriculture Roundtable Conference 2018

Canberra, Tuesday 16 October 2018


Rachel AnkenyBryce Camm, Rob Egerton-Warburton, Peter GoodayRoss HamptonRichard Heath, Bernie Hobbs, Kylie HudsonDeanna LushRowan McMonniesVerity Morgan-Schmidt, Arian MoshefiHeather Neil, Trent Thorne, Travis Tobin


Bernie Hobbs


Bernie, who has a first class honours degree in biochemistry and microbiology, is an award-winning science writer and presenter who has worked extensively in television (The New Inventors, Catalyst, the experiMENTALS), on radio and online.

With a background in medical research, environmental writing and science teaching, Bernie tackles tough or technical subjects and brings the driest topics alive for lay audiences or experts.

Bernie will speak about her experiences of communicating climate science and other complex issues, and what she has learned about emotion versus evidence in scientific debate.

SESSION 1 – Animal Welfare

Rob Egerton-Warburton

Farmer and Nuffield Scholar 

Rob is a farmer from Kojonup in Western Australia. Alongside his wife Jennifer and two daughters, Rob farms 4000ha, producing sheep for wool and meat as well as mixed grain with an adjunct business in wildflower seed production. 

Rob has always had a passion for farming, particularly for the sheep industry, and he actively promotes farming beyond the farm gate. He is currently on the Board of Merinotech, a Kojonup-based Merino Genetics company. Rob chaired the Sheep Industry Leadership Council for four years and was a Board member of the Sheep CRC for seven years. Rob was also on the Board of RSPCA Western Australia.  


Heather Neil

CEO, RSPCA Australia


Heather was appointed Chief Executive Officer of RSPCA Australia in 2006. She has a long career in the not-for-profit sector including organisations such as the Australian Breastfeeding Association, Quit Tasmania and CropLife. Heather is currently a director and Deputy Chair of the Community Council for Australia and was previously a director of Rowing Australia.


SESSION 2 – Community Trust

Deanna Lush

Managing Director, AgCommunicators


Deanna is a strategic communication specialist working in primary production, natural resources and agripolitics. She is a former journalist and editor for the Fairfax rural group and a was media adviser to the South Australian Minister for Water during the Millennium drought. In 2013, she co-founded AgCommunicators. Deanna’s Churchill Fellowship report investigating trust in agriculture was published in 2018 and she now chairs a steering committee for the National Farmers’ Federation on a cross-commodity approach to trust. Deanna and her husband Steen Paech farm 4500 ha in South Australia, cropping cereals, pulses and oilseeds and running sheep.

Rachel Ankeny

Professor, School of Humanities, University of Adelaide


Rachel is Professor in the School of Humanities and Associate Dean Research for the Faculty of Arts at the University of Adelaide. She leads the Food Values Research Group and has diverse research interests including food ethics, animal welfare, the relationship of science to food habits, food policy, and public engagement in agriculture and science.

Trent Thorne

Special Counsel, McCullough Robertson

As co-leader of McCullough Robertson’s Food and Agribusiness group, Trent is recognised as a committed and passionate legal specialist for the agricultural sector. Trent has over 14 years’ experience acting for food and agribusiness clients in a wide range of commercial matters. He has conducted international arbitrations and lengthy trials in Queensland and acted for major agribusiness entities, large property developers, multinational resource companies, major government-owned corporations and large corporate entities. Trent is also the President of the Queensland Rural Press Club.

Rowan McMonnies

Managing Director, Australian Eggs


Rowan has a legal and compliance background and has been a key adviser to the agriculture sector and the egg industry in recent years. Prior to commencing with Australian Eggs, Rowan was a commercial disputes partner at global law firm, Baker & McKenzie, and held senior positions at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Rowan’s involvement in the egg industry includes assisting the industry in its response to the free-range egg labelling standard consultation process and working with egg industry representative bodies on the formalisation of Egg Farmers of Australia.

SESSION 3 – Environmental Policy

Verity Morgan-Schmidt

CEO, Farmers for Climate Action


Farmers for Climate Action is a not-for-profit organisation putting those on the front lines of climate change front and centre in creating climate solutions through a vibrant 21st century model of agricultural advocacy. Under Verity’s leadership, Farmers for Climate Action has harnessed the power of digital technology to drive community engagement with the agricultural sector. Originally a farm girl from the sheep and wheat country of Western Australia, Verity is a former Executive Officer for the Western Australian Farmers’ Federation. Verity holds a Master of Arts (Politics) in Sustainability and Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Politics and Global Studies.   

Travis Tobin

CEO, Queensland Farmers Federation


Prior to being appointed CEO of the QFF in May 2016, Travis was an Adviser and Departmental Liaison Officer in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. From a sheep and cattle farming family in the western division of NSW, Travis’s career spans a broad range of agricultural roles in the public and private sectors. He was the Director of food export programs and led policy development in the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. He has worked in agribusiness banking across NSW, Victoria and South Australia, and has held senior roles in the drilling industry.

Bryce Camm

CEO, Camm Agricultural Group

Prior to leading his family’s Camm Agricultural Group, an integrated beef enterprise with interests across Queensland, Bryce managed the group’s award-winning Wonga Plains Feedlot for 10 years, overseeing the operation triple in size. Bryce is Chairman of the Australian Beef Sustainability Steering Group and the Vice Chair of the Australian Lot Feeders Association. He is heavily involved in the next generation, symposium and seminar programs for Beef Australia and was instrumental in developing the Graeme Acton Beef Connections Program.

Ross Hampton

CEO, Australian Forest Products Association


Ross is a veteran of the policy and political scene having worked at various times in the past 25 years as a reporter, adviser and policy advocate in Australia and overseas. He was appointed CEO of the Australian Forest Products Association in May 2013, and has a Masters in Public Policy from the Australian National University.


SESSION 4 – Agricultural Statistics

Peter Gooday

Assistant Secretary & Chief Commodity Analyst, ABARES


Peter manages the programs for commodity analysis and forecasting, trade research and climate impact sciences, and is responsible for producing the quarterly publications Agricultural commodities and Australian crop report. Peter has been involved in a broad range of research and analysis, including farm analysis, productivity and biosecurity; water market reform; productivity analysis; infrastructure issues affecting agriculture; fisheries management; economic issues associated with native forestry, and commodity analysis. He has a degree in Economics with Honours from the Australian National University.

Kylie Hudson

Marketing Leader, Tripod


Kylie is a marketing leader with a proven track record over almost 20 years in brand marketing, trade marketing, and insights roles in global corporates such as Sara Lee, Diageo and Carlton & United Breweries. Since moving into the strategic consulting space in 2012, Kylie has enjoyed gaining clarity and moving quickly into action for corporates, not-so-corporates and agencies alike – from all things alcoholic to retail spaces, coffee and even skateboards, each challenge is undertaken to get it to another level.

Arian Moshefi

Agricultural Project Officer, NSW Farmers

Arian is a horticultural science graduate currently working as a Project Officer for NSW Farmers on a project that has developed a nationally coordinated approach, across all agricultural commodities, to address community and consumer trust in Australian agriculture. Experiences garnered through his education, his time as a nurseryman, Quad Bike Safety Improvement Program Coordinator, and in his current role have armed Arian with the knowledge and insights to deliver projects on a large scale involving complex systems and competing priorities.

Richard Heath

Executive Director, Australian Farm Institute


Before being appointed Executive Director of the AFI in May 2018, Richard was General Manager Research for the independent policy research organisation, whose objective is to enhance the economic and social wellbeing of farmers and the agricultural sector. Prior to this, he was Associate Professor of Agronomy and Farm Management at the University of Sydney and was involved in a large family cropping business in North West NSW. Richard is a director of the Grains Research and Development Corporation and sits on the Advisory Committee for CSIRO Food and Agriculture. He is a Nuffield scholar and was a director of Nuffield Australia.



Agriculture Minister David Littleproud

David Littleproud is a member of the House of Representatives representing the Division of Maranoa. David became the Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources in December 2017. David had a career of more than 20 years in agribusiness before entering politics, and was born and raised in Chinchilla, Queensland.