FARMING IN A RISKY CLIMATE

Brisbane, 26–27 June 2019

CONFIRMED SPEAKERS AND PANELLISTS


Margo Andrae, Claire Osborn Booth, Colin Burnett, Gabrielle Chan, Lucinda CorriganWendy Craik


Chantal Donnelly, Tony EyresPeter Hayman, Richard Heath, Dr Zvi Hochman, Tegan Hogan Smith


Neal Hughes, Barry Irvin, Alison LarardDr Jo Luck, Tony Mahar, Ian McConnelFiona McCredie


Oscar Pearce, Brigid Price, Georgie Somerset, Andrew Spencer, Karin Stark, Brendan Taylor


  Trent Thorne, Travis Tobin, James Walker, Andrew Watson


SESSION 1: A changing climate – What will the new agricultural environment look like?


Andrew SpencerFacilitator

CEO, Australian Pork

Mr Andrew Spencer has been employed as the CEO of Australian Pork Limited since July of 2005. Through that period he has helped to work the industry through significant challenges.

Prior to 2005, Mr Spencer worked over a period of 10 years in France, South Africa and Germany in the agricultural biotechnology, seeds and chemicals business. He commenced his career in Australia in marketing and product management in the agricultural chemicals business sector after completing his studies in the mid 80’s. Andrew has an Agricultural Science degree from Melbourne University. He is also a director of the Australasian Pork Research Institute Limited and chair of the Australian Farm Institute.


Dr Peter Hayman – Speaker

Principal Scientist Climate Applications, SARDI

Dr Peter Hayman is the Principal Scientist in Climate Applications at SARDI. As program leader of the climate applications science program area he works with industry stakeholders in dryland and irrigated industries to identify key climate risks and then form appropriate research and development partnerships to address the issue. He provides a two-way flow of information between climate scientists from the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, and agriculture in South Australia. Peter has regular interaction with the national Managing Climate Variability Program and the Climate Change Research Strategy for Primary Industries. He has served on World Meteorological Organisation expert teams in agro-climatology and was part of a team organised by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility to review the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change chapters on Australasia and adaptation.


 

Dr Zvi Hochman – Speaker

Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO

Dr Zvi Hochman is a Senior Principal Research Scientist and a Team Leader in CSIRO, Agriculture and Food. He is a systems agronomist with expertise in managing climate-related crop production risk and in exploring productivity frontiers in rain fed cropping systems. He is currently researching: 1. Adaptation of cropping systems to a variable and changing climate; 2. How to best quantify, map and diagnose the causes of the gap between actual and potential yields of individual crops and cropping systems in Australia’s rain-fed environments; and 3. Crop yield forecasting at multiple scales.



Dr Neal Hughes – Speaker

Senior Economist, ABARES

Dr Neal Hughes is manager of the Water and Climate section at ABARES. Since joining ABARES in 2006, Neal has researched a range of water, climate and agricultural productivity issues including the design of water property rights and markets, water policy and irrigated agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin and the effects of climate variability and change on agricultural productivity. In 2011, Neal was awarded an Australian Government Sir Roland Wilson Foundation Phd Scholarship. 

Colin Burnett – Panellist

Co-owner, Burnett Holdings

Colin Burnett from Julia Creek in Queensland is a 2018 Nuffiled Scholar. Colin is a co-owner of the family's pastoral company Burnett Holdings a 9000 head beef cattle enterprise in North West Queensland, turning over 2000 head per year. He holds a Bachelor of Business from Swinburne University, Melbourne and has previously worked with Stanbroke Beef.



Alison Larard – Panellist

Finance, economics and beef business specialist

An enthusiastic finance, economics and beef business specialist, Alison Larard has a life-long interest in agriculture, particularly the cattle industry. Raised on a mixed livestock and cropping farm near Warwick on the Darling Downs, Alison formalised her interest with a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics (UQ) and an MBA (UNE). With nearly 20 years’ experience in business management, Alison estimates she has worked with 300 farming families. Predominantly NQ beef operations, many of these families have required business planning and management guidance, applications for finance, feasibility studies, project management, and succession planning advice. In 2016 Alison took on a board position for the RFCSNQ.

Brigid Price – Panellist

Founder, Rural Resources Online; organic beef producer

Brigid Price is a Queensland grazier and the founder of Rural Resources Online, an organic beef producer, certified Advisory Board Chair and proud mother of Australia's future farmers. In 2018 she was recognised as an outstanding agriculture leader of the future and selected to participate in the National Farmers’ Federation Diversity in Agriculture Leadership Program.


SESSION 2: Adaptable farming systems – Are our systems adapting at the pace of change?


Richard Heath Facilitator

Executive Director, Australian Farm Institute

Before being appointed Executive Director of the AFI in May 2018, Richard Heath 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.



Lucinda Corrigan – Speaker

Chair, Farmers for Climate Action; Commissioner, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research; beef farmer, Rennylea Angus

Growing up in Western NSW, Lucinda Corrigan now runs a large multi-property cattle genetics enterprise with her husband in the Murray Valley, east of Albury. Lucinda’s leadership on climate change adaption in the grazing industry was recognised by the National Climate Change and Research facility, being named the 2012 Climate Adaption Champion. To accompany this, Lucinda is also the Director or Chair of multiple Organisations and Councils, including the Commissioner of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research.

Margo Andrae – Speaker

CEO, Cattle Council

Margo Andrae is CEO of the Cattle Council. Margo has extensive experience and networks across primary industries, regional Australia and research environments through positions with local government, universities, research, skills and training environments. Prior to commencing with Cattle Council, she held positions with CSIRO, University of NSW, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and QLD Local Government. She has extensive experience in stakeholder engagement, marketing, communications, business development, operations and resource management and is currently completing her MBA through the Australian Graduate School of Management, UNSW.

Fiona McCredie – Speaker

National Policy Manager, GrainGrowers

Fiona McCredie drives the development and implementation of GrainGrowers’ policy agenda and ensures that policy priorities and advocacy activities are supported by the National Policy Group. These policy efforts focus on delivering key tangible benefits for Australian grain farmers on issues such as reducing grain farmers' regulatory burden, improving efficiency of grain freight, and ensuring research and development levies provide a strong return to growers. Fiona has driven agricultural policy outcomes for more than 20 years, both in farmer organisations such as NSW Farmers and at the NSW Dairy Corporation. She was also Corporate Affairs Manager at GrainCorp Pty Ltd. She holds a Bachelor of Agricultural Science (Hons) and an MBA.


SESSION 3: A climate of trust – Is community trust in agriculture a new climate risk?


Wendy CraikFacilitator

Senior Associate, Aither; Chair, Climate Change Authority, NSW Marine Estate Management Authority, NESP Climate Science and Earth Systems Hub Steering Committee

Wendy Craik is recognised as one of Australia’s leading independent public policy advisors. Currently Chair of the Climate Change Authority, Wendy has been Commissioner of the Productivity Commission, CEO of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, President of the National Competition Council, Chair of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Executive Director of National Farmers’ Federation and Executive Officer of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Wendy also has wide-ranging board experience including Chair of the National Steering Committee for the Ten Year Eradication Program for Red Imported Fire Ants and board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia. She is also currently on the Board of the Australian Farm Institute.


Tony Mahar – Speaker

CEO, National Farmers Federation

Tony Mahar first joined the NFF as General Manager, Economics and Trade in July 2012. In December 2014, Tony was appointed as Deputy Chief Executive Officer and since March 2016 has held the position of Chief Executive Officer. Tony has a long history of working with and representing industry and government in a range of areas including economic policy, international trade and sustainability. He has led high profile national industry campaigns on issues such as the review of national competition policy, fuel tax credits and the backpacker tax. Prior to joining the NFF, Tony worked with global food and grocery companies on economic and sustainability issues at the Australian Food and Grocery Council. He worked for several years with the Federal Dept of Ag in International Trade and Horticulture Industry Policy.  



Ian McConnel – Speaker

Global Commodity Leader, Beef, World Wildlife Fund

Ian McConnel grew up on a cattle farm that his family has owned for five generations, he has a passion for farming that works with nature, not against it. Ian’s role with WWF is to coordinate all the work put into beef production right around the globe, from stopping deforestation in Brazil, supporting small-holders adopt best practices in Africa, encouraging more sustainable diets in Europe, ensuring farming is not damaging the Great Barrier Reef, to helping the world’s biggest companies develop sustainable supply chains. This work has shown him the complexity of the food system we’re all part of, and the need to help consumers understand more about their food so they can make sustainable choices. 


Georgie Somerset – Speaker

President, AgForce

Georgie Somerset is a rural industry leader and strategist with a background running her family cattle business in Queensland’s South Burnett. With a background in regional development, Georgie has board experience across the not-for-profit, government and industry sectors as a Director of the Royal Flying Doctor Service (Queensland section), the ABC and Children’s Health Queensland Hospital & Health Service, and as Chair of the Red Earth Community Foundation, South Burnett. Georgie is President for AgForce Queensland.


Oscar Pearce – Panellist

Grain and beef farmer

Oscar Pearce is a sixth generation grain and beef farmer from Moree in northern New South Wales. Before returning to the family farm, Oscar worked in policy and stakeholder management roles for peak industry councils, state farmer organisations and industry research and marketing organisations. Oscar and his wife Susannah and their three children operate a 2,700 ha cropping business and a beef cattle operation in conjunction with his parents. Since returning to the farm, Oscar has been a member of NSW Farmers Association Conservation and Resource Management (CRM) committee and native vegetation taskforce, and in 2017 he was a member of Grain Grower’s Australian Grain Farmers Leadership Program.


James Walker – Panellist

'Camden Park' Station

James Walker has been awarded a remote Area Planning and Development Excellence Award for Sustainability for development with Wakefield Station a 62,000-acre sheep and cattle station in outback Queensland. In 2012 he was awarded a Nuffield scholarship recognising his leadership potential for industry and agriculture at large. Now residing at 'Camden Park' Station, Longreach, James founded Agrihive.com in 2014 to improve opportunities and create new possibilities for farming and agriculture; and in 2015 was chosen to attend the Challenge of Rural Leadership in the UK after founding the 'Big Night Outback' – CEO Business Summit. James is passionate about improving decision-making information provided on-farm through collaboration.


DINNER – Ag’s sustainable future


Trent ThorneFacilitator

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.



Karin Stark – Speaker

Manager Govt Relations & Marketing, ReAqua

Karin Stark has a background in environmental management, working across Government, community and private enterprise. She now lives on a cotton farm in NSW, giving her a unique perspective of the needs of irrigators while understanding the importance of environmental sustainability. While working for NSW State Government, she established the Solar Irrigators Working Group to bring together farmers, industry representatives, peak bodies and other organisations to encourage discussions on energy use in the irrigation sector. With strong networks within the energy and irrigation sector, Karin’s role at ReAqua is to develop partnerships and promote the benefits of solar to growers across the country.

Barry Irvin – Keynote

Executive Chairman, Bega Cheese

Barry Irvin is Executive Chairman of Bega Cheese. After a period of time in the banking industry Barry returned to his dairy farming roots in the Bega Valley in the early 1990s, and immediately became involved with the Bega Co-operative Society where he became Chairman in the year 2000. With a long history stretching back to 1899, Bega Cheese is today a publicly listed company at the forefront of continuing development and rationalisation in dairy and food, with domestic and international sales exceeding $1.2 billion. Social responsibility is something that Barry seeks to embed in all organisations in which he is involved. He has chaired the charity Giant Steps since 2002.


SESSION 4: Climate risk and farm business – How will a new risk environment impact the business of farming?


Gabrielle ChanFacilitator

Journalist and author

Gabrielle Chan has been a journalist for more than 30 years. She has been a political journalist and politics live blogger at Guardian Australia since 2013. Prior to that she worked at The Australian, ABC radio, The Daily Telegraph, in local newspapers and politics. Gabrielle has written and edited history books, biographies and even a recipe book. Gabrielle moved from the Canberra press gallery to marry a sheep and wheat farmer in 1996. In 2017, she swapped interviews with politicians with interviews with ordinary people on her main street to discover why they think politics has moved so far from their lives. The result is Rusted Off: Why country Australia is fed up.


Claire Osborn Booth – Speaker

Booth Agriculture

Claire Osborn Booth from Geurie (near Dubbo) in New South Wales was a 2017 Nuffield Scholar. Claire and her husband Brendan are the first-generation owners of the mixed farming business 'Booth Agriculture', established in 2012. Booth Agriculture produces high quality horticulture, grains and seed crops. A separate livestock enterprise was established to mitigate the risks associated with cropping and Booth Agriculture breeds Angus cattle and trades sheep and cattle dependent on market conditions. Claire is responsible for strategic planning and human resources and works part-time in Dubbo as a solicitor specialising in estate planning, tax and commercial law for businesses.

Tony Eyres – Speaker

Special Advisor, Agriculture and Food, Pottinger; Chairman, Southern Cross Agricultural Exports; Executive Director, Rounding Up

Tony Eyres is currently working as a Senior Advisor for Pottinger with his extensive knowledge, networks and insights across Australia’s key trade-exposed sectors he has had direct engagement with the highest levels of government, corporations and industry bodies globally. Having previously worked in capital markets, several corporate roles with exposure to emerging markets including Latin America and South-East Asia, the Federal Government‘s Senior Executive Service and 5½ years as CEO of an industry representative group. In 2001 he completed a Churchill Fellowship on ‘Technology adoption in agriculture’ and has been involved in programs with Harvard University’s Business School and Kennedy School of Government.

Alison Larard – Speaker

Finance, economics and beef business specialist

An enthusiastic finance, economics and beef business specialist, Alison Larard has a life-long interest in agriculture, particularly the cattle industry. Raised on a mixed livestock and cropping farm near Warwick on the Darling Downs, Alison formalised her interest with a Bachelor of Agricultural Economics (UQ) and an MBA (UNE). With nearly 20 years’ experience in business management, Alison estimates she has worked with 300 farming families. Predominantly NQ beef operations, many of these families have required business planning and management guidance, applications for finance, feasibility studies, project management, and succession planning advice. In 2016 Alison took on a board position for the RFCSNQ. 


SESSION 5: Changing biosecurity frontiers – How will climate change alter our biosecurity exposure? 


Katie McRobertFacilitator

General Manager, Australian Farm Institute

Katie McRobert joined the team at the Australian Farm Institute (AFI) in December 2017, drawn by the AFI’s work on independent agricultural policy research and communications to enhance the economic and social wellbeing of farmers and the farm sector in Australia. Prior to AFI, Katie worked at Rabobank as the Content & Community Manager for GlobalFarmers.com and at Fairfax Agricultural Media as National Editor of FarmOnline. Katie is a founding member of ‘This is Aus Ag’, a grassroots initiative aimed at building interactive relationships between producers and consumers.



Wendy Craik – Speaker

Senior Associate, Aither; Chair, Climate Change Authority, NSW Marine Estate Management Authority, NESP Climate Science and Earth Systems Hub Steering Committee

Wendy Craik is recognised as one of Australia’s leading independent public policy advisors. Currently Chair of the Climate Change Authority, Wendy has been Commissioner of the Productivity Commission, CEO of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission, President of the National Competition Council, Chair of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, Executive Director of National Farmers’ Federation and Executive Officer of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Wendy also has wide-ranging board experience including Chair of the National Steering Committee for the Ten Year Eradication Program for Red Imported Fire Ants and board member of the Reserve Bank of Australia. She is also currently on the Board of the Australian Farm Institute.


Dr Jo Luck – Speaker

Program Director, Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative

Jo Luck is the Program Director for the Plant Biosecurity Research Initiative leading the development of collaborative, cross-sectoral Plant Biosecurity research – a new model for RD&E investment. Prior to this she was the Research Director at the Plant Biosecurity Cooperative Research Centre, supporting plant biosecurity research and capacity building for 27 participant organisations. She was a Principal Research Scientist in plant microbiology, AgVic and a joint Associate Professor with La Trobe University. At this time, she led an Asia Pacific Network for Global Change project and a CRC for Plant Biosecurity project on the effect of climate change on pests and diseases of major food crops in Australia and the Asia Pacific. She chaired a quadrilateral biosecurity (QUADs) working group on climate change and biosecurity. Jo is a past member of the ARC College and chaired the ARC Industry Advisory Panel for Industrial Transformation Hubs and Centres.



Travis Tobin – Speaker

CEO, Queensland Farmers Federation

From a sheep and cattle farming family in the western division of NSW, Travis Tobin has spent his career across a broad range of agricultural roles in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining QFF, Travis was an Adviser and Departmental Liaison Officer in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister. He was the Director of food export programs and led policy development in the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. During a time of major change in the rice industry, Travis led the transition from government to industry led-extension services. He has worked in agribusiness banking across NSW, Victoria and SA, and held senior roles in the drilling industry managing contracts Australia wide. Travis has formal qualifications in agriculture, business administration, government and project management. He is a graduate member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Travis was appointed Chief Executive Officer of QFF in May 2016.

Tegan Hogan Smith – Panellist

Dreghorn Cattle Co

Tegan Hogan Smith hails from Dreghorn Station near Charters Towers, NQ. Dreghorn Cattle Co is a family run business.  Tegan has been involved in the beef industry for 10 years, which has given her a clear understanding of the opportunities and challenges within the industry. Tegan is a founding member of This is Aus Ag and was a part of the 2018 NFF 2030 Leaders Program. Tegan and her husband Eiren are passionate about the positive impacts a well managed grazing business has on the environment and local communities.



Brendan Taylor – Panellist

President, Agforce Grains

Agforce Grains president Brendan Taylor is a third generation farmer from Warra. Mr Taylor has been on the AgForce Grains board since 2016, a director of the Grains Research Foundation board since 2013 and has been managing his family's grain farming business for more than a decade. Mr Taylor is a keen social media user and is heavily involved with #agchatoz, an online community for rural Australians to engage with people living in the cities.


SESSION 6: Managing water resources – What water management strategies are needed as the climate changes?


Richard Heath Facilitator

Executive Director, Australian Farm Institute

Before being appointed Executive Director of the AFI in May 2018, Richard Heath 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.


Chantal Donnelly – Speaker

Unit Head, Water Resources Modelling, Bureau of Meterology

Chantal Donnelly currently leads the Water Resource Modelling team at the Bureau of Meteorology where her team develops and runs the Australian Water Resource Assessment modelling system (AWRA MS). Previously she was responsible for the development of E-HYPE at the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute. Chantal's research interests include continental scale hydrological modelling, climate change impacts on water resources and the development of future climate services and large-scale water quality scenario modelling.

Andrew Watson – Speaker

Brigadoon Pastoral

Andrew Watson is a mixed cropping and cattle producer from Boggabri, NSW. He is a fifth-generation farmer and hopes the trend will continue. In 2004 Andrew was named NSW Farmer’s inaugural ‘Young Farmer of the Year’. In 2006 he undertook a Nuffield Farming Scholarship with the subject of ‘Water Use Efficiency in Irrigation’. In 2008 Andrew was named ‘Australian Cotton Grower of the Year’ and in 2014 Kilmarnock Farming won The Brownhill Cup, a major conservative award in the Namoi Valley. In 2016 Kilmarnock was a finalist in the Landcare Sustainable Farming award. Andrew is a past chairman of the board of Cotton Australia, and has sat on the National Farmer Federation Policy Council and the NSW Irrigators Council and on the Board of Namoi Water Limited. Andrew has been on farmer reference panels for the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), Land & Water Australia, and the Cotton Catchment Communities Cooperative Research Centres (CRC).

Claire Osborn Booth – Panellist

Booth Agriculture

Claire Osborn Booth from Geurie (near Dubbo) in New South Wales was a 2017 Nuffield Scholar. Claire and her husband Brendan are the first-generation owners of the mixed farming business 'Booth Agriculture', established in 2012. Booth Agriculture produces high quality horticulture, grains and seed crops. A separate livestock enterprise was established to mitigate the risks associated with cropping and Booth Agriculture breeds Angus cattle and trades sheep and cattle dependent on market conditions. Claire is responsible for strategic planning and human resources and works part-time in Dubbo as a solicitor specialising in estate planning, tax and commercial law for businesses.